Leighton Meester Sounds Off On Feminism

Leighton Meester
Leighton Meester

While many of today's female stars shy away from the idea of feminism, Leighton Meester is openly embracing it.

The former Gossip Girl star revealed earlier this year that her role model was American writer Betty Friedan, who helped spark the beginning of a second wave of feminism with The Feminine Mystique (1963).

And now, Meester is questioning the role of "Curley's wife" in 'Mice and Men', the Broadway play she currently stars in.

The actress says she struggled with the character: as the only female, she's openly shunned by the other characters, but the play's author, Steinbeck, offers no real reason as to why.

The audience, too, seems to feel animosity toward the woman who becomes a victim of assault.

"The insults are thrown at Curley's wife: bitch, tramp, tart," Meester writes. "The further along in the production we go, the more I realize that the audience agrees. In rooting for our heroes - the everyman protagonists who scorn and demean the only woman - the audience finds themselves unquestioningly hating her, too. But why?"

Meester also adds that each time she steps onstage, she's perturbed by the audience's reaction to her character's death.

"Each time I'm faced with an audience who laughs or sneers, I'm struck with the loneliness that I can only imagine a woman like Curley's wife must feel - the desperation for conversation, respect, and above all, dignity. Each time, I'm caught off-guard when I lose it."

Meester says the play blatantly ignores the sexist undertones that plague the book, which is widely taught in American schools.

"Without question, (Mice And Men) was a commentary on the social climate at the time, which still surprisingly applies today," writes Meester. "But if sexism is one of the featured themes, why not say it?"

Perhaps it's time to crack open a copy of Mice And Men again.

11 celebrities who use their star status for good

Beyonce: "Gender equality is a myth"

How well are women really treated in Australia?