Actress Rowan Blanchard’s Focus On Feminism Makes Her A Great Role Model For Young Girls

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‘Girl Meets World’ actress Rowan Blanchard is the role model we wish we had growing up! This fierce femme is using her fame to advance the cause of feminism and share her passions with her audience. In an age where we are bombarded by so much digital media demanding our constant attention, spare a thought for all the young women who are in the early stages of being confused by media messages telling them they aren’t good enough.

We all know what that feels like, so to have a strong female role model like Rowan Blanchard who ain’t afraid to be herself and encourage other girls to do the same, is incredibly impactful.

She has previously shared her thoughts on reproductive rights and the importance of healthy conversations around sexuality, as well as gender equality being extended to ALL genders and the need for intersectionality. We have no doubt Rowan is the kind of young woman who is going to create a legacy for an entire generation of feminists.

In an interview with Lindsay Peoples for NYmag.com, Rowan opened up about why it’s everyone’s imperative to vote in the upcoming US Presidential election, and how feminism became a thing in her life. At an appearance for the Opening Ceremony fashion show during NYFW which has a decidedly political focus, Rowan was a celebrity guest. Along with the likes of Aziz Ansari, Abbi Jacobsen, Whoopi Goldberg, Andrew Garfield, and many others, Rowan was asked why she felt it was important to vote, and her answer was simple: “Vote for my future” she said.

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As a 14 year old, it is a reminder of just how mature she is (we DEFINITELY were not as woke as her when we were teens!) and a glimpse into what we can expect of her when she does come of age.

Rowan says her desire to be a good role model is not separate from the work she is doing on-screen, as she believes her show is very different from other shows aimed at young girls. In the original series ‘Boy Meets World’, the lead female character Topanga was noticeable very normal and she wasn’t portrayed as an unrealistic, unnatural girl.

“A lot of shows today just teach children not to eat, so that they can be skinnier to be on television. Topanga still is this strong character that’s so independent and drives her own stories,” she said.

Driving her own stories is something Rowan has a keen interest in. As a woke feminist who happens to work in Hollywood she is familiar with the lack of female directors and wants to see more women at the helm.

“There’s something different about when a female directs versus a male. The level of maturity, mutual respect, and energy that you get from a female director is so different. I’ve worked with male directors who aren’t good, and no one says anything about it, but then we had one female director who was kind of all over the place and everyone complained. It’s so gendered. I feel safer when working with a female director because I know it’s from a female gaze,” she said.

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In a study of the television industry covering the 2015-2016 period, the San Diego State University’s Center for Study of Women in Television & Film found women comprised a total of 11% of directors across broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. Women fare much better in the producer role (a whopping 36% across all platforms) so it’s easy to see how it can be frustrating for a young actress like Rowan to see the inequality right from the start of her career.

It’s no wonder she is interested in advancing the cause of gender equality. There is also the darker side to the industry that has made her more aware of how important it is to have a gender-balanced world environment on set.

“Reading scripts that have a really good cast and there’s a rape joke in it, it’s really upsetting. That and having the Woody Allens of the world, and people continue to work with them and nobody cares. It’s not a secret — everybody knows what happened but it doesn’t matter. It’s such a hunting ground for women because in the movies we watch, women are just there to be around the men and fill a spot,” she said.

but it wasn’t something that came naturally to her. Thanks to decades of the negativity surrounding the movement (thanks to many who feel threatened by women having equal individual rights) Rowan says she initially thought of feminism as something unattractive.

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“I started to have conversations with women around me and I had always heard the word feminism with a negative connotation. I remember I saw something about equal pay in Hollywood and the writer used the word feminism in the article. And at first I was scared, and thought it was a horrible word. Around the same time Emma Watson had her speech at the United Nations, and that gave me some clarity,” she recalled, proving just how important it is for celebrities to use their platform to speak about issues they care about.

At first, she said, her definition of feminism began simply as equality between men and women which made it an easily accessible term to her. But as she started going further into her feminist journey she started learning about the contributions of women and activists of color.

“I started discovering Audre Lorde and Angela Davis and all of these intricacies of feminism that were not being presented to me by these white feminist ‘icons.’ It was only then that I realized how deep it is and how it’s more about undoing these walls that we have built around marginalized people — it’s not just about women and men. It’s the fact that the walls for me are different than the walls for Amandla [Stenberg],” she said, citing another young female celeb who has become a passionate spokesperson for intersectionality.

Because of what she has learned and the emphasis on how feminism impacts different groups of people, she now defines the movement like this: “Undoing patriarchal structures against marginalized people — structures that fight against people of color, that fight against women, that fight against disabled people, that fight against LGBTQ.”

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Rowan goes on to explain that her learning process begins with listening, and understanding how the message has to go beyond just “girl power”, and explain how systemic and cultural barriers must be broken down in order for the “girls can do anything!”-type of messages to be real.

As for being a “celebrity feminist”, you won’t catch her talking badly about any others who don’t identify in the same way, as she says it only perpetuates the girl-on-girl hate that tabloid media uses as its fodder. Instead, Rowan’s focus is on moving the conversation forward.

“We can’t expect every celebrity to be 100 percent aware of what’s going on socially…I’m not thinking about who doesn’t consider themselves a feminist; I’m thinking about who does and who’s talking about it, and how awesome that is, and how they’re using their space to make more,” she said.

If this is what the next generation of feminism looks like, as NY Mag’s Lindsay Peoples wrote, we certainly have “hope for the future”.

Hear what Rowan had to say to her fellow teens about raising their voices for something they care about:

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