As Her Campus Chapter Correspondents, we have the awesome (but intimidating) task of publishing content that we hope will assist and entertain womxn from UCT and all over the world. As a publication that was started to empower womxn in universities around the world, we look to other feminists to give us the inspiration and motivation to achieve our goals. We’ve compiled a list of feminist role models that we love, and whom we believe you might too!. Each of these womxn has given us feminist inspiration in unique ways, celebrating the diversity of womxnhood.
As a disclaimer, I don’t support or excuse Stefani’s use of cultural items and garments for fashion.
Growing up just after the 90s, my musical history with Stefani skipped her No Doubt days until I was a teen. Yes, I bopped to Rich Girl and Hollaback Girl until I was 15, unaware of the depth to her older music. Particularly, Just A Girl reminded me of the warnings and restrictions I had growing up, and Stefani shatters these rules by defining womanhood and femininity as it applies to her. Looking at some of her later work, What You Waiting For is a personal motivational jam for when I’m feeling defeated. Stefani discusses her fears as a new solo artist and having to produce an album without her band, an experience I compare to navigating University and trying to make something of your life without training wheels. She also talks about what age means to a woman in the media, as many people see female celebrities as ‘done’ after a certain age. For many people, there is a perceived expiration date to your time to develop and achieve your goals. Some people fear balancing a family and work, or money and passion. Stefani encourages herself, and us, to realise that we have plenty of time to reach our goals. Her long-standing, successful career is a testament to that.
Chrissy Teigen is known for many things: she’s a model, TV presenter, writer, wife and mother. Most importantly, in my opinion, she is the Queen of Twitter. Chrissy (if I may call her by her first name because she feels like family) is my number 1 reason for checking Twitter each day. She lives life honestly and shares the highlights with her 9.9 Million followers. Chrissy’s Tweets are not only hilarious and insightful (I now know many things about cooking and pregnancy), but she also takes a strong political stance against politicians (Trump) that she feels govern irresponsibly or intolerantly. She is always honest about her opinions and encourages followers to engage with her and share their stories or suggestions (especially when it comes to food and video games). Never mind the fact that she has become friends with AI Sophia the Robot (who is also fairly inspiring for her kind-heartedness and eagerness to interact with the world). Chrissy has, in the past, been unfairly accused of being an unfit mother to daughter Luna, something many celebrity mothers face. Teigen met these allegations with class and confidence, explaining her actions while affirming that mom-shaming should stop. If you need a little light in your life, I highly recommend following this absolute ray of sunshine. She tells the stories we can all relate to or learn from.
When I look at Zendaya, I second guess all my accomplishments in life. Gaining fame from her role in the Disney Channel series, Shake It Up, Zendaya was part of my childhood and is still relevant today. Moving from Shake It Up to K.C. Undercover – where she later became a producer for the show. More recently she’s made the crossover to bigger movies, like Spiderman: Homecoming (2017) and The Greatest Showman (2017). When it comes to her style she’s never afraid to be unapologetically herself – and nails every look while doing so – even when faced with criticism. In 2015, on an episode of Fashion Police, Giuliana Rancic comments on Zendaya’s dreadlock hairstyle she wore to the Oscars and mentioned it smelled like “patchouli oil” and “weed” – Zendaya spoke out about this incredibly offensive comment and in response, Mattel honoured her with a customised Barbie Doll commemorating her Oscar’s look. Which is Goals to be honest; I want to be cool enough to have my own Barbie doll.
Bad Gal Riri doesn’t require much introduction, but I’ll give one anyway. She’s a singer, songwriter, actress, Winner of Grammys and Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year award 2017. Rihanna is the voice behind notable childhood jams such as Pon De Replay and Don’t Stop The Music. She’s the newly crowned queen of make-up with her line, Fenty Beauty – her foundation range taking the cosmetic world by storm with the release of 40 different shades of foundation. Rihanna emphasises the need for the cosmetic world to be inclusive to all no matter their skin tone, people of colour are often left out of the loop due to poor shade ranges. Her passion and pride was evident as she shared images of her fan’s and their different shade matches on social media. Even with her laid-back attitude she isn’t afraid to speak out – when an advert for the mobile game “Would you rather?” on Snapchat made reference to her assault incident with Chris Brown in a very disrespectful manner. Riri clapped back on Instagram stating that the app was shaming Domestic Violence survivors. Snapchat defnietly took a hit with their market value dropping by $800 Million – never underestimate the power of Rihanna.
Better known as iiSuperwomanii – Lilly Singh is the ultimate girl bawse. Singh is not only a successful YouTuber and Vlogger, but also an author, actress and philanthropist. Her vlogs are the most motivating things I’ve seen; they’ll encourage you to be productive and celebrate your small everyday accomplishments. Singh breaks the barrier between traditional Hollywood stardom and the new wave of internet celebrities – she’s collaborated with many notable actors on her Youtube Channel like Priyanka Chopra, Dwayne Johnson, Nick Jonas, John Legend, Hilary Duff, Selena Gomez and more. Singh is also known for using her platform of over 13 Million Subscribers to discuss social justice issues. After a trip to Kenya, she started a campaign called #GirlLove that aims to overcome girl on girl hate. Through this campaign she encourages girls to compliment each other and exude positivity rather than tear others down. She’s spread this campaign not only through social media, but through launching the Girl Love Rafiki Bracelet, where all proceeds go to funding education for young girls in Kenya. If you need any more of an excuse to check her out – she recently adopted a puppy, so there’s some quality content being made on her vlog channel.
There are so many womxn changing the world for the better right now, and we would love to hear who your Feminist role models are! Feel free to leave a comment and let us know who inspires you.