New Age Feminists
Social media and the internet have undoubtedly played huge roles in elevating the feminist platform, and it's no coincidence that fashion's darlings: a conglomerate of muses and "it girls," have also proven to be prominent spokeswomen in the larger debate about equality and representation with respect to gender and race. While we frequently reference Beyoncé and her power ballads, Emma Watson's empowering HeforShe campaign, or Lena Dunham's quirky, self-deprecating sense of humor as modern day feminist icons, an emerging wave of young women have been spearheading feminist discussions on various fronts.
Take, for example, Tavi Gevinson the founder of Rookie Mag, an independently run magazine and blog that serves as a forum for feminist issues, the arts and fashion. Gevinson also spends time as an editor, writer, actress and singer and was most recently the star of the Broadway show This Is Our Youth. She has also been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 as well as named one of "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014" by Time magazine. Since her early start in the fashion world at the age of eleven, Gevinson has been a powerful mouthpiece for political movements as well. She was a vocal supporter of the Obama 2012 campaign and organized a get-well-soon card drive for Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist, after she was attacked in 2012. Through the various ways in which she candidly documents her life and experiences through Rookie and Instagram, Gevinson has helped to redefine what it means to be a young woman growing up in the 21st century through her critical, humorous and eccentric take on modern culture.
From making a name for herself as one of the few African-American stars on Disney Channel to becoming a budding songstress, a CoverGirl spokesperson and the inspiration behind the latest Barbie doll, Zendaya has gracefully assumed her place at the forefront of issues that address beauty standards and body image. Her open critique on the use of Photoshop to alter editorial and online images, one even her own, daring fashion choices (her look for the 87th Academy Awards drew some controversy) and her frequent and honest communications with fans through Instagram and Twitter ably position Zendaya as one of the defining voices of her generation.
At only seventeen, Amandla Stenberg has already achieved widespread recognition as an actress and activist. Stenberg, who is openly bisexual and is an important leader in discussions concerning cultural appropriation, racial stereotypes and gender identity, shared the spotlight with Kylie Jenner when the reality TV show star posted a photo of herself wearing cornrows on Instagram, which Stenberg took as an opportunity to address issues of cultural appropriation on a national scale. Stenberg was recently interviewed by Solange Knowles as Teen Vogue's latest cover star, in which she discusses the struggles she faced growing up as a black girl who was frequently told she wouldn't be taken seriously or perceived as beautiful based off of her looks. Stenberg has also penned a comic book entitled Niobe: She Is Life, a coming of age tale starring Niobe, a half elf, half human warrior; "I think it's the first comic book that has a black female writer and a black female illustrator and a black female lead, so it's really exciting" (PEOPLE).
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