Keira Knightley's latest interview is filled with her rad thoughts on feminism
Keira Knightley has always been outspoken when it comes to gender inequality. Whether it’s taking a (very real) stand against how often the media Photoshops women’s bodies, or expressing how essential it is that we put women in the director’s chair, Keira is no stranger to speaking her mind. And now, in the latest issue of Violet magazine, Keira has even more wonderful and important things to say about gender representation and feminism — and we absolutely love her for it.
Speaking with photographer Amanda de Cadenet, Keira talks about the importance of women in film and the everyday struggles of gender inequality.
“Where are the female stories? Where are they?” She asks. “Where are the directors, where are the writers? It’s imbalanced, so given that we are half the cinema-going public, we are half the people [who] watch drama or watch anything else . . . I think the pay is a huge thing, but I’m actually more concerned over the lack of our voices being heard.”
Keira’s concerns are legitimate, and there is a ton of research that backs her up. According to UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies “,” women made up only 13% of writers and 6% of directors for films that came out in 2013. And the lack of diversity extends much further in the industry than who’s on set. According to the report, “the corps of CEOs and/or chairs running the 18 studios examined was 94 percent white and ,” and “the studios’ senior management corps was 92 percent white and .” This is, obviously, a problem.
“At every level, in every arena, women and minorities are under-represented in the industry,” Darnell Hunt, the study’s co-author, told NPR. “And the only question really is how serious, how egregious that level of under-representation is.”
What Keira masterfully addresses in her interview with Violet is the effect and very real consequences of this under-representation. If there are no women to tell our stories, they will either go untold entirely or be told through the male lens. Diverse representation is the only way to get female voices, opinions, and stories heard.
Keria herself has quite the history of working with female directors and writers on films, including Bend It Like Beckham (directed by Gurinder Chadh), Pride and Prejudice (screenplay by Deborah Moggach), Laggies (directed by Lynn Shelton), and Last Night (written and directed by Massy Tadjedin), just to name a few. And she’s played a plethora of badass ladies as well, from Elizabeth Swann (Pirates of the Caribbean) to Elizabeth Bennet (again, Pride and Prejudice) to Joan Clarke (The Imitation Game) — and in the interview, she even touches on how Joan’s story is still relevant today.
“I think it is interesting that for women in film the problems they face are generally put into the sphere of home and family and not into the workplace,” she tells Violet. “Joan’s real struggles were to get her rightful ‘place at the table,’ and then once she was there, equal pay, which she never came close to.”
But perhaps the most refreshing part of Keira’s interview comes when she directly addresses feminism — both as a label and a concept.
“I don’t know what happened through the ’80s,’90s, and ’00s that took feminism off the table, that made it something that women weren’t supposed to identify with and were supposed to be ashamed of,” Knightley said. “Feminism is about the fight for equality between the sexes, with equal respect, equal pay, and equal opportunity. At the moment we are still a long way off that.”
Given how muddled feminism’s meaning seems to have become lately, we couldn’t be happier that Keira defines it so perfectly.
To see more images from the editorial, head to Style.com — and you can read the rest of her interview when Violet hits newsstands next week.