Scarlett Johansson on Ivanka Trump, activism and tackling sexual taboos

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Moya Crockett
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Scarlett Johansson has never been afraid to nail her colours to the mast.

The actor and activist, recently seen mocking Ivanka Trump in a Saturday Night Live sketch, is known for speaking frankly about everything from Hollywood sexism to the pressures of single motherhood and the trouble with marriage and monogamy (“It’s unnatural”). She campaigned against Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election, and is a proud advocate for Planned Parenthood – the American reproductive health organisation currently under threat from the Trump administration.

In a new interview, Johansson reveals that she hopes her two-year-old daughter Rose Dorothy Dauriac will also speak out for what she believes in when she grows up.

“Whenever you speak publicly it’s always a risk, right? Maybe you’ll lose some followers,” the 32-year-old actor tells Cosmopolitan. “But if you have something to say, it can be really impactful.

“I hope my daughter finds her voice and feels like she can engage anyone in any number of topics.”

Johansson has previously praised her own mother, Melanie Sloan, for encouraging her interest in political and social issues – suggesting that there could be three generations of activist women in the Sloan-Johansson-Dauriac family.

“She never shielded us from what was going on in the zeitgeist in culture. She always made us socially aware,” Johansson said in February. “She always encouraged us to be politically and socially active.”

Johansson has been commended for her work in aid of Planned Parenthood, and delivered a powerful speech at the Women’s March on Washington in which she praised the organisation for providing essential advice and support to millions of American women.

Since then, President Donald Trump has signed legislation aimed at cutting off federal funding to the organisation. Reports suggest that Trump’s daughter Ivanka had urged him to “tread carefully” when it came to attacking women’s reproductive rights – but if such pleas were made, it seems they fell on deaf ears.

Speaking to Cosmopolitan, Johansson – who previously mocked the ‘First Daughter’ for being “complicit” in her father’s regime – says that she hopes Ivanka will find it in herself to stand up for her beliefs.

“I’m not asking her to come out and talk about something she doesn’t believe in,” she says, adding: “It’s her father. Can you imagine?

“Hopefully, she’ll make a courageous choice and stand up for what she believes in – whatever that might happen to be.”

Overall, Johansson says that more women should be prepared to talk about the fact that they rely on Planned Parenthood for contraception and reproductive and sexual healthcare, among other services.

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be talking about our reproductive rights,” she says. “They’re something we have to fight for and continue to protect. There’s nothing icky about talking about that stuff.

“Of course, it’s private and it’s your body, but we should take the stigma away.”

Society in general has an issue with women acknowledging that they are sexually active, observes Johansson.

“When women talk about enjoying sex, it’s almost forbidden,” she says. “Just having a healthy sexual attitude, you are labelled as loose, wild, a slut… The minute you talk about enjoying yourself, being curious, that is still taboo.”

Images: Rex Features / Saturday Night Live