If you want to see a good example of why more and more sensible women—especially in the “millennial” generation—no longer identify themselves as feminists, look no further than the website refinery29.com (that’s okay—I never heard of it either, but it’s a slick-looking women’s-oriented site that ironically, as we shall see, offers up many of the usual fashion and beauty tips—especially shoes). Today refinery29 offers up a bitter complaint that Caley Cuoco-Sweeting—you know her as “Penny” on “The Big Bang Theory”—isn’t a feminist! Quick—break out the smelling salts!
It seems Cuoco-Sweeting (she took a hyphenated name when she married) gave an interview to Redbook in which she failed to embrace The Orthodoxy:
But, Cuoco-Sweeting’s response to the ol’ “Are you a feminist?” question only adds more fuel for speculation.
“Is it bad if I say no? It’s not really something I think about,” Cuoco-Sweeting told Redbook. “Things are different now, and I know a lot of the work that paved the way for women happened before I was around…I was never that feminist girl demanding equality, but maybe that’s because I’ve never really faced inequality.”
This is where Refinery29 writer Lauren DeVine gets a case of the vapors. Did you know that the character “Penny” on “The Big Bang Theory” doesn’t have a last name? True, Cuoco-Sweeting gets paid $1 million per episode, but the lack of a last name for her character shows how far the oppressive patriarchy will go!
You don’t have to face inequality personally to understand that it exists, and you don’t have to ignore it because it doesn’t apply to you in your present situation. Being a feminist isn’t just about individual experience, it’s about seeing injustices that other women face and recognizing that they occur because of gender. Cuoco-Sweeting’s decision not to label herself a feminist is her choice, but her rationale is worrisome and her viewpoint both myopic and somewhat self-centered.
Cuoco-Sweeting may not realize that she has, in fact, been the victim of gender inequality — she just hasn’t chosen to identify it as such. . .
Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting is obviously entitled to her own point of view. [Gee: nice of DeVine to acknowledge that.] Her decision to hyphenate her last name shows she has a certain ownership of her identity, and consciously chose how she wanted it to evolve after marriage. She’s fortunate enough to be in an empowered position that affords her the ability to make such decisions. Unfortunately, not all women have that privilege. The example closest to home? Her character Penny, who doesn’t even have a last name to hyphenate. . .
Actually, the Redbook interview with Cuoco-Sweeting is pretty good as these things go. She cooks for her husband as often as possible, approves of breast implants, and to young women whose revealing photos get passed around the Internet, her no-nonsense advice is: “Get a Polaroid.” No wonder the Fainting Feminist Brigade hates her.