How Hollywood Has Cheapened Feminism [Opinion]

Over the years, Hollywood has focused increasingly on promoting social justice. Its stars have become quite vocal in expressing their opinions on a variety of topics. Further, many of them even mix comfortably with politicians and use their platform to advocate for the resolutions of pressing issues. Addressing gender inequality, in particular, has emerged as a priority for them, and stars, such as Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, do not hesitate to affirm their strength and independence.

Recently, Kim Kardashian decided to launch an update to her customized emoji app, Kimoji, for International Women’s Day. According to a BBC News report, the collection featured a number of slogans promoting “women’s empowerment.” While some applauded the move, others excoriated the reality television star for supporting girl power while using sexuality as the centerpiece of her brand. The Daily Mail reported that this latter group took offense to Kardashian seemingly embracing feminism as a commodity.

The ubiquitous television personality is not the only Hollywood star whose efforts to uplift women divide public opinion, however. Jennifer Lopez also both garners praise for empowering other females and draws sharp criticism for making her sexuality the foundation of her appeal.

Those who admire Lopez point to her message of female independence and self-sufficiency in her music and in her films. In an article for Dazed, writer Kay George offers an analysis of Jennifer Lopez’ music and films, which, as she argues, proves that Lopez is a feminist. To bolster her argument, George shares that the New York native is the first-ever Global Advocate for Girls and Women at the United Nations Foundations.

There are other articles like the one written by George that praise Jennifer Lopez as a feminist. Yet, there are countless others that give a detailed account of her beauty routine and her sartorial choices. Moreover, her performances have often been risque. The Daily Mail reported that there had been outrage after one such appearance.

Kardashian and Lopez are not the only two Hollywood celebrities who wave the feminist banner while building and maintaining a career on their looks. All of this serves to cheapen the idea of feminism. Rather than employing it as a tool through which gender equity can be achieved, these women have used it as an adjunct to careers that have been built upon an updated, hypersexualized version of the 50s housewife, complete with stiletto boots (or something similarly eye-catching), a lot of makeup, and the all-important hair extensions.

Feminism is not a product, though. It is also not meant to be a boost to anybody’s brand. Until others protest such debasement, many, including some females, will continue to feel comfortable seeing women as objects or mere accessories.