FEMINIST CONVERSATIONS: Priyanka Chopra, Edgar Ramirez, & Model Adwoa Aboah

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You didn’t think we would end 2015 without one more edition of Feminist Conversations, did you?

The new year may be upon us and it couldn’t be a better time to share feminist perspectives from celebrities who understand what the movement is about. Since we (sadly) are living in a time when there are a lot of people claiming there is no need for feminism (definition: the social, political and economic equality of both sexes) despite the fact that the wage gape still exists, women still make up the overwhelming majority of domestic violent victims, in certain countries women are treated as second class citizens, and women make up a mere 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs globally.

For us, we are passionate about feminism because with its current focus on intersectionality, which ensures LGBTQ issues are included in the movement as well as the fight to dismantle harmful stereotypes about masculinity, it means there is a much broader scope of what equality truly means to people today.

Feminism stands for and fights for different things in different countries. In India, where Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra hails from, there is a huge focus on gender violence and rape culture. We have seen the rise of feminism buoyed by the international focus on the atrocities toward women. The ‘Quantico’ star, who has enjoyed a lot of success overseas as well as in her native country, has used her powerful voice to talk abut the need for gender equality.

Although there are some who claim she does not advocate feminism, on a press tour for her latest Bollywood film ‘Jai Gangaajal’ she set the record straight about her thoughts about the movement once and for all, showing fans and the media why she believes it is still important and relevant.

“I am an extremely proud feminist. I am someone who believes feminism is just a conversation about equality. It is not about hating or berating men. For eons, women have been treated as second class citizens and it’s high time we are given the due credit,” she said.

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We feel it is very important that celebrities use their elevated platform to share what real feminism means to them, because it can often be hijacked by misconceptions and myths. One of the things we love most, is when male celebrities talk about why feminism is important to them, showing why it is not just a movement for women.

In an interview with Huffpost Live, actor Edgar Ramirez who can be seen in ‘Point Break’ and ‘Joy’ he talks about why feminism benefits men too.

“Feminism is nothing but equality, and actually, feminism benefits men because it liberates us and it releases us from many stigmas imposed by the macho culture on us as well. So if more of us could understand that it’s nothing but equality, I think many agendas in terms of equality would have advanced quicker because it really helps us as well,” he said.

He also spoke about why he was drawn to a film like ‘Joy’ which has garnered a lot of praise as a rags to riches story featuring a woman who didn’t need a man to save her.

“For me, to play a man who’s able and willing and who feels comfortable in supporting, in standing by and celebrating the strength and determination of the woman he loves and the mother of his children, was a trip for me,” he said.

Edgar also acknowledged that the true life story of Miracle Mop founder Joy Mangano helped outline why feminism is still very much needed.

“[We Live in a] macho normative society where so many things are still so difficult for women,” he said.

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If more men understand feminism from a similar point of view as Edgar, then we are onto a good thing.

The final person in this edition of Feminist Conversations is up-and-coming model Adwoa Aboah, who was recently featured in Vogue magazine for her rise on the international fashion circuit. One of the main reasons they featured her was because of how she is representing a generation of models who are a diverse departure from what we have been used to seeing on billboards and magazine advertisements for decades.

Adwoa, whose Instagram account is @GurlsTalk where she shares messages of positivity and inspiration especially relating to mental health and addiction after going through these issues herself, talked to the fashion bible about her thoughts on feminism in particular.

“I call myself a feminist and I’m proud to say that, but I think the modern-day feminist can be anyone. It can be a model on the cover of a magazine, it can be a mother of five, it can be a working woman, a woman who chooses to stay at home, a woman who decides not to shave her armpits in protest—it really can be anyone drawn to the idea of equality. I really think it is about doing things for yourself and not being held back by what society views as appropriate,” she said.

Looking different from other models and being treated differently because of her appearance has helped her embrace feminism and come to terms with why it is important for women.

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“Being judged based on how you look can be difficult, and it definitely affected me and the way I look at myself. It’s changing now and that is wonderful—girls are able to show their personalities and their true selves. [Feminism has] allowed me never to feel compelled to do things that I don’t want to do…I’ve never felt obliged to do anything I don’t want to do. I haven’t been pressured to take my top off or pose in a way that I’m not comfortable with, nor have I felt the need do those things. I’m very grateful…that I’ve been able to stick to my guns about the way I’d like to be presented,” she added.

We recognize that there are people in the world who have never been a victim of inequality or have never been discriminated against, which could be an easy excuse for thinking feminism and gender equality is irrelevant. But it doesn’t have to take a personal experience to understand that there are many people who are still fighting for an equal chance in life.

Feminism, to us, is recognizing there are many areas which need improving, and it is up to us to choose whether we stay complacent, or do what we can to change the status quo.

To hear more of what actor Edgar Ramirez had to say about feminism and ‘Joy’, watch the video below.

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