With song titles like “Miss Independent,” pop star Kelly Clarkson   would seem to most like a feminist. But she doesn’t see it that way. In conversation with TIME’s Belinda Luscombe, Clarkson stated the word feminist is “too strong. I think when people hear feminist, it’s like, ‘Get out of my way, I don’t need anyone.’” She goes on to explain, “I love that I’m being taken care of, and I have a man that’s a leader. I’m not a feminist in that sense … but I’ve worked really hard since I was 19, when I first auditioned for Idol.”



I find this confusing. Throughout the entire portion of the discussion wherein Feminism isn’t mentioned, Clarkson’s words read like those of an all-star feminist. She expresses her admiration for lady role-model Reba McEntire, and she defends her right to display her sexuality only when it’s on her terms: “People in the industry have tried douche moves with me, but of course they’re going to, because they make money when girls do that.”


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So why does she say she’s not a feminist? For starters, her definition of feminism is antiquated and grossly simplified. Feminism is about equality between the sexes; it is an open discussion about what that means. It doesn’t mean women “don’t need anyone;” rather, it’s about how we, as women and as human beings, need one another. Everyone, male or female, has the right to “[be] taken care of,” to feel safe. Everyone has the right to be “a leader.” The desire to feel protected and the urge to protect are both human urges; they aren’t specific to any gender over another. 


I adore Kelly, but her words here are ignorant and damaging. Feminism is going through an exciting period of rebuilding, and to hear the movement oversimplified and mischaracterized at such a crucial time is disheartening. Hopefully, Clarkson will realize the error in her judgement of the movement and reconsider her identity as a feminist. 


Thanks to TIME

Image via FanPop

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