In an online survey from the Ms. Foundation for Women, badass teen queens Amandla Stenberg and Rowan Blanchard were named 2015's Feminist Celebrities of the Year. If these two young women are truly the future of feminism, then that future is looking damn bright.
Stenberg, 17, and Blanchard, 14, are talented actresses who have starred in "The Hunger Games" and "Girl Meets World," respectively. But where they've really shined -- and made headlines-- is with their outspoken commentary on inclusive, intersectional feminism. These young women don't just answer the near-obligatory "Are you a feminist?" question when reporters ask it, they use their sizable platforms to give voice to groups that might be otherwise marginalized.
Stenberg has schooled the public about cultural appropriation, advocated for young women to engage with STEM, pointed out how problematic the "angry black girl" narrative is, added her voice to the Black Lives Matter movement and written movingly about the subjugation of black women in the media -- all in the last year. Blanchard's 2015 has been equally impressive. She pointed out the whitewashed nature of "squad goals" as defined by the media, shut down the idea that women should be smiling all the time, explained why White Feminism is so problematic and called out reporters who ask young women about dieting on the red carpet.
As adults, it's easy to turn down our noses on a social media-saturated culture, filled with selfies (which are great, by the way!) and 140-character thoughts. But teens like Stenberg and Blanchard show us adults just how powerful those platforms can be for social change. On the heels of Millennials, (the generation of which I am a part of) who grew up alongside technology and social media, teens like Blanchard and Stenberg understand how to use the online tools available to them in a way that's smarter than we ever did at their age.
Of course naming anyone "Feminist of the Year" is somewhat arbitrary. But a survey like this one does indicate that these young women's voices are being amplified, heard and absorbed. We should all be so lucky to grow up with role models like these two, and those of us who are already "grown up" could stand to learn a thing -- or 50 -- from them.
Feminist squad unite.
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