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Urban Escape
Lifestyle, Women December 17, 2015

2015 The Year of the Woman

Feminism had many faces in 2015 from the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafza to your imaginary new best friend Amy Schumer.   While this year was not perfect, and there was still violence and hate, every woman should stand a little taller going into 2016.

Emma Watson (actress who played Hermione Granger and UN Women’s #HeForShe Ambassador) interviewed Malala Yousafza in November talking about feminism, to bring a positive connotation to the word.  In the interview Emma said “Let’s not make it scary to say you’re a feminist. I want to make it a welcoming and inclusive movement. Let’s join our hands and move together so we can make real change. Malala and I are pretty serious about it but we need you.”

Emma was one of the many celebrities to use their influence for the greater good.  In today’s world, the average millennial can name more Kardashians or members of One Direction than women scientists.  Emma herself has over 20 million followers on Twitter; a single tweet goes viral and is shared all around the world.

In fact, even the award show season became less superficial as empty “thank you’s” were replaced with hard-hitting speeches and call-to-actions. BFF’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler started off the season by hosting the Golden Globes where stars like Patricia Arquette, Gina Rodriguez, Joanne Froggatt, and Maggie Gyllenhal saw the opportunity to have their voices heard by the masses and took it, by calling out the lack of diversity and equality in Hollywood.

Here are five wins for women in Hollywood:

  1.     In the Emmy’s Viola Davis became the first black woman to win an Emmy for lead actress in a drama series.  In her acceptance speech she delivered the following critique of Hollywood; “you cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

jessica jones woman superhere2.    This year two female Superheroes emerged on the television, Jessica Jones and Supergirl. They join shows like Orange is the New Black, Girls, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder which feature strong female leads in “atypical” roles.

3.     Comedian Amy Schumer wrote and starred in Amy Schumer woman comedianTrainwreck, the biggest comedy of the year.  The movie flipped traditional gender roles.  Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live comedian and now leading hunk), spoke out about the differences in gender portrayal in the media saying “It was just so weird during the press, people will say ‘So [Amy’s] character’s kind of a tramp.’  And I think, ‘Wow, they would never say that if this was George Clooney.’”  The other men in Hollywood slowly started showing their support towards their leading ladies.

  1.     The Sony Hack leaked sensitive information including salaries for big-name actors in recent movies.  The pay disparity could no longer be ignored, and the women (and some of the men) in Hollywood were outraged.  Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar winner, and Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games used everyone’s favorite female activist, Lena Dunham’s (creator of HBO’s Girls) new feminist site the Lenny Letter to address the issue.  Jennifer took a unique stance on the topic “…I found how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with *****, I didn’t get mad at Sony.  I got mad at myself.”  She even took responsibility further by saying “I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.  I didn’t want to keep fighting over the millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need. (I told you I was relatable, don’t hate me.)”   She uses humor and understanding of her unique position to point out it’s not about the money but the principle.  Stars like Jennifer Lawrence are not always seen as “real people” because of their careers, which put them in a whole new ball game than the “average” person.  She knows how easy it is for someone like her to come across as just “whining” about the money and not taken seriously

Jennifer Lawrence woman actress

  1.  Model and artist, Amber Rose hosted a viral “Slut-Walk” in Downtown Los Angeles to speak out against “slut-shaming” which she has been a target of.  Women dressed in so called “slutty” clothing and wrote messages such as “still not asking for it” on their bodies.  This movement mirrored many of the other women’s empowerment movements we saw this year like #FreeTheNipple, #LoveYourLines (celebrating stretch marks), #RapeCultureIsWhen, and Free Bleeding (not using feminine hygiene during menstruation to raise awareness).

While Hollywood is often seen as unrealistic and fake, it is undeniably influential.  The younger generations especially look up to their favorite celebrities and use them as role models. While this may not be ideal, it helps if their faves are sending positive messages.  It is still the land of selling sex, and using Photoshop to portray unattainable beauty and body weight, which may never go away, but there are celebs trying to make a difference and change the world with the power and voice they have been given.