Shailene Woodley Wants To Defy Gender Typecasting In Hollywood


Yes, we know Shailene Woodley is in most feminist’s bad books because of her comments about the movement. In an interview with Time magazine she claimed she wasn’t a feminist because she “likes men” essentially sending the feminist movement back about a thousand years. Someone just needs to gently remind her that being a feminist means you believe in the social, political, and economic equality of both sexes.

Nevertheless, we can’t fault her much more than that, because she says some pretty radical and awesome things about the female persuasion and the representation of women in Hollywood, which is a HUGE deal.

She and fellow young Hollywood actress Brie Larson (who were both seen together in ‘The Spectacular Now’) were interviewed together by Lynn Hirschberg in the June issue of New York Magazine. They spoke about being part of a new breed of young women in Hollywood who are bent on defying gender stereotypes, because for far too long it has been very limiting for women, and in some ways still is.

But it is much easier for a younger generation to stand apart and not follow in the footsteps of old Hollywood rules, and therefore creating far greater and far more opportunities for other women in the biz.

After her breakout film role in the descendants things started to change dramatically for Shailene, who was told to start dressing a certain way in public to enhance her image.

“I was told to start dressing more ‘cosmopolitan’ for my ‘campaign.’ I remember saying, ‘Are you telling me that if I dress a certain way, my chances are better for an Oscar? That makes me want to show up naked.’ ” Woodley smiled. “They said, ‘Well—if you’re naked, your chances will be very good.’ ”

Don’t worry, she doesn’t plan on going naked in public to win an Oscar or for more attention any time soon. Meeting Brie Larson on the set of ‘The Spectacular Now’ was a moment of finding a kindred spirit, finding a soul sister, where she and Shailene could discuss like-minded ideas about their career and how they wanted to be represented as young women.

“It was a constant dialogue,” Woodley said. “First we were venting about things we are supposed to do and don’t want to do. Then we agreed that the biggest issue is to pick films that are honest and not detrimental to girls. We realized that our choices might make people say we are ‘weird.’ But rather than be ashamed of that or try to change, we embraced it: Brie and I decided that we’d rather be weird than anything else.”

If being weird makes you a a pioneer who empowers other women, then sign us up! Shailene says taking on the role of a terminally ill cancer patient in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ was one of the ways she hopes to stand apart from the rest.

“In Fault, I am trying to rewrite what a female lead can look like: You’ve never seen a woman on the poster for a movie with a cannula in her nose.”

True that!


Shailene has talked about her other actress friend Jennifer Lawrence being the catalyst and ultimate encourage for her to take the lead role of Tris Priot in the ‘Divergent’ film series. Despite what the media loves to do, pit women against each other and create ratings and money, the two actresses are great friends.

In an interview on Jimmy Fallon’s talk show, he asks her what its like to continually be compared to J-Law.

“Comparisons always lead to despair,” she said, and the audience started booing her for her response. It turns out the rest of her reply was actually cut out from the interview, sadly, because she actually gave a really positive message for young women.

“As women, we are constantly told that we need to compare ourselves to a girl in school, to our co-­workers, to the images in a magazine,” she said to Lynn Hirschberg. “How is the world going to advance if we’re always comparing ourselves to others? I admire Jennifer Lawrence, but she’s everyone’s favorite person to compare me to. Is it because we both have short hair and a vagina? I see us as separate individuals. And that’s important. As women, our insecurities are based on all these comparisons. And that creates distress.” This is what was cut out of the televised interview. Way to go media!

“How do we expect men to respect women or women to rise to more power when we don’t respect our queendom in the same way that men respect their kingdom?” she continues on to Lynn.

“Girls in this industry sabotage one another, we will never do that.” says Brie in reference to their friendship, which in and of itself is already defying Hollywood standards for women.


While Shailene thinks the idea of calling herself is a little limiting (arrghh, once again someone needs to tell her the full extent of what being a feminist in 2014 actually represents, coz all the things she’s saying essentially fit into that category!) she would prefer to call herself a “humanist” because she is all about encouraging everyone.

Brie Larson shares her disdain of being a young girl cast in the same types of roles in Hollywood. For any young actress or host who works in the business, you can identify no doubt.

“A big producer offered me the part of the pretty girl that waits at home for the guy, and I couldn’t do it. That’s not a story I ever want to tell.”

Since we’re more about the message than just the label, we can clearly forgive Shailene for her feminist blunder. Because seriously every time she talks about women in interviews she has some very thoughtful, mature and progressive words which only serve to encourage and empower other young women.

Hollywood does need to do a much better job at representing females on screen in a manner that is more realistic. If more young actresses, writers studio heads, producers, directors etc thought the same about women in film as Brie and Shailene do, perhaps we’d finally herald a new dawn of film where women are sought after to play diverse characters like men.

Until this becomes the norm, we and many others will continue to promote the positive messages that will inspire the girls who read it.




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