Angelina Jolie penned a powerful essay about why we need more “wicked women,” and we’re so on board

Some might argue that in the 21st century, gender stereotypes are a thing of the past. But women are often still expected to be demure, subservient, and chaste, and those who don’t follow meet these strict guidelines are considered “wrong” or “bad.” These outdated ideas are both frustrating and dangerous, but thankfully, there are some who are fighting to change the narrative. Angelina Jolie, for instance, recently penned an essay celebrating “wicked” women.

In an essay for Elle magazine, published today, August 5th, the Maleficent star argued that women have historically been punished for standing up for their rights or speaking their minds. She cited Joan of Arc and the Salem witch trials as examples and pointed out that, even today, this attitude persists. She wrote about female politicians in Democratic countries being “described as witches” and mentioned women’s rights advocates who have been incarcerated for their beliefs. She argued that “the independence and creative energy of women is still frequently seen as a dangerous force to be controlled, often in the name of religion, tradition, or culture.”

"Looked at in this light, 'wicked women' are just women who are tired of injustice and abuse," she wrote. "Women who refuse to follow rules and codes they don’t believe are best for themselves or their families. Women who won’t give up on their voice and rights, even at the risk of death or imprisonment or rejection by their families and communities. If that is wickedness, then the world needs more wicked women."

Jolie continued by urging readers to support other women and to be who they want to be—regardless of societal expectations. She also shared advice that she gives her daughters. The actress shares six children with her former partner Brad Pitt—Maddox (18), Pax (15), Zahara (14), Shiloh (13), and Vivienne and Knox (both 11).

"I often tell my daughters that the most important thing they can do is to develop their minds," she wrote. "You can always put on a pretty dress, but it doesn’t matter what you wear on the outside if your mind isn’t strong. There is nothing more attractive—you might even say enchanting—than a woman with an independent will and her own opinions."

Jolie’s words are an excellent reminder of why we need to keep fighting for women’s rights. We have to agree: The world does need more wicked women. Read the rest of Jolie’s essay over at Elle.

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