Just before the release of her new album, Ultraviolence, Lana del Rey came under fire for an interview she did with FADER Magazine. In the interview, del Rey claims to not be a feminist by stating, “For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept…I’m more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities.” She then, like many other female celebrities who have denounced feminism, defines what she believes feminism truly is by defining what feminism truly is; she states, “My idea of a true feminist is a woman who feels free enough to do whatever she wants.”
What really stuck out to me when I first began seeing articles about how yet another female celebrity has alienated herself from feminism, was the reason she has. The classic excuses are a dime a dozen: Bjork, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga aren’t feminists because they love men; Carrie Underwood, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Dita Von Teese don’t like the word and its connotations; Madonna, Demi Moore, and Sarah Jessica Parker would rather identify as humanists (which you can’t technically be if you’re not a feminist but I digress).
But to Lana del Rey, feminism just isn’t interesting. And that got me thinking. It’s 2014. It’s been over 2000 years since the time when one major religion decided to start recounting years. Our species of humans first began to evolve nearly 200,000 years ago, with evidence of skulls similar to ours that are roughly 195,000 years old. Current data suggest that modern humans evolved from archaic humans, primarily in East Africa. Evidence dates our current species to be about 40,000-60,000 years old. This shouldn’t be interesting. At this point in human history, feminist ideals should be as ingrained into our society as wearing clothes or loving Betty White.
So why the fuck are we still trying to convince a substantial part of the human race that another substantial part of the human race is equal to the former?
I’m not sure if del Rey was intentionally being so poignant when she said what she did. Regardless, there really is no reason that these discussions should be of any interest to anyone now. It should go without saying that people of all genders, races, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic statuses ARE 100% EQUAL TO ONE ANOTHER. There is absolutely zero reason that, at this point in our evolution, we should still be trying so hard to instill in everyone that, because one person is labelled (in terms of race) or has labelled themselves (in terms of gender/sexuality) one thing, they are NOT of lesser value than another person who has been labelled or has labelled themselves as something else.
Believe me, I wish this wasn’t still a topic of conversation. I’m just as annoyed by the wage gap between men and women as you are by my bringing it up. I wish that my privilege as a white person didn’t exist anymore because we should be beyond the idea of anyone being born with more privileges than someone else. I wish acid only referred to LSD and not something that is routinely used to punish rape victims or women who have consensual sex in some countries. I wish we could be beyond the point where someone is shamed for something as trivial as with what they choose to clothe themselves. And, on some really bad days, I wish I hadn’t been taught to think critically so that I, too, could be under the impression that I don’t need feminism.
But we’re not there yet. And that’s bullshit.
And maybe del Rey was unknowingly offering a solution. Maybe it’ll take going into the far reaches of space to solve all of this. Maybe we need to be introduced to another completely different intelligent species for us to realize that we should all be on equal footing as a human species. It shouldn’t be, but maybe that’s what it takes. And maybe the reason we haven’t encountered other intelligent species is because they’ve seen how shitty we are to one another.
Feminism calls for the political, social, and economic equality of everyone, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation. If you take nothing else away from this article, then please take away the fact that if you agree with this statement, then you are a feminist. And if you disagree with this statement, then you’re an asshat.