How influential women are fighting for gender equality

By Brittany Gregg, Opinion Editor

The 87th Academy Awards took place this past Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. The ceremony was all about the stars’ glitz and glamour.

This year, however, more than ever, women are challenging the stereotypes that follow them both on and off of the red carpet. Sexism is no longer being set aside at award ceremonies, thanks to the women who hold some of the most influential roles.

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation: We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and to fight for equal rights for women in America,” Patricia Arquette, an Academy Award Winning actress said.

The attention suddenly focused on Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, who sat next to each other in the audience. While the two are on far opposite sides of the star power spectrum, the acting legend and music mogul were on the edge of their seats, approving all that was said. Streep took the extra step to point and yell out her deeply rooted passion for equality to Patricia Arquette.

Earlier that evening, Channing Tatum revealed the winners of “Team Oscar.” Six students were chosen creating the best 60-second videos based on the best piece of advice they had ever received. Two of the six winners were women. As a female, it was hard to believe that within this group of people, there were more female winners than males who have won best director at the Academy Awards.

For 2014, there were no females nominated for Best Director, Best Cinematography or either of the Best Screenplay categories.

Unfortunately, Ava DuVernay and Gillian Flynn, two women with great talent, were not recognized by the Academy.

Despite the awards being sexist, the red carpet was a target for feminist groups. It is common for men to be critiqued on their outfits, but the media tends not to focus as much as they do when it comes to women and their selection of fashion. When women step up to the camera, reporters couldn’t care less about the women wearing the dress and focus all of their attention on the dress itself.

Best Supporting Actress nominee, Emma Stone was told that she looked beautiful as always when attending an Academy Luncheon. The actress effortlessly joked, “Oh, thank you, that’s all that matters.”

Another moment of greatness was when Ryan Seacrest asked another Best Supporting Actress Nominee, Laura Dern about her jewelry. She responded by saying that her ring was worn for lung cancer awareness, proving a point that there is more to beauty than what someone wears.

In 2014, Best Supporting Actress nominee Keira Knightley agreed to pose topless for Interview magazine with one important line: there could not be any Photoshop done on her image.

Knightley explained to the UK Times, “It does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are. I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame. This was a bold move for Knightley and a very important one at that.

Actress Emma Watson also made a bold statement this year with her stance on gender equality. At the United Nations, Watson stood in front of the world and gave a formal invitation to men to join her fight for gender equality with the movement, HeForShe.

While many of the women that I have mentioned are key players within the celebrity realm, Watson is the most powerful. She has been a role model for young girls since Harry Potter, where she was Hermoine Granger. Characterized as a role model for young women all around the world.

Women with power and prestige have taken a stance for gender equality and it has been made apparent. Young women like myself appreciate these gestures and we only hope the rest of the world will take action and fight for gender equality too, letting it be a concern of the past as we move forward.