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“You don’t say it to men”: Why Carey Mulligan hates the phrase ‘strong woman’

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Harriet Hall
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Carey Mulligan has spoken out about her feminist beliefs, saying it’s time we all stopped talking about “strong women”.

The actor made the comments in the November issue of Elle magazine, in which she opens up about her opinions, the attitudes towards women in Hollywood and the next stage of her life.

Mulligan, 30, has previously spoken out about the “hugely frustrating” lack of decent roles for women in film, and is now directing her frustration at society’s approach to female characters.

“You don’t say to men: 'You played another really strong man.' The idea that women are inherently weak - and we’ve identified the few strong ones to tell stories about - is mad,” she says.

The award-winning actor stars in the upcoming British historical drama, Suffragette, about the fight of British women to secure the vote in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the film, Mulligan plays laundry worker, Maud, who is enticed by the Suffragette movement, to join in the fight for gender equality.

Carey Mulligan as Maud in Suffragette

Carey Mulligan as Maud in Suffragette

Mulligan has made her name playing outspoken female characters including the headstrong Bathsheba Everdene in the recent adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, and Daisy Buchannan in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

In the interview, Mulligan spoke about her attitude toward other elements of feminism, including body shaming, which the star describes as “horrible.”

“We live in such a horrible culture of body shaming and obsession with celebrities’ bodies – this idea of idealising people’s bodies and then crushing them the minute they’re’ not completely perfect.”

Matthias Schoenaerts and Carey Mulligan in Far From the Madding Crowd

Matthias Schoenaerts and Carey Mulligan in Far From the Madding Crowd

“I feel really lucky to be able to be a bit older and have a bit of perspective and see it for what it is – which is mindless nonsense,” she says.

The Inside Llewelyn Davis star also revealed her egalitarian approach to feminism, saying:

"Someone asked me yesterday, 'Do you think it would be a better world if it were run by women?'"

"And the answer is no. I think it would be a better world if it were run equally. We're still so far from that," she says.

Rumours have abounded that Mulligan is expecting her first child with husband, Marcus Mumford, and the actor even hinted at the news herself, saying:

"I've always wanted to be a mother. I love what I do, but I'm excited for this next phase of my life."

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Harriet Hall

Harriet Hall is a former Stylist contributor.

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