“You are either a normal person or a sexist.”
For many people, ‘feminism’ is a very strong word that should be approached with caution. But for Maisie Williams, it couldn’t be more normal.
The 18-year-old, aka Arya Stark from HBO’s Game of Thrones, has explained why we should eliminate the word altogether, citing that we should stop calling people feminists because feminism should be the norm.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Williams recalled the time she was asked if Arya was a feminist – she was 12 at the time.
I got asked in one of my first interviews: ‘Is Arya a feminist?’ I didn’t even know what a feminist was.
And then someone explained it to me. And I remember thinking, ‘Isn’t that just like everyone?’ And then I realized everyone is not a feminist, unfortunately.
If that doesn’t highlight the issues with feminism, I don’t know what does. If you ask a child what they think about sexism, racism, or sexuality, chances are their view is that everyone is equal. So why don’t many of us think like that?
Williams put it best when she told Entertainment Weekly that we should ‘stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminist ‘sexist’.’ She said: “And then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist.”
In this day and age, ‘feminism’ is still considered a dirty word, and many people prefer not to associate themselves with it for fear of what other people may think or say.
A 2016 Washington Post survey about feminism in America showed that 70 per cent of men and women said ’empowering’ was a better word to describe feminism, while 43 per cent said ‘angry’.
Williams had her say on that, too:
Once people are angry about something, you start worrying about saying the right thing instead of just saying what you mean.
It’s very easy to have an opinion. Everyone’s got one. But it’s very difficult to speak up about difficult subjects when people are angry with you.
People say: “Why don’t you speak up!” [and I’m thinking], “Because you all got pitchforks and you’re ready to kill us!” It’s scary if you say something wrong.
While many people still may not want to associate themselves with the ‘feminist label’, the younger generation is fighting for equality now more than ever. And young women’s comments, like Williams’, show just how apparent the fight for equality is – no labels required.