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Kirsten Dunst sparks debate over support for traditional gender roles

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Actress Kirsten Dunst poses on the red carpet as she arrives for the screening of the film "Inside Llewyn Davis" in competition during the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 19, 2013. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier (FRANCE - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT) - RTXZT57

While most of Hollywood’s leading ladies share their feminist values of empowerment and independence, Kirsten Dunst seems to have a more traditional perspective when it comes to gender roles.

“I feel like the feminine has been a little undervalued… We all have to get our own jobs and make our own money, but staying at home, nurturing, being the mother, cooking – it’s a valuable thing my mum created,” Dunst told this month’s edition of Harper’s Bazaar in the U.K.

“And sometimes, you need your knight in shining armor. I’m sorry. You need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman. That’s why relationships work…"

Wait. Stay at home and cook for the kids? Cue the feminist backlash.

“Kirsten Dunst has continued to be somewhat of an insufferable person, as evidenced by this interview she recently gave in which she has some very important opinions on gender roles,” Stacey Ritzen wrote on the pop culture website Uproxx in an article titled “Kirsten Dunst Thinks That Women Should Know Their Place Is In The Home.”

And Erin Gloria Ryan, writing for the feminist website Jezebel in a piece titled “Kirsten Dunst Thinks Ladies In Relationships Should Wife the F**k Out,” referred to Dunst as an “actress and blonde who looks good in clothes and has a new movie coming out soon,” and who has “some thoughts on how women best act in relationships.”

“Kirsten Dunst is not paid to write gender theory so it shouldn't surprise anyone that she's kind of dumb about it,” Ryan wrote.

The 31-year-old Dunst’s words have also generated some heated emotions in the Twitterverse.

“She should just keep quiet. I wasn’t aware Kirsten Dunst could be more unlikable,” wrote one. Another tweeted: “no, just no” in response to the interview, and another observed that the “Spider-Man” star can be added to “the list of famous women who should never be allowed to talk near young girls. Ever.”

But while many clearly disagree with Dunst, others say the reformed Hollywood party girl may actually be onto something.

“Feminists claim to be pro-woman, but they only support ‘correct’ choices and decisions. But Kirsten’s views are timeless,” Katie Yoder of the socially conservative Media Research Center told FOX411. “Femininity has lost its meaning. Our culture and media teach women that success means running after careers and money. Instead, a pro-woman society should emphasize a woman’s importance and worth, no matter her decision in how to live out her life.”

But writer and author Ariane Sommer says the model of staying at home to cook and mother – while admirable for some – is far from ideal or financially practical for many Americans.

“People nowadays have to make a living and simply can't afford the luxury of spending the entire day at home. There needs to be a modern approach to gender roles that is rooted in the reality of our day to day lives. Being open towards being what is considered feminine at times: Yes! But regressing to a 1950s archetype of womanhood: Hell no,” she said via email. “Women have fought too hard and too long for the liberties we are able to enjoy now and there still is a lot of work that needs to get done towards gender equality. Note: Equal does not mean same, the little differences are meant to be enjoyed.”

And Dunst, who is dating actor Garrett Hedlund, still has some big career plans, despite her thoughts about traditional female duties. Asked if she’d like to direct a film, she told Harper’s Bazaar:

"I would love [to]. I love getting immersed in things and being busy all the time. But, I’m not interested in directing right now. Maybe in three years. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have children then. I probably will – one day – want to try it.”

Follow @holliesmckay on Twitter

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