Allure Magazine has a new puff cover piece on British actress Helen Mirren that underscores some problems with feminists in Hollywood and entertainment.
We wade through shameless, over-the-top flattery of this older actress to read about what makes her a “72-year-old bad*** and Oscar-winning feminist icon” who reduces men to mush.
The problem is there is not much to this so-called feminist icon other than that she hates the current U.S. president, belittles the women around him, and encourages young women to swear like a sailor and be ruder. If that is feminism, I’d pass.
We already know that Mirren was no supporter of then candidate-Donald Trump. She urged Americans to learn from the Brexit vote and support Hillary Clinton. In 2015, she even predicted Clinton would be America’s first female president in 2016.
When the writer asks about the two most important women surrounding Trump, she denigrates one and admonishes the other to “take down” her husband:
“You look at old Mel there, and she is one of the most powerful women in the world because she could take him down. She almost did that with the hand. [She puts on a Disney Evil Stepmother voice and mimics the hand brush-off seen round the world.] ‘Don’t touch me.’?”
“I’m Eastern European, you know; [we’ve] got these dark souls,” she quips. “That dark Slovenian soul is about to come out. She’s only got to do a nice interview with Allure,” she laughs, drawing out the “u,” making it sound entirely regal. All-yyooooorrr.
“[Ivanka] talks a good game, but there’s no substance. Her book is so ignorant about how the majority of women live, talking about ‘Make time for yourself to have a massage.’ Puh-lease.”
Mirren did have admiration for one woman in power on the other side of the aisle:
“Although I completely disagreed with her politics, Mrs. Thatcher was a great role model for women…a little four-year-old watching TV says, ‘Who’s this, Mommy or Daddy?’ ‘That’s the prime minister.’ Immediately, the girl thinks, Oh, I see; that’s possible.”
These comments at least hearken her prior praise of Thatcher even after Madonna’s own social media backlash for saying something nice about the first female prime minister.
Mirren's advice to young women is crass. She repudiated what she called “very didactic feminism of the ‘60s and ‘70s” that looked down on women who wore makeup and heels – looking ladylike. Yet, she fully embraces and encouraged young women to embrace a potty mouth:
If there were advice for her younger self, it’d be to say “Fuck off” more and stop being so “bloody polite.” “In those days, you had to,” she says. “It’s hard to explain how difficult it is to overcome the culture. You become a voice in the wilderness. No one wants to listen.”
Does vulgarity equate to assertiveness? The prevailing view is that women are not assertive enough. However, according to some research women are no less assertive than men. Women can also use body assertive cues in the workplace to demonstrate leadership. I have yet to see evidence that we should replace politeness with rudeness or veer toward vulgarity like men.
As we’ve saw in 2015, when an apparel company FCKH8 posted the “F-Bombs for Feminism” video featuring little girls dressed as princesses but cursing and flipping birds, that is not true women’s empowerment. Shock-value tactics that claim to push feminism forward don’t help women, and pushes them away.
Sorry Allure Magazine, but women’s empowerment this is not.