Connie Britton is a strong feminist and she wants to amplify the voices of other feminists. The Nashville actress talked to The Hollywood Reporter about gender equality and the "F Word" competition she helped judge, which promotes feminism.
Britton says she thinks some people have "put a lot of stigma" around feminism out of fear. "I think both men and women have, for various reasons, grown to feel threatened by the idea of feminism," says Britton. She adds that this might be because people don't understand it.
She says it's important to her that all genders be treated equally, saying this "should not in any way make us smaller, it should make all of us bigger." The actress has been an advocate for women's rights, supporting the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and Planned Parenthood and starring in videos about feminism.
Britton stresses that it's important at this time in our history and culture to "demystify" feminism and remove any stigmas or misconceptions around it, understanding it as a positive for everyone.
"We have to be addressing this issue right now because look at how our humanity is being mangled in this election," says Britton.
"This is an election the likes of which I don't think we've ever seen at least in my lifetime, maybe in the history of the country," she says, adding that it is "really devastating" to see the "vulgarity" and "disconnect with a sort of humanity" that some of the candidates seem to have in their talking points. "At the same time, we have a woman running for president, which is, in and of itself, historical."
For Britton, the presidential candidates this year are a manifestation of our culture. "There's obviously a big reflection in the discontent that has evolved in our culture," says Britton. "We really need to look at ourselves — they are simply reflecting our own thinking back to us."
"Women have so much to offer the world and I think for women to have a strong voice, and to be encouraged to have a strong voice, as much as men are, is just vital to all of us," she said.
Britton is one of the celebrity panelists working with SheKnows Media and the Ms. Foundation to judge the finalists for a shortform video contest called #TheFWord. The competition strives to "understand perspectives on feminism through the lens of intersectionality and powerful, personal storytelling," a SheKnows rep tells THR.
Other panelists include Shiri Appleby, Laura Benanti, Tonya Lewis Lee, Matt McGorry, Michael Skolnik, Salt-n-Pepa, Teresa C. Younger and more. The judges selected six finalists, and starting March 22, until April 3, the public can watch and vote for their favorite video by clicking here.
Britton said it was difficult for her to choose her favorites, and she was moved to tears watching the videos and appreciating the unique effort that went into each one.
She said she hopes each video will be a way to humanize and demysitify the concept of feminism and that "when people watch these videos they realize, 'That's just like me, or that's just like my friend. Now I understand, I don't need to fear this. I love the women in my life and nobody's threatening me.' "
Below is a brief description of the six finalists in #TheFWord competition, provided to THR via SheKnows. The winning video will be announced May 9 at the SheKnows Media’s Digital Content NewFronts presentation in New York City.
&bull“Peighton” — The story of a young girl who has to make the decision to either confirm to society or stay true herself, created by Kevin Brooks.
&bull“Same Fight” — Anne Troup’s video featuring a song about the global gender pay gap.
&bull“The F Word” — Mashuq Deen, a transgender man, explains why feminism is important for everyone, men included.
&bull"The Talk" — Created by Lauren Schacher and Nico Raineau, this video takes the format of a feminist comedy set in the near future in which two parents have "the talk" with their children.
&bull“This Part of Me” — Alex Regalado produced this video with the theme “Feminism: Together, we’re more than the sum of our parts.”
&bull“Twist Endings” — A dynamic, interactive video that pairs scenes stereotypical of men and women with unexpected endings, created by Zanzibar Moore.
Are you inspired by #TheFWord? Then make a video about it and join the contest! I'm going to be a judge along with some very cool friends. It'll be F'ing awesome! https://bit.ly/SKTheFWord @msfoundation @sheknows #feminism
A video posted by connie britton (@conniebritton) on Jan 27, 2016 at 9:42am PST