Chloe Grace Moretz, stumping for Hillary in Nevada, says many young women ‘terrified’ of being feminists

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Actress Chloe Grace Moretz poses with a group of University of Nevada students as she campaigns for Hillary Clinton at the Las Vegas campus on February 18. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS — Chloe Grace Moretz, a 19-year-old actress best known for starring in the romantic film “If I Stay,” entered a coffee shop in a Las Vegas strip mall to greet about 25 Hillary Clinton supporters Thursday, most of them young college students. She stood in front of Hillary signs and addressed the small group briefly, urging them to caucus for Clinton on Saturday.

“I think we can all sit back and say, ‘Yeah, you know it’s time for Hillary to be president, it’s going to happen no matter what,’” she said. “But it doesn’t work that way. We have to go out there, we have to use our voice and our vote.”

Moretz is one of several famous young women who are popping up in ads and on the trail to help boost Clinton’s standing among young people, especially millennial women. Lena Dunham, America Ferrera and Katy Perry are among the others. Yet despite their star power and the obvious historic appeal of electing the country’s first female president, some polls indicate Sanders, a 74-year-old Vermonter, is beating Clinton among young women. He’s also beating her among young men, as younger people of all kinds have fueled his rise from long shot to serious contender. In Nevada, the latest poll shows Sanders and Clinton in a statistical tie.

SLIDESHOW – Clinton and Sanders go head-to-head in Nevada >>>

Clinton volunteers ushered the starlet and her mother, Teri Duke Moretz, out of the shop and into 15 mile-per-hour winds. Moretz, in stiletto heels, walked across the street and onto the University of Nevada’s campus, trailed by about a dozen students, to an empty picnic table across the way from a few Bernie Sanders supporters. A student zoomed by on a skateboard. One of the Bernie supporters screamed, “Bernie will give you free tuition!” But the growing group of students was too busy wordlessly pointing their smartphones at Moretz to notice. Slowly, the braver ones approached her, asking to take selfies.

Moretz cheerfully obliged, handing each one a sheet with caucus information on it, and making them promise to caucus. To some, she explained why she supports Clinton, saying she believes the former secretary of state had the best plan for helping ease student debt loads, and that she thought it would be good for the country to see a woman in power.

Moretz, who first became a Hillary supporter in 2008 when she was 11 years old due to her mother’s influence, said in an interview that she has “no understanding” of why Sanders is beating Clinton among women her age.

“I think that there’s a lot of young women who are terrified of being feminists,” she said. “Young women are afraid to stand up for who [they] are because we still live in a world in which it’s not OK for us to be young, powerful, strong, well-spoken, educated young women. And that’s why we need Hillary in office.”

Gloria Steinem, the feminist icon, recently suggested that young women back Sanders because the men their age do. She later apologized after fierce criticism.

But two college students who attended the Hillary event said they saw that dynamic at play on their campus.

“I feel like a lot of girls kind of want to go with the flow,” said Alyssa Tortomasi, 19.

“They don’t want to be criticized for being a feminist,” chimed in her friend, Kylie Patterson, 18.

“To just come out and say that, I feel it takes a lot of courage because they get ridiculed for it,” Tortomasi said.

“Guys our age think, ‘Ugh, she’s a feminist,’” Patterson added.

I recounted these complaints and Moretz sympathized. “You know, I go on dates with guys and a lot of them are mainly terrified of me because I have incredibly strong opinions on many things,” she said. “I have a very strong stance on certain subjects, and if I was a man no one would question it, they would say, ‘Wow he’s a go-getter.’”

“Whereas with a young woman, it’s a bit polarizing and it’s scary to see that with someone who is 5’5” with blonde hair and probably doesn’t weigh more than 115 pounds,” she said.

Moretz then took a group picture with the remaining Hillary supporters, and walked back to the coffee shop.