Image: Rowan Blanchard / Neon Tommy / Wikimedia Commons
The dreaded F word. Feminism. The term has a visceral effect on people, especially those of the older white male variety, the variety that usually equate feminists with clichéd visual images of what a feminist might look like: think wild underarm tresses and a lingering smell of patchouli that follows them wherever their Birkenstock-clad feet may lead them on their march to equality, all the while proudly shaking their menstrual bloodied underwear in the air.
Young feminists have heard all the criticisms under the sun, and when they reached into the cupboard where their fucks were kept, they found the larder bare. What’s wrong with Birkenstocks? Other than the fact that they’ve recently become a certified trend. In fact, the new wave of feminists are marching to the beat of their own drum, in all kinds of footwear, and they look mighty inspiring and powerful doing so.
Here are five young feminists who give us hope for the future.
An actress best known for her role as Riley Matthews on Disney’s Girl Meets World, Blanchard’s online persona takes on much more controversial issues than what was tackled in the sugar-sweet world that Walt created. She’s outspoken on issues addressing feminism, human rights, and gun violence through her Twitter account, and was recently nominated for a Changemaker Award at the Teen Choice Awards.
Sana Sodki and Savannah Ali
These two young women started the website Oii My Size, aimed at raising awareness of how boys talk to girls in inappropriate ways. After listening to a group of girls at a London youth centre talk about the issues they were facing with the way they were treated by boys, whether being harassed on the street or at school, the two young women set up the website at the age of 13. The site addresses issues such as sexting, chat-up lines used by boys and how they could be said differently and with more respect, identifying domestic violence in teenage relationships, short films about scenarios that young girls could find themselves in, and how to get help.
The Aussie comedy ‘It Girl’ regularly calls out sexism and double standards in the comedy industry through her hilarious Twitter feed @Becky_Lucas89. As a staunch feminist, she talks openly and honestly about life as a 20-something woman, and takes no prisoners when it comes to misogynists that try to take her down online.
This Japanese TV personality is a feminist vlogger creating ‘feminist propaganda’, and her marinashutup YouTube videos are hilariously sarcastic while honing in on subject matter that would appeal to any self-respecting feminist out there. She describes her videos as ‘making men angry’, and that’s probably OK. She’s also the social media coordinator at @everydayfeminism
Working for the feminist organisation Imkaan, a UK-based black feminist organisation dedicated to addressing violence against young women, Larasi’s focus is on young black women’s lack of representation, or misinterpretation in the media, particularly in music videos. A few years ago she conducted focus groups with young women, talking about music videos and analysing their imagery – both good and bad – in the campaign Rewind & Reframe, calling for classes in media literacy, better sex education, and for age ratings on music videos.Support Villainesse