Jenny Slate On Feminism, Female Filmmakers & Abortion

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Comedian Jenny Slate is used to imitating other people and playing characters, as evidenced by her hilarious work on ‘Saturday Night live’, ‘Parks and Recreation’ and her new feature film ‘Obvious Child’. But what about when the spotlight is turned back on herself?

Turns out Jenny has no problems or apologies with that either, and also doesn’t apologize for being a feminist. We kind thought this would would have some sort of feminist leanings, as evidenced by her willingness to play a character in a film who chooses to get an abortion after an accidental pregnancy. It is a very touchy subject, and one that needs to have an open dialog around it because let’s face it, abortion and reproductive rights are ever black and white, and putting all women and their decisions into one pre-ordained box just isn’t the answer!

She spoke to Vogue magazine about some of her well-known characters and work, and explained why she isn’t afraid to identify as a feminist. Unlike other celebrities and prominent women, “feminism” is not a scary word in her vocabulary. The way we see it, not everyone should be expected to identify as a feminist, but they sure as hell should believe in equality for men and women and if they do, then by default they’re a feminist. It’s as if some celebs feel they are going to lose fans or respect for standing up for something that is important?! We don’t get it!

“I think that there have been a lot of fear-based assertions that feminism is about aggression and that is incorrect and untrue. Feminism is about equality, that’s what it’s about,” says Jenny before going on to admit even she at one point thought it was a dirty word.

“When I was in my early twenties, I definitely thought that it was about bra-burning or something and that is just completely incorrect. You don’t realize it until you go out and take a look, but there are so many ways in which sexism is just allowed in our culture, not just in the entertainment industry, it’s just allowed to be there and that’s not acceptable anymore. And I think it’s really important to be very vocal.”

Jenny-Slate-Obvious-Child

While ‘Obvious Child’ has been unofficially labeled as a “feminist film” Jenny says there was a reason she said yes to playing the lead role in a movie that covers a taboo topic.

“I’ve called myself an accidental activist because I came to it not on purpose. First, I was just trying to play this part and now I’ve done it and I’ve realized that I’ve created a space for myself within this new generation of feminists. With a new type of activism that is fun and that allows humor to be a part of the discussion.”

Vogue’s Patricia Garcia and Jenny fangirl a bit about how the film is also an example of female filmmakers in action in Hollywood who are creating content that is thought-provoking and different from the rest.

“And Obvious Child was a great female story, starring a female actress, directed by a woman . . .”

“And produced by a woman as well!”

Jenny says using humor to convey an important message isn’t making light of it, but it allows you to see a different perspective.

“You can’t deny what the character goes through, but you also don’t have to make it into like a victory or a shame. It just bums me out when a person has to be an issue because they are going through one. Why can’t the person be a complex human who is dealing with an issue? It’s so strange.”

If we are all complex human beings, how can one industry or group or organization decide what is right for every woman? We’re glad that mediums like entertainment can present different view points and start discussions about topics in a unique way, that politicians just can’t.

We hope more and more celebs speak up about feminism and continue to hammer home the point that it is not a dirty word, and that you shouldn’t be ashamed of equality.

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: The Importance Of 'Jane The Virgin' Tackling Abortion In A Nuanced And Shame-Free Way - GirlTalkHQ

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