Dakota Fanning Says Movie Roles Should Empower Women

By: Pam Wright - May 31, 2014

Dakota Fanning is standing up for strong, independent women.

She recently spoke to The Daily Beast about her new movie Night Moves, and shared her views on women and women’s roles in Hollywood.

The former child star takes her women’s studies degree very seriously, advocating “the portrayal of women in film and culture.”

“It’s something I’ve studied and thought about a lot,” she said. “It’s rare to see women in a film who are not somehow validated by a male, or discusses a male, or heartbroken by a male, or end up being happy because of a male. It’s interesting to think about, and it’s very true.

“Of course men are part of women’s lives, and that’s fine. But it’s important to see strong, independent women who are making their own choices and aren’t completely at the mercy of men. It shouldn’t be, ‘Oh, does this guy love me?’ It should be, ‘Do I love the guy?’

“It’s about both genders being equal,” she says. “There’s a history where when women get to a certain age in this industry, the roles become strictly the mother, the wife, or the older single woman. There should be more of a variety because there are so many different paths that humans take and they should be given a platform to be seen.”

Another topic that Fanning is passionate about is the environment.

In her upcoming movie, Fanning stars as the character Dena — a wealthy young woman who becomes a little extreme in her environmental stance by funding a plot to blow up a hydroelectric dam. Ex-military member Harmon, played by Peter Sarsgaard, and radical Josh Stamos, played by Jesse Eisenberg, join her in the plan. When the plan doesn’t go as expected, the team faces unexpected challenges.

“For Kelly’s sake, she would want me to say that they’re not ‘ecoterrorists,'” said Fanning. “[Dena] doesn’t know what an ‘ecoterrorist’ is.

“The things that people do for causes result in very small changes and sometimes you never even see any results. So for these people, they need something that’s immediate that they can see.”

Fanning was attracted to the film because preserving the planet is very important to the young actress.

“We can’t continue to take from our planet the way we do and not give anything back,” she said. “The idea of, ‘Oh, but it’s fine, I won’t have to deal with it in my lifetime,’ well, you need to think about the future generations who will havassertse to deal with it.”

Night Moves opened in select U.S. theaters Friday.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

About the Author

Pam WrightPam Wright is a multimedia journalist for a Kentucky newspaper and WebProNews contract writer. She is Mom to five and Grams to two (and a half). She loves God, her family, photography, traveling, singing, running and scuba diving. Follow Pam on Twitter @pamwrightAMNews and on Facebook @pam.wright.90281943 and at

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  • Mel_M

    I agree with Dakota about real life. I like movies with strong women, but It would be a big mistake to think all movie roles should fit this ideology (hope she doesn’t think it). Putting a pathologically weak female persona on the screen could surely be fascinating too. Dakota has been very good about putting varied personas on the screen; I will certainly be disappointed if she heads towards a trademark film persona that’s repeated over and over again. (IMO, she made it clear years ago that she doesn’t want that.)

    I think Dakota can reach the level of Jodie Foster in The Accused, Natalie Portman in Black Swan, and the extraordinary performance of Charlize Theron in Monster. I’m basing this on what she did in the underrated movie Hounddog as Lewellen–still my favorite of all her performances. It’s amazing that she did that at only 12 1/2. (I wish I could have been there when she had to inform some people that “…it’s called acting.” )

    Best wishes to Dakota!

    BTW, I’m going nuts waiting for Effie that she filmed back in the fall of 2011. :-(