Angelina Jolie reflected on women's rights and societal expectations in the September issue of Elle. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Angelina Jolie sends love to "wicked women," or women breaking rules and pushing boundaries, in a new essay.
The 44-year-old actress reflected on women's rights and societal expectations in an essay for the September issue of Elle published Monday.
Jolie began by asking the question, "What is it about the power of a woman free in mind and body that has been perceived as so dangerous throughout history." She recounted how accusations of witchcraft have ben used "to control and silence women" in many societies throughout the centuries.
"Women could be accused of witchcraft for having in an independent sex life, for speaking their mind on politics and religion, or for dressing differently. Had I lived in earlier times, I could have been burnt at the stake many times over for simply being myself."
"Since time immemorial, women who rebel against what is considered normal by society -- even unintentionally -- have been labeled as unnatural, weird, wicked, and dangerous. What is surprising is the extent to which this kind of myth and prejudice has persisted throughout the centuries and still colors the world we live in,"
Jolie discussed how modern women across the globe are considered "wicked" for such behaviors as dancing or singing in public, running for political office, or fighting for human rights. These women are sometimes met with violence, imprisonment or social ostracism.
"Female human rights defenders across the world are incarcerated for their political views or for defending themselves or others, with courage I can hardly imagine. For all our modern advances, the independence and creative energy of women is still frequently seen as a dangerous force to be controlled, often in the name of religion, tradition, or culture," Jolie wrote.
"Looked at in this light, 'wicked women' are just women who are tired of injustice and abuse," she said. "Women who refuse to follow rules and codes they don't believe are best for themselves or their families. Women who won't give up on their voice and rights, even at the risk of death or imprisonment or rejection by their families and communities."
"If that is wickedness, then the world needs more wicked women," the star declared.
Jolie is parent to six children -- daughters Zahara, Shiloh and Vivienne, and sons Pax, Maddox and Knox -- with her ex-husband, actor Brad Pitt. She said she encourages her sons to respect women and her daughters to develop their minds.
"You can always put on a pretty dress, but it doesn't matter what you wear on the outside if your mind isn't strong," Jolie said. "There is nothing more attractive -- you might even say enchanting -- than a woman with an independent will and her own opinions."
"With love to all the wicked women, and the men who understand them," she concluded.
Jolie will next star in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which opens in theaters Oct. 18. The film follows Maleficent, portrayed as the villain in Sleeping Beauty, and the Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), and released a new trailer in July.