Here’s Why Celebrities Speaking Out About Politics Actually Matters

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It’s only been ten days since President Donald J. Trump took office and already we have seen some scary changes start to take place in our government. Through “executive orders,” which effectively override the Checks and Balances system that our democracy was founded on, President Trump (it literally hurts me to write those words, FYI) has already made a call to begin building a physical wall between the U.S. and Canada (which, P.S., has the dude heard of airplanes? Like, what will this multi-billion dollar wall actually accomplish?), reinstated the “Global Gag Rule” (a.k.a. prohibiting international health care providers that receive funding from the U.S. government from mentioning abortion as an option for unplanned or risky pregnancies), while greatly expanding it so that it’s not only family planning providers affected, but also healthcare workers abroad, working to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

The former Apprentice host also began the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which provides health insurance to around 20 million Americans without putting in place another Health Insurance alternative, and has put through a presidential memorandum that will push forward the creation of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will carry a great amount of Crude Oil to different parts of the U.S., but also carries a high risk of poisoning the drinking water for many people, particularly the Native Americans of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. While many celebrities (such as Shailene Woodley and Teen Wolf‘s Max and Charlie Carver) had been protesting the DAPL at the end of last year, President Barack Obama temporarily ceased its construction due to the backlash over the pipeline that occurred.

These executive orders and presidential memorandums are frightening enough, but one that seems to stand in opposition to everything that America stands for is the recent executive order, called colloquially as the “Muslim Ban,” that has prohibited all people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.A., including refugees, even if they had prior approval to seek asylum in our nation. Despite the fact that the order is “temporary” (but currently indefinite), while more extensive refugee screening processes are put in place (the U.S. already has one of the toughest screening processes for refugees as it is, BTW), it was reported that a refugee had tried committing suicide in an airport instead of being deported back to her home country. This is an urgent matter. National protesting at airports across America broke out from people who realize that prohibiting people from coming to our country based on their religious beliefs, when our country was founded by people escaping religious persecution, is hypocritical at best.

After the Muslim Ban was reported, several celebrities began to speak up about their opposition to the new executive actions:

Many celebrities, like Cole Sprouse, also called out stars who decided to choose silence over activism, in fear of hurting their status and losing fans.

A lot of people think that it seems stupid and pointless for celebrities to speak up about politics, considering they have a great amount of privilege and little to no experience in government. Then again, look at who our President is: the host of a reality TV show, born into wealth, who has little to no experience in government before being elected to hold the highest position in our democracy.

We also may not see it, but celebrity endorsements are already considered to be of high value in our society. Brands like ProActive and Subway Sandwiches pay BIG BUCKS to get people like Katy Perry and Michael Phelps to say that they use their products, realizing that celebrities do have an influence in the choices that Americans make nowadays. Jennifer Aniston was paid two million dollars for her Smartwater commercials, and if that seems like a lot, David Beckham was paid 160 million dollars for an Adidas campaign. That should mean that simply having the soccer player in a commercial would make the company over 160 million dollars.

Whether we actively recognize it or not, we already know that famous voices matter in shifting public opinions. Isn’t that kind of the whole reason why we’re constantly bashing on “Taylor Swift Feminism?” Her desire to use girl-power and female empowerment as a tool to serve her personal needs and desires, while refusing to use her “feminist” voice when it actually matters (i.e. her deafening silence when it came to the first serious female presidential candidate versus a man who had been accused of sexual assault) is an indicator that “feminism” is her brand but not what she stands for.

They say that during the 2008 Presidential campaign for Obama, Oprah Winfrey‘s endorsement may have garnished the first black president an extra one million votes, because people respect Oprah and appreciate her opinion. For people who just “don’t know that much about politics” (as some of my Facebook friends said just weeks before the election while still deciding who to vote for), a celeb endorsement, as shallow as it may seem to some, can be the tipping point and actually make a difference.

Another thing to realize is that MOST celebrities aren’t just famous for being famous; they’re famous for making art: acting and playing music. Since we often use art to express our thoughts and opinions regarding the world around us, these famous people are already using the entertainment industry as a tool to support their viewpoints. Look at the Oscar-nominated film, Hidden Figures, for example. This is a film that shows us the way that women of color have been ignored by our history, how their victories have been overshadowed and often the credit that is rightfully theirs is given to other people. The actors in the film, like Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer, chose to be a part of that movie to push their “political agenda:” a feminist and anti-racism narrative. And, let’s face it, it worked. Audiences, myself included, have been wowed that such an inspiring story has somehow been ignored for decades by the people *cough* white men *cough* who write our history textbooks.

