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Tavi Gevinson
Tavi Gevinson@alia_pop via Instagram

Tavi warns about the culture of clickbait feminism

In a new interview, the Rookie founder critiques the mainstream media’s use of the word ‘feminism’

Today the word “feminism” is rarely out of the headlines – whether it’s a celebrity identifying with the term, or another voicing an opinion on it. While this is succeeding to integrate the feminist discourse into the mainstream cultural dialogue and shining a rightful light on women’s issues, there’s also a fear that the term has also become clickbait – a suggested by Rookie founder and Dazed 100 publisher Tavi Gevinson in a new interview for Vanity Fair.

“Well, I just get frustrated because I do a lot of interviews that will be like, ‘Meryl Streep said this about feminism, Jennifer Lawrence said this about feminism, Beyoncé said this about feminism’” she says. “I’m just very suspect of that because it’s actually a question about a celebrity, I don't know how much it’s a question about feminism.”

“As feminism becomes more integrated into mainstream publications and conversation, I feel weary of an obsession of celebrity culture masquerading as activism or as conversation or action,” she continues. “It’s clickbait. I think it’s foolish to interview someone who’s just promoting a movie that they’re in and ask if they consider themselves a feminist. That’s not about feminism, that’s about the journalist wanting to gauge how much this person is aware of the world, or is aware of the feminist movement.”

“But that’s the very same thing to me as interviewing a celebrity and asking if they really are on a diet or not,” she goes on to say. “It’s just a test of realness. It’s this weird realness policing… I think it alienates people from feminism to think that it’s all about ‘Are you with us or against us.’”

While Gevinson herself identifies as a feminist, she has expressed the concern about being pigeonholed by this identifier. “While 
I’m happy to talk about feminism and I’m happy that I’m a girl, I do sometimes feel like, ‘Why does everything I do have to be viewed through a lens of ‘feminist or not’?’” she said in a recent Dazed interview. “Like, can’t I ever do or create anything just as a person? That’s a privilege that men have over women and white people have over people of colour.”