I think it’s time to actually define “feminism,” to reiterate exactly what “feminism” is. Because, to be honest, some of us don’t know.
Many of those people, including Shailene Woodley and, most recently, Pharrell, refuse to affix the “feminist” label to their lapel. But what I’m thinking is that they’re feminists in disguise. After all, a feminist is just someone who believes that women should have the same opportunities as men.
“I don’t think it’s possible for me to be that,” Pharrell said when asked if he was a feminist in a U.K. TV interview on Wednesday. “I’m a man. It makes sense up until a certain point. But what I do is, I do support feminists.”
But if you support feminists and what they believe in, aren’t you a feminist yourself? Pharrell then went on to say very feminist things about women in leadership and the way society physically upholds women.
“I would love to see a woman run the country,” he said. “Historically, this world has been run by man. And what would a world be like if 75 percent our world leaders, our presidents and prime ministers, were female? What would that world be like? We don’t know, because we haven’t given it a shot. We’re too busy telling them what they can and can’t do with their bodies. Or, we’re too busy, you know, not allowing them to make the same amount of money that a man makes.”
See? I think Pharrell might be confused.
The thing is, you don’t have to be a woman to be a feminist. You don’t have to be militant. You can still shave your legs. All there is to it is believing in equal treatment between sexes.
John Legend has said that “all men should be feminists.” Here are 15 other celebrities who have declared themselves one. And it’s about time you realized that you’re a feminist too.
Dunham, who has a show (appropriately) called “Girls,” told Metro U.K. that she was tired of people not owning up to the movement. I can’t help but agree with her.
“Women saying ‘I’m not a feminist’ is my greatest pet peeve. Do you believe that women should be paid the same for doing the same jobs? Do you believe that women should be allowed to leave the house? Do you think that women and men both deserve equal rights? Great, then you’re a feminist. People think there is something taboo about speaking up for feminism.”
Similarly, comedian Amy Poehler, who projects positive female friendships on her show “Parks and Recreation” and holds a Smart Girls camp for young girls, told Elle that she doesn’t understand the not-a-feminist trend.
“I think some big actors and musicians feel like they have to speak to their audience and that word is confusing to their audience. But I don’t get it. That’s like someone being like, ‘I don’t really believe in cars, but I drive one every day and I love that it gets me places and makes life so much easier and faster and I don’t know what I would do without it.’ ”
Actor Danes is right there with Dunham, telling Glamour proudly that she’s a feminist.
“I am a feminist. And I’m so glad that Lena Dunham exists, because she is one too, and she’s quite vocal about it. Yes, women have more freedom and more influence than ever, but it’s hardly equal. It’s just not. It’s really f–king crazy. I’m sorry I’m cursing. But it’s wild that women are underrepresented [in Hollywood]. I have real anxiety about directing, and that’s something to question and challenge and correct.”
Actress Ellen Page has been outspoken about the representation of women in Hollywood, and she, too, thinks feminism should be a movement that everyone is a part of. Talking to the Guardian:
“I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists … but how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word? … Feminism always gets associated with being a radical movement — good. It should be. A lot of what the radical feminists [in the 1970s] were saying, I don’t disagree with it.”
Bey wrote an entire essay on gender equality after the Shriver Report found that 42 million women in the United States are either living in poverty or are on the brink of living in poverty.
“Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”
The Punk Singer herself has based her career on standing up against the status quo. And although some people don’t like to call themselves feminists, she believes some of them really are — like Taylor Swift.
“I’ve called her a feminist,” she told Rolling Stone. “I don’t think she calls herself that, which is totally fine, but she writes her own songs, and she’s a young girl that’s singing to other young girls. That’s awesome. What’s wrong with that?”
In the same article, Hanna also said poverty is the biggest challenge for women right now.
“Because if you’re just trying to put food on the table, you’re not part of the conversation. Everybody else is making decisions for you. And in terms of the feminist movement, if we don’t hear from a huge, huge, huge segment of the population, and they aren’t involved in creating the feminist movement, then the feminist movement dies.”
Actor Patrick Stewart says men can be just as involved as women in ensuring equality. He focuses on domestic violence.
