By Madina Safdari
The age old battle for female liberation is one that will not likely come to an end anytime soon. However, that is not to say that women’s history has not come a long way already. The fight for equality has been shaped by female icons of the past, and continues to be shaped in the present. Powerful women setting even more powerful examples dates as far back as Cleopatra and Mary Wollstonecraft. Similarly, women like Coretta Scott King, Marie Curie, and even Coco Chanel all impacted modern feminism in their own unique and meaningful ways.
Following the footsteps of their influential predecessors led to the rise in prevalence of female icons who are ready to champion the modern eras fight for equality. Slowly but surely, the following women in the entertainment and media industry are well on their way to finding their place as part of the 21st century women’s rights movement. Their individual battles and triumphs, even the small victories, are equally as important in the overall journey towards equality.
Going strong at the very young age of 15 years, Rowan Blanchard is breaking boundaries for her insightful words on feminism and social justice. She often combated and brought light to social issues on her former Disney show “Girl Meets World” in which she was able to contribute meaningful commentary on current issues of all sorts. Regardless of what platform she is provided, Blanchard continues to be an advocate for social justice issues and women’s rights through her social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram. There she is able to share information, post links to places to donate and ways to help, and present herself as a feminist force to be reckoned with. There is no doubt that Blanchard is a self proclaimed feminist but she tells New York Magazine she is all for the intersectional feminist movement.
“Undoing patriarchal structures against marginalized people — structures that fight against people of color, that fight against women, that fight against disabled people, that fight against LGBTQ,” Blanchard said to NY Mag describing her definition of feminism.
Zendaya is a breath of fresh air when it comes to diversity and awareness in the modern feminist fight. The extremely notable actress, fashion icon, singer, makeup fanatic and all around great person makes Zendaya a woman well deserving of all the praise she gets. Though her accolades at the mere age of 20 go on and on, she is particularly proud of her duty as feminist role model and takes it very seriously. Her character K.C Cooper in the Disney show “K.C Undercover” aims to dismantle traditional gender roles and showcases a powerful and strong woman which she thinks Disney and young children need. There is no doubt that Zendaya will not stop in her efforts of bringing diversity to entertainment as well as continuing to be an important civil rights and women’s rights activist.
“A feminist is a person who believes in the power of women just as much as they believe in the power of anyone else. It’s equality, it’s fairness, and I think it’s a great thing to be a part of ” Zendaya said to Flare Magazine.
Also known as IISuperwomanII on Youtube, Lilly Singh has always had a feminist agenda on her mind. From her videos dating back to five years ago to the ones she posts today, Singh never fails to promote female empowerment and an overall hard working mentality upon her loyal viewers. With over 11 million subscribers on her main channel and almost 2 million on her second channel that features daily vlogs, Singh reaches a wide variety of today’s youth. Using her Punjabi heritage as inspiration, Singh makes comedic and sometimes satirical videos, most of which poke fun at gender norms and the absurdity of it like in her video “How To Make A Sandwich.” She has a book soon to be released titled “How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life” in which she explains the inner workings of her zealous and busy lifestyle. Being the highest paid female youtuber, Singh is definitely a power icon and remains a worthy role model for women everywhere.
“I believe that women are so capable of destroying girl on girl hate” Singh said.
The critically acclaimed actress has been a part of the Harry Potter series and the recently released live version of Beauty and the Beast, among other movies, all by the age of 26. Her most well known characters at this point, Hermione and Belle, are both intelligent and powerful women, but the role does not stop at the movie screen. Watson graduated from Brown University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and continues to be an advocate for women’s rights as much as possible. A side project of hers includes her support for the campaign “He for She” in which they raise awareness about women’s issues and also extend the conversation of women’s rights to be more inclusive.
“Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women. It’s about freedom; it’s about liberation; it’s about equality” Watson said in an interview with Reuters.