Sarah Jessica Parker & Feminism


Sarah Jessica Parker: "I am not a feminist."

In February, the American Library Association announced the creation of Book Club Central, an online platform of resources for book clubs and their readers. Actor Sarah Jessica Parker is partnering with the ALA to serve as the Honorary Chair of Book Club Central and will unveil her inaugural recommended title at the ALA President’s Program on Saturday, June 24, 2017, at 3:30 p.m. at McCormick Place West.

In September 2016 Parker was on the cover of the international monthly Marie Claire. Inside the issue, when asked to comment on being a feminist, Parker reiterated an assertion she’d made the year before, in Cosmo:
"I am not a feminist. I don't think I qualify. I believe in women and I believe in equality, but I think there is so much that needs to be done that I don't even want to separate it anymore. I'm so tired of separation. I just want people to be treated equally."

Here are a few open-access sources as background for Sarah Jessica Parker at ALA Annual 2017:

  • Allie Jones, Sarah Jessica Parker Struggles to Make a Coherent Argument Against Feminism, New York Magazine, August 4, 2016
    Sarah Jessica Parker does not identify as a feminist. She revealed as much last year in an interview with Cosmo, in which she explained that she is instead a “humanist.” SJP received a fair amount of backlash for the comment, but here we are a year later and she’s sticking to her guns. Unfortunately, she has not yet developed a coherent argument against the socio-political movement for gender equality.

  • Katie L Connor, People Are Still Mad at Sarah Jessica Parker for "Sex and the City 3" Rumors. Cosmopolitan, July 6, 2016
    On being a humanist and not a feminist: "As [playwright] Wendy Wasserstein would say, I'm a humanist. I'm enormously appreciative of the work that my mother's generation did. We are the beneficiaries of a lot of disappointment, heartache, discouragement, and misunderstanding. But I see a lot of people trying to sort out their roles. People of color, gays, lesbians, and transgenders who are carving out this space. I'm not spitting in the face or being lazy about what still needs to be done — but I don't think it's just women anymore. We would be so enormously powerful if it were a humanist movement."

  • Meghan Hamilton, Humanism & Feminism: Sarah Jessica Parker, You Can Have It All! The Humanist, July 13, 2015
    There seems to be a lot of confusion here, both in terms of what Parker herself meant and in the way her words are being perceived. While she’s certainly not the first famous women to ditch the label of “feminist,” given the list of issues she says are important to her (Equality in pay, paid sick leave, access to health care and child care), she still cares about the women’s movement. But the Sex and the City star also seems to think that the feminist movement doesn’t stand for the wellbeing of all people. Sadly, there are a lot of folks who have this misunderstanding of feminism. Feminism isn’t simply a bunch of women sitting around yelling about men; it’s a movement to improve the quality of life for women in society, which in turn creates a better world for everyone.

  • Mary Elizabeth Williams, It’s OK to say the F-word: Sarah Jessica Parker should read Obama’s “this is what a feminist looks like” essay, Salon, August 5, 2016
    I don’t know what these people think feminism is, if not believing in strength and equality. If the word has a negative connotation, did they ever think maybe it’s because people who are considered role models are so reluctant to say it? Fortunately, other public figures — like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page — don’t have that problem. As Emma Watson explained in her powerful 2014 speech before the United Nations, “For the record, feminism by definition is: ‘The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.'”

  • Megan Garber, Against ‘Humanism’, The Atlantic, February 13, 2016
    If transcendence is your aim—if you happen to prefer the soaring over the searing in your rhetoric and in your life—then “humanism” is an ideal term. It is soft and smooth and inviting and historically inflected and, above all, conveniently unfalsifiable. Who doesn’t believe in the value and the potential of collective humanity? Who wouldn’t be excited by all that might be achieved by, as Sarah Jessica Parker put it, “a humanist movement”? Humanism is the stuff of the Taj Mahal and Leonardo da Vinci and “one giant leap for mankind.” It is also, today, the stuff of cultural utopianism. Who wouldn’t love a world in which the seams of our great human tapestry are rendered effectively invisible?

  • Christina Cauterucci, The “Hey, What About Me?” Movement. Slate, December 22, 2015
    With no settled-upon definition of the term, why should we care what famous people have to say about feminism? Because celebrities can make a formidable impact on public discourse, and their opinions matter to people with money and power.

  • Jessica Contrera, ‘Are you a feminist?’ — the question more and more female celebrities are asked. Washington Post, September 16, 2014
    If everyone believed feminism to be just that — equality for all — celebrities’ recent answers to “Are you a feminist?” might have been different. But that’s not the reality, says Andi Zeisler, author of “Feminism and Pop Culture” and founder of progressive feminist organization Bitch Media. For many people, she says, feminism is still seen as being anti-men.