'Misbehaviour' star Keira Knightley challenges the idea that women should be 'seen and not heard'

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Keira Knightley attending the Misbehaviour World Premiere held at the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, London. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
Keira Knightley attending the Misbehaviour World Premiere held at the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, London. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)

Keira Knightley believes women are told by society that “the way they look is more important than what they have to say.” 

The actress listed modelling and sex work as the only two career paths where a “woman can earn more than a man,” as she said the occupations favour appearance over intelligence, and therefore reinforce gender stereotypes.  

Speaking about her upcoming beauty pageant film, Misbehaviour, Keira said: “I read the script and naturally totally agreed with the second-wave feminists [protesting] and yet I’ve made most of my money as a model [for Chanel]. I go on red carpets where you’re given marks out of 10, and you have cameras up and down your body. I think that’s the complexity of being a woman in the modern age.” 

READ MORE: I used to enter beauty pageants. Now I think they should be scrapped

“Still, the no.1 career – the only one - where a woman can earn more than a man is modelling. Or [sex work]. And that says everything it needs to say to young women. It’s a big indicator of the world we live in – [it tells women] the way you look is more important than what you have to say or what you think,” she adds.  

However, Keira appreciates her career as an actress, as she’s able to tell “two sides” of stories such as the one told in Misbehaviour

“It says this is f**** horrible, I’m totally against it, and this objectification is awful, and yet it will give me opportunity. I suddenly become visible in a world where I’m invisible, and that has merit and that has value, and I could still have a better life afterwards. It’s what we’re all still grappling with,” she added to Stellar magazine.

Compiled by Afika Jadezweni

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