“No matter what sex you are, or race, be a feminist” | Helen Mirren takes on Donald Trump, gender equality and how to be happy

helen mirren

Actress Helen Mirren has declared herself a feminist, while inspiring the next generation of university graduates.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony at Tulane University in New Orleans, Mirren said, “No matter what sex you are, or race, be a feminist.”

“In every country and culture that I have visited, from Sweden to Uganda, from Singapore to Mali, it is clear that when women are given respect, and the ability and freedom to pursue their personal dreams and ambitions, life improves for everyone.”

“I didn’t define myself as a feminist until quite recently, but I had always lived like a feminist and believed in the obvious; that women were as capable and as energetic and as inspiring as men.”

“But to join a movement called feminism seemed too didactic, too political.”

“However, I have come to understand that feminism is not an abstract idea but a necessity if we – and really by ‘we’, I mean you guys – are to move us forward and not backward into ignorance and fearful jealousy.”

“So now, I am a declared feminist and I would encourage you to be the same.”

Mirren went on to give her five key ideas to happiness which include, “don’t be in a rush to get married”, “treat people just like people”, “ignore anyone who judges the way you look”, “don’t be afraid of fear” and “don’t overcomplicate things.”

However, Mirren’s speech wasn’t all serious – she included some risqué jokes and subtle digs at US President Donald Trump. Referencing Trump’s late-night tweets, Mirren said, “Whether you’re in the French Quarter or the Oval Office, no good can ever come from tweeting at 3am.”

You can watch the full speech below:

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.
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