“The truth is that domestic violence and violence against women touch many of us. This violence is not a private matter. Behind closed doors it is shielded and hidden and it only intensifies. It is protected by silence — everyone’s silence. Violence against women is learned. Each of us must examine — and change — the ways in which our own behavior might contribute to, enable, ignore or excuse all such forms of violence. I promise to do so, and to invite other men and allies to do the same.”
Gordon-Levitt learned gender equality at a young age. When Ellen DeGeneres asked him if he was a feminist, he said, “I do call myself a feminist. Absolutely!”
“We would always watch Lakers games as a family, but my mom would always point out every time the cheerleaders came on, ‘OK, so look, here’s the story that gets told: The men get to be the heroic skilled athletes and the women just get to be pretty. She wanted me and my brother to be aware of it because we see these images on TV, in the movies, and in magazines all the time. And if you don’t stop and think about it, it just sort of seeps into your brain and that becomes the way you perceive reality.”
After getting frustrated with unfair media attention and sexist advances on tour, the indie pop musician wrote a Tumblr post that pointed out the way she was being portrayed as a female artist, declaring that it was unfair the way writers described her as “cute” or “waif.” Among Grimes’ gripes:
“i dont want to be infantilized because i refuse to be sexualized
“i dont want to be molested at shows or on the street by people who perceive me as an object that exists for their personal satisfaction
“i dont want to live in a world where im gonna have to start employing body guards because this kind of behavior is so commonplace and accepted …
“I’m tired of men who aren’t professional or even accomplished musicians continually offering to ‘help me out’ (without being asked), as if i did this by accident and i’m gonna flounder without them. … I have never seen this kind of thing happen to any of my male peers.”
While raising money for Chime for Change, a charity that raises funds to improve the lives of women worldwide, the singer declared that all men should be feminists.
“All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights, the world will be a better place. We are better off when women are empowered — it leads to a better society.”
On a press run for the movie “No Strings Attached,” Kutcher emphasized the difference in how sexuality is played out for men and women.
“I think there’s so much that’s not said about sex in our country, even from an educational level … the one thing they teach about is how to get pregnant or how to not get pregnant, but they don’t really talk about sex as a point of pleasure for women. … Part of that creates a place where women aren’t empowered around their own sexuality and their own sexual selves, and from a purely entertainment point of view, to create a movie with a female lead that’s empowered with her own sexuality is a powerful thing.”
Miley talked with Elle about the inequalities she experiences as a sexually overt performer:
Tavi Gevinson for Elle: I read that you consider yourself a feminist. What does that mean to you?
MC: I’m just about equality, period. It’s not like, I’m a woman, women should be in charge! I just want there to be equality for everybody.
TG: Right! And that’s what feminism is.
MC: I still don’t think we’re there 100 percent. I mean, guy rappers grab their crotch all f–king day and have hos around them, but no one talks about it. But if I grab my crotch and I have hot model bitches around me, I’m degrading women? I’m a woman—I should be able to have girls around me! But I’m part of the evolution of that. I hope.
At at an Equality Now dinner, filmmaker Joss Whedon discussed the meaning of the word “feminism” and put it simply (within a 14-minute speech): “You either believe that women are people or you don’t.”
“If you’re someone who genuinely believes that women don’t deserve or aren’t as much as men, you’re like the plague. On the big history chart, you’re the plague. … It’s just pointless and deadly.”
Musician Kate Nash worked with girls in an after-school program to show them they could be successful in music. Empowerment has been a theme in her music with songs like “Under-estimate The Girl” and “Free My Pu–y.” She once wrote:
“FEMINISM is not a dirty word. It does not mean you hate men, it does not mean you hate girls that have nice legs and a tan, and it does not mean you are a ‘bitch’ or ‘d-ke’, it means you believe in equality.”
Actor Emma Watson explained the connection between feminism and romance to Vogue, saying that because the movement is becoming stronger, society has to redefine romance as well.
“I’m a feminist, but I think that romance has been taken away a bit for my generation. I think what people connect with in novels is this idea of an overpowering, encompassing love — and it being more important and special than anything and everything else. I would love to not date someone in the same industry as me. Otherwise it becomes what it means to everyone else.”
Actor Hoffman became a feminist when he began the movie “Tootsie,” where he dresses in drag. You need to watch him talk about being “brainwashed” into judging women on their looks instead of character.