Even if you’re not going to blindly follow whomever Beyonce throws her political support to, at the very least it will bring attention to the issues at hand and hopefully encourage her loyal fans to do a little bit of research of their own. So, while I, personally, will not necessarily be casting my next vote for whoever Queen Bey stands behind in 2020 (particularly not if Kanye West was serious about running for Prez), there’s a good chance that I’ll look a little deeper into a candidate if a famous woman who I feel like is usually aligned with my political beliefs has faith that a certain person will stand up and fight for the beliefs that I hold.
A lot of celebrities are not fans of Taylor Swift’s version of feminism. See here:

Troian Bellisario

After the Kimye-Taylor feud broke out, Cosmopolitan asked the Pretty Little Liars star which side she's on. She said, "Oh god, I have such an aversion to the Kardashians because I literally don't understand people's obsession with them and I don't want to accept them as our closest thing to a royal family, so I guess I would be Team Taylor Swift?" Sounds promising, right? Well...

"However, I'm so appalled by what I consider to be her false feminism," she continued. "It seems like she's this person who's like, 'Sisterhood!' and then she does nothing but tear down the women that were once her friends."

She ended her statement, saying, "So is it possible to just be, like… this is a two-party system that I don't want to be a part of? Can I just say that? Can I say that I would choose the Green Party in this?"

Photo: WENN

Demi Lovato

Some people praised Taylor for her $250,000 donation to help support Kesha's legal fight against the music producer who allegedly raped her; others slammed the singer for not voicing her thoughts on the matter. Demi Lovato is one of those people.

At first, her side eye was a not-so-subtle Twitter comment, saying, "Take something to Capitol Hill or actually speak about something, then I'll be impressed."

But it got way worse during a later interview on the matter. "There are women that I don't get along with, and that's fine," Demi began. "My thing is, don't brand yourself a feminist if you don't do the work. I have an immense amount of respect for women like Lena Dunham... or Beyoncé, who make amazing political statements through their work." And she feels like T.Swift doesn't do that.

Photo: WENN

Katy Perry

The beef between Taylor & Katy is a longstanding one — Tay's "Bad Blood" was even inspired by it — so it's no surprise that the "Roar" crooner is not a fan of Taylor's views on feminism.

In an almost indecipherable tweet, Katy said, "Finding it ironic to parade the 'pit women against other women' argument about, as one [im]measurably capitalizes on the takedown of a woman."

Yung Skeeter, who joined Katy on tour, echoed her sentiments. "Using a group of women to take shots at another women," he tweeted, followed by "let's be good to each other."

Photo: WENN

Camilla Belle

The actress, who is said to be the reason for Joe Jonas' breakup with Taylor, is definitely on Team Katy. After Katy's tweet about pitting women against other women, Camilla responded, "Couldn't have said it better."

Remember, Taylor wrote "Better Than Revenge" about how Cam stole Joe from her.

Photo: WENN

Chloe Grace Moretz

CGM is a self-professed feminist herself; one who is not for women rising above men, but about being on the same playing field. "[Feminism is] about equality," she said. "And it's not just about women being powerful. It's about races being powerful; genders being powerful."

The one thing she does not consider to be a good example of feminism is a squad. "They appropriate exclusivity," she exclaimed. "They're cliques! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

When the interviewer asked her if she was aware of Taylor Swift and if she was invited into her squad, Chloe responded yes to both, but simply stated that Tay's talented and left it at that. K.

Photo: WENN

Rowan Blanchard

Another person who's not living for the #squadlife is the Girl Meets World star. "Of course female friendship is a beautiful thing," she told Just Jared, Jr. "It's insanely powerful. Sisterhood is something so valid and important when you are growing up that I literally think the essence of it should be taught in schools. But, the 'squads' we see in the media" — Taylor's being the most prominent — "are very polarizing. Feminism and friendship are supposed to be inclusive, and most of these 'squads' are strictly exclusive."

She continued, "It makes feminism look very one dimensional. Feminism is so multilayered and complex that it can be frustrating when the media and the celebrities involved in it make feminism and 'squads' feel like this very happy, exclusive, perfect thing. There's so much more than that. 'Squad goals' can polarize anyone who is not white, thin, tall and always happy."

Photo: WENN

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