Sorry, Feminism, Lana Del Rey is not Impressed

Feminism bores Lana Del Rey

Look at how bored feminism makes Lana Del Rey. (Screen shot from http://youtu.be/zRAFNSgk1Ns)

I can’t say I know much about Lana Del Rey. I know she sings that song about video games, which was pretty good, I guess. I’m also aware that many people seem to like her music. But that’s about it.

Normally if something about her appears on my Twitter feed, I scroll right past it. Recently though, something she said caught my eye.

In an interview with Fader, Del Rey is quoted as saying, “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. Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like, god. I’m just not really that interested.”

At first, Del Rey’s quote caught me off guard, but I guess it shouldn’t have. Del Rey is only adding her voice to a constantly growing list of famous/successful women who have recently distanced themselves from feminism. Are any of their reasons particularly good reasons? Not really.

At its most basic, feminism is defined as, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”

So when anyone backs away from the term, it’s a bit confounding. Of course, it’s especially problematic when women (and men) of stature do it because of the influence their voices have. If they don’t think feminism is something to get behind, why should any young person that looks up to them think that feminism is worthwhile?

So while all those comments are troublesome, I think Del Rey’s especially stood out to me because of her diction. Because for Del Rey, feminism isn’t something that she’s still thinking about and simply needs more time to make an informed decision on. No, in her view, feminism isn’t really worthy of considering. It’s uninteresting.

And OK, maybe not everyone is all that interested in the history of feminism. Maybe learning about second-wave feminism or Mary Wollstonecraft is not the most exciting subject in the world. I can understand that. But to just dismiss all of feminism as boring? That seems like a hasty claim to make, doesn’t it?

As a tool, feminism helps us deconstruct some of the most dense and insidious aspects of our culture. It shines a glaring light on problems that would otherwise remain hidden: why women are still paid less than men for equal work, why college professors are less likely to respond to female students, and why mass media representations of an idealized female body are so damaging to women. It helps us understand how the pervasive misogyny that runs through our society produced Elliot Rodger and is producing more like him. It pushes us to keep working toward equality for everyone even when we feel that hope is lost. And that’s only in our country. It also helps us understand different cultures around the world too.

So if you’re not interested in feminism, then you’re probably not interested in much of what’s happening on our planet. What would you be interested in then? I guess all you’re left with, as Del Rey suggests, is space.

Feminism is many things, but to dismiss it as uninteresting is a cop-out. It’s complex and it’s challenging and it’s not always pleasant. There’s debate amongst everyone, particularly feminists, about just what the movement is.

I’m aware that this isn’t groundbreaking stuff for anyone well-versed in feminism. It’s basic stuff. But maybe the basic stuff needs to be put out there more to demystify a concept that so many seem unwilling to engage with at all.

So I hope that Del Rey sees that feminism is interesting at some point, and I hope that many of those women on that list (and many, many, many men!) become interested enough in feminism that they are willing to label themselves as feminists and join in on the discussion.

Feminism isn’t something we need to shy away from because we don’t understand it well enough. It’s a discussion that we all should become involved in not simply because it’s an interesting one, but also because it is so vital to our advancement as a culture.

______________________________________________________________________________

CharlieCharlie Crespo (@Little_Utopia) is the editor-in-chief of Little Utopia.

Previously from Charlie Crespo:
Can We All Agree to Stop Calling 911 About Fast Food?
Viral Video of the Week: The Pizza Workout Plan
Viral Video of the Week: Keyboard Cat Returns
Great. Now Jonathan Safran Foer Has Made Me Hate Chipotle
Viral Video of the Week: Golf Makes Richard H. Lee Regret Everything

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2 responses to “Sorry, Feminism, Lana Del Rey is not Impressed

  1. I’m going to assume she said that before #YesAllWomen went viral; hopefully she wouldn’t be so ignorant to feel the same after reading some of the content. Regardless, like you said in your final sentences, everyone needs to care. Especially a woman who has lots of little girls, and older ones, looking up to her and listening to her.

    We are, however, talking about a pop star who puts out videos laden with pro-patriarchy motifs and scenes of retro-female submission. I’m not sure I’d have believed her if she had said she was a feminist; all the evidence points to the contrary. So while I am disappointed that someone of her visibility would say something so lackluster
    about their stance on feminism, I’m also glad she didn’t fake it. There’s nothing worse than celebrities talking about things they don’t understand with gusto and authority.

    • Hmmm. Well, the interview is in the June/July issue of Fader, so I’m guessing that she made those comments to the writer back in March or April, possibly even February? I tried to see if she had said anything since the story had come out, but I couldn’t find anything.

      She did say in the interview when pushed further that “My idea of a true feminist is a woman who feels free enough to do whatever she wants.” I haven’t seen any of her videos, so I can’t comment on the themes in them. But maybe in her mind she is a feminist because she “feels free enough to do whatever she wants” and put that stuff in her videos? I’m not sure.

      To be honest, she was just an easy jumping off point for the main point I wanted to make, which was that while higher-level discussions of feminism are great/important, I also think it’s just as important (if not more) to in some ways simplify a loaded concept so that people who aren’t familiar with feminism don’t fear or feel intimidated by it because of things they’ve heard others say about it. By doing that, they have an entrance point into the discussion. Once some of the major misconceptions are stripped away, I think people will be more willing to learn about it and then they can become familiar with feminism’s particular language and join in on that higher-level discussion.

      Thanks for helping to start a conversation, Lexi!

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