Rowan Blanchard's Catcalling Experience Brought Her To Feminism

Photo: Katie Jones/WWD/REX/Shutterstock.
A form of harassment, that unfortunately, all too many women face, led 14-year-old Rowan Blanchard to start speaking up about feminism. While talking with Interview, the Girl Meets World star explained how a catcalling incident when she was 12 raised her consciousness.

She and her friend were waiting to get picked up outside from a movie, when a man asked them, "You guys need a ride anywhere?" That comment was a turning point for Blanchard. "And I just remember sitting there feeling my heart sink into my stomach. It was such a surreal moment," she said. "Because I always see that happening in front of me; I always see girls getting catcalled. But up until that point, I hadn't experienced it. And it was like I was out-of-body for a second. I had seen that in movies, on TV, on the news. But when it happens to you, it's like, 'Oh, crap, this is real; people look at me this way. And people look at other girls this way.' I went home that night and didn't tell anybody. I didn't tell my parents because I was ashamed that it was what I was wearing." Blanchard and her friend were simply wearing skirts.

Blanchard began to take notice of rampant discrimination against women. "Then, once it happens to you, you see it everywhere," she said. "When you're watching your favorite TV show, you see a joke that maybe would have gone over your head a month ago. You can't escape it. There's really nothing you can do except endure it and try and speak out about it. So that's what I tried to do." Understanding her ability to reach girls as the star of a Disney Channel show, Blanchard began to spread her message of all-inclusive, intersectional feminism.

And, yeah, she's still not a fan of "squadgoals," elaborating on her discomfort with the concept in the interview. Blanchard said: "Because of this whole image of perfection in friends groups, I was really scared that other girls hated me, that I wasn't pretty enough or cool enough or I didn't have enough Instagram followers or whatever. But finding female friendship was such a monumental point in my life. And I never want somebody to feel like they have to re-evaluate themselves to join my friends or to join any friend-group." Recently, actress Chloë Moretz also came out against "squads," calling them "cliques."
Blanchard is not the only young activist and star on Interview's "New Progressives" cover, which also features (among others) Amandla Stenberg and Hari Nef. On Instagram, Nef wrote: "i can't believe i'm on the cover of @interviewmag with my cute hot smart queer feminist gender non-conforming family." Now that's a group anyone can support.
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