At just 21, Zendaya has established herself as a vocal activist for equality and feminism. And, amidst a public discussion focused on the overwhelming mistreatment and silencing of women by men in power, the actress maintains that now it's more important than ever for women to speak up, no matter how discouraged they feel.
"Women are so powerful," she told ELLE.com at Forevermark Tribute Collection launch event in New York City, Tuesday night. "We're such amazing people and creations, and I think that we're so much more powerful together as well when we look out for each other, when we uplift each other, when we protect each other. And that means all types of women."
"I think that it's important that we right now especially not be afraid or feared into silence because we need each other, and we need each other's voice now more than ever," she continued. "Now is the best time I think to speak up, especially for our fellow women who may not have a voice or whose voice may be a little more silenced. It's time to also use our platforms for each other."
As for men, Zendaya believes it's important that they not just sit back; that they be active advocates. "Men are a huge part of that movement [to support women]," she said. "It's important for men to step up to the plate and do a little bit of work too. I think all the help we can get is important. Women are very, very strong and powerful, but it's also up to men to be accountable and also to push forward the things that we need as well."
Zendaya herself has her limits on how much news she can emotionally take. But when she hits her max, she knows how to reset. "Sometimes you just need to do a social media cleanse," she said. "Just put everything down, whether it be for a day. If you can only handle a few hours, whatever it is, but just give yourself some time to reflect on your own self and who you are for just a moment."
"Collect your thoughts and then go back, you know, because it can be a lot," she said. "Every day it feels like there's something new that we're being hit with or there's something new that we need to fix or we are hurting with, and it's hard and it's scary, but I think that it's important we take it one step at a time and never be afraid. Never be afraid to do something about it."
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