My Top 5 Feminist Icons in Pop Culture

The last few years has seen a surge of advocacy and awareness for women’s rights. This includes the emergence of the #MeToo movement, powerful speeches by various influential figures, and increased participation in the Women’s March. As a woman myself, these situations are extremely crucial and valuable to my existence. Being brave enough to speak out about uncomfortable topics and taking action is the only way to fight injustice and make a change. 

Those who hold a lot of power in the public eye are extremely important in this area. When they take a stand, they raise awareness and are likely to garner increased support from their fans. This, in turn, leads to a better chance at making headlines and igniting change. There are several celebrities I admire who openly speak out in advocacy of feminism and women’s rights. In no particular order, here are some of my personal favorites!

1. Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen, best known as a former Sports Illustrated model and for her cookbooks, Cravings and Cravings 2, is extremely outspoken about feminism, body image, acceptance, support for Planned Parenthood, and the fight against sexism. She says, “People have sorely messed up the definition of feminism. It isn’t saying this is wrong and this is right. It’s having the power to do whatever the f--k you want. It’s about having your own beliefs and staying true to them.”

Image source: T. Chick McClure

2. Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus, a prominent figure in most of the childhoods of our generation, is extremely vocal about her beliefs in women’s rights, as well as LGBTQI+ equality. She has called herself “one of the world’s biggest feminists” and speaks frequently about women empowerment, using her performances and music to make bold statements regarding the subject. More recently, Cyrus put a fun feminist twist on the Jimmy Fallon show, updating the lyrics of the Christmas classic, “Santa Baby.” Some of these lyrics include, “I can buy my own d*mn stuff” and “A girl’s best friend is equal pay.” 

3. Sophia Bush

Former One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush is strong and extremely passionate about her activism efforts. The actress speaks out frequently about political issues and is a huge advocate for women’s rights, mainly using her social media platforms to make a difference. Bush has challenged those who disregard or don’t understand feminism, as some individuals equate being a feminist to hating men. She says, “It’s so not complicated... I watch everybody fight over whether it’s appropriate to be a feminist or not. And I sit here thinking, well, I’m a woman. I would like to be judged on the quality of my work, I would like to be compensated fairly for my work. I would like to have just as much access to healthcare as any man. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I don’t know what the big fight is all about.”

4. Rihanna

Rihanna, one of the biggest artists of our generation, is also a proud feminist. The singer constantly makes fashion statements showing her support for women’s rights. This includes a picture of her wearing a Hillary Clinton t-shirt, which is only one of her efforts to actively protest against President Donald Trump. One of Rihanna’s biggest contributions to the feminist movement was starting her makeup line, Fenty Beauty. Through it, she revolutionized the makeup industry and allowed for representation of  women of color by including foundation that was made available in various darker shades.

5. Emma Watson

Just like her Harry Potter character Hermione Granger, Emma Watson is not a force to be reckoned with. She is currently an ambassador at the United Nations in which she is involved in the HeforShe gender equality campaign. The actress is also a huge bookworm, an advocate for education, and even has a degree from Brown University. Watson says, “Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality.”

Image source: Ariele Bonte

All of these ladies are extremely valuable role models. They are vocal about the issues they care about and are unafraid to speak out about injustice. They all are the epitome of beauty and brains.