Blake Lively

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As Beyoncé once informed us a all, "a diva is a female version of a hustla," but it took Blake Lively quite a few years to figure that out for herself. Even when she was playing a strong minded character Gossip Girl, she was often afraid to stick up for herself during her early years out of fears of being labeled an actual "diva" behind the scenes.

"I think that sometimes you're not encouraged to stand up for yourself," Lively, 30, said. "It doesn't even mean in really dramatic ways. That just means that if you're working too many hours, or you aren't being paid what someone else at your work level is being paid, or if you're being treated differently than someone else on the crew, or whoever."

The All I See Is You star said that although she's always been "passionate" about defending others, that same passion didn't extend to defending herself while she was finding her footing in Hollywood. "I didn't feel like I could fight for myself in the same way, because I was afraid of coming across as a diva or difficult or demanding," she said. "As a woman, you're afraid of a label you may acquire by demanding fair treatment for yourself that you know that you've earned."

Now, Lively said, she wishes she could lend her younger self a dose of self-confidence. "I'd encourage myself to love myself and fight for myself, as hard as I fought for other people," she said.

Luckily, the wisdom Lively has gained over the years won't go to waste. In her September 2017 cover interview for Glamour, she explained how she and husband Ryan Reynolds are raising their two daughters, 2-year-old James and 1-year-old Ines, to be strong young women unafraid to challenge the patriarchy. "We've joked that my daughter is bossy. But my husband said, 'I don’t ever want to use that word again. You've never heard a man called bossy,'" she said. "There would never be any negative connotation for a man being a boss, so to add a negative connotation on a woman being bossy? It's belittling. And it doesn't encourage them to be a boss."

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And that's how Blake Lively went from being bullied by the patriarchy into not speaking up for herself to a feminist mother not afraid to tell her bosses that she's being treated unfairly. If that makes her a diva, so be it.

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