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5 Times Helen Mirren Was the Ultimate Feminist

5 Times Helen Mirren Was the Ultimate Feminist

Helen Mirren

Is there anything Helen Mirren can’t do? From winning Academy Awards to proving true beauty is ageless, Mirren brings class, poise, and sophistication wherever she goes. But don’t let the posh accent and neatly coiffed hair fool you. She has enough spunk and spirit to inspire several generations, and her outspoken views on women and society are part of the reason her fans love her so much.

Recently, Mirren was trending for an interview where she mentions Kim Kardashian. Her comments about Kim celebrate body positivity and prove what a class act Mirren really is. However, this is far from the first time Mirren showed us what it means to be a feminist.

As a reminder of just how much of a queen Dame Helen Mirren is, here is a list of some of her noteworthy moments.

1. When She Celebrated Big Butts

In case you missed it, on June 5th, The Guardian ran a story where Mirren was quoted as saying “I’m not into the Kardashians, it’s a phenomenon I just don’t find interesting, but—and this is the big word: B-U-T-T—it’s wonderful that you’re allowed to have a butt nowadays.” She went on to say she loves “shameless women,” and thanked both “Madame Kardashian” and J-Lo for making it socially acceptable for women to have big thighs.

Why is this important? Well, for two reasons:

A. Body Positivity

This is the obvious reason, but it really can’t be stressed enough. Mirren is a gorgeous woman. Even at 70, she has what many would consider a perfect figure. However, she doesn’t spend her time boring us with the details of her fitness routine and diet. Mirren realizes there is more to beauty than a woman’s weight, and she is outspoken about loving women of all shapes and sizes. See also her 2015 interview with The Guardian where she mentions how much she loves Italy, where “women of all ages, shapes and sizes walk around in bikinis, free, self-confident and without care or judgment.”

B. Slut-Shaming

Helen Mirren looking fab.Mirren is the ultimate example of women building other women up instead of tearing them down. Mirren has earned her fame through decades of acting in film, television, and on the stage. She’s won dozens of awards and even been named Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (which is like the female version of receiving an honorary knighthood). It would be easy for her to bash a lot of up-and-coming celebrities, especially reality TV stars like the Kardashians, who seem to mostly earn attention based on what they look like and who they are dating. But she doesn’t do that. Instead, she praises them for helping change society’s beauty standards. She focuses on the positive. In an era of Twitter feuds and tabloid gossip, it’s refreshing. She’s an example of how we as women should treat other women. Don’t we get enough slut-shaming from men without doing it to each other? If you said yes, I’m sure Mirren would agree.

2. When She Talked About Not Having Children

Society would have us believe a woman’s only worth lies in having children. While being a wife and mother are noble goals that many women aspire to, they are only a part of the many things we, as women, can accomplish with our lives. A true feminist celebrates both the housewife and the career woman and realizes you don’t have to do both (or either) to be successful.

Mirren has been outspoken about her childlessness, claiming “Motherhood holds no interest for me.” In an article from The Telegraph, she denounces anyone who encourages her to have children saying, “…And whenever they went ‘What? No children? Well, you’d better get on with it, old girl,’ I’d say ‘No! F— off!’”

A man who decides not to have children isn’t constantly questioned for his choice, and Mirren understands that the same should be true for women.

 

3. When She Advocated Not Being Hard on Ourselves

Our media is saturated with advice on how to be a better you. From fitness to nutrition toHelen Mirren staring into space. cosmetics, you can’t open a magazine, or flip through television channels, or check Facebook without being reminded there is always more you can do to perfect your beauty as a woman.

Mirren has been one of the faces of L’Oréal Paris since 2014. However, she is still loathe to offer beauty tips. She is a lot more open about her vices. In an interview with The Telegraph she mentions she loves to sunbathe, drink wine, eat French fries, and sometimes even uses hotel body lotion as hair conditioner. She adds “I’m not particular. Life is too short and too precious.”

We could all learn a lesson from this. Maybe Mirren is just blessed with good looks or maybe it has something to do with a team of stylists and make-up artists. Whatever the reason, her confidence is all her own. Being sexy, beautiful, or classy can’t be manufactured no matter what the media tells us. When pressed to answer what being “worth it” means (the motto of L’Oréal Paris is “because you’re worth it!”), Mirren answers “…we are our own worst enemies. We can be so hard on ourselves. We are all different.”

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I think we can all raise an extra glass of wine to that!

4. When She Reminded Us about Women’s Roles

Because Mirren has played a lot of serious and award-winning roles in film and on stage, it’s natural that many would turn to her with the question of a woman’s place in Hollywood. Why aren’t there more roles for women? Last year, at Tina Brown’s Women of the World summit, Mirren admitted to spending time watching TV and counting how many women she saw versus how many men.

Helen Mirren wearing a sweater.However, the real problem, she insists, is not with Hollywood, but with the world at large. Vulture quotes her as saying: “People often say, ‘It’s so terrible that women don’t have great roles in movies.’ I say: Forget that. That doesn’t matter. Change roles for women in life, and you will find the roles for women in drama.”

Often we forget that problems like lack of female representation in the media or the gender pay gap are actually just symptoms of gender inequality as a whole. The problem won’t be solved when Jennifer Lawrence’s pay matches Brad Pitt’s, or when we have more female-oriented action movies. It will only end when we stop thinking of these things as shocking events and demand complete equality in all the roles life offers us.

5. When She Danced Like No One Was Watching

Feminism is also about owning your sexuality. What better way to do that than shamelessly shaking some booty? When you think of twerking you think of Miley Cyrus or Rihanna, but Helen Mirren proves you can shake your thang no matter your age.

OK, so she was tricked into it by a game of charades, but when she finally busts her move, the moment is priceless. Plus, she’s a genuinely good sport about recreating the dance on Live! With Kelly and Michael. She’s talented enough to win an Oscar but also silly enough to do an impromptu dance on live TV. Shouldn’t we all aspire to be Helen Mirren?

Rachel Ginder

Rachel is a bookaholic who dreams of reading for a living, but has recently and quite comfortably settled for working as an editorial assistant at an East Coast university press. She spends her free time writing book reviews and is on a constant quest to find the perfect setting for novel reading. Her current favorite is sitting on a bench at her local park, where she alternates between fantasizing she is either Anita from 101 Dalmatians or Rory from Gilmore Girls. When not pretending she’s a fictional character, she can occasionally be lured indoors with a large cup of chai tea or earl grey (she’s not picky).
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