Feminism is no stranger to the celebrities of today. It seems like every red carpet interviewer wants to know your favorite celebrity's take on the matter. Whether your favorite celebrity actually speaks out on the matter, though, is a completely different story. Plenty of celebrities seem to think that feminism is a bad word, and keep mum when asked about it. There are, however, plenty of celebrities who are flat out feminists. Can I get a hallelujah?
Rather than keeping their ideals to themselves, they shout 'em loud and proud. And when it comes to feminism, it's important. Because so much of society seems to think feminism is man-hating, or a secret plot to take over the world, it's paramount to the movement to have people in the spotlight saying that yes, they are feminists, and no, feminism is not a scary concept. Feminism? It's equality. That's all it is! You'd think with the definition spelled out in a hit song from Queen Bey that everyone would be on board with the idea by now. But there are still people, even celebrities, who are lagging behind on the times, preferring to hang out on their decrepit patriarchal train of inequality.
Thankfully, the following celebrities are happy to confirm that they're feminists, which is helping move everyone in the right direction.
In 2014, Poehler voiced her concerns over non-feminists to Elle. “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.’” Poehler has a whole world of rockin' feminist ideas under her belt, including her Smart Girls project, and all the wonderful female friendship storylines that pass the Bechdel Test over the year.
Queen Bey wrote an entire essay on gender equality. “Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal?" Knowles-Carter wrote. "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." Who run the world? Feminists.
In 2015, Stenberg was named feminist celebrity of the year by the Ms. Foundation for Women. Stenberg continues to exceed expectations, and has become a voice for her generation. Not too shabby for a 17-year-old, huh?
“As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities," Swift said in an interview with The Guardian. She credits her friendship with Lena Dunham as the reason why she now understands, identifies with, and supports feminism.
“Women saying ‘I’m not a feminist’ is my greatest pet peeve," Dunham told Metro UK. "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." She went on to say that people think there's something taboo about speaking up for feminism.
Danes is another celebrity on the "bless Lena Dunham" train. She spoke to Glamour, saying how glad she was that Dunham exists. “I am a feminist," said Danes. "Yes, women have more freedom and more influence than ever, but it’s hardly equal. It’s just not." Danes thinks it's just wild how underrepresented women are in Hollywood, and wants to help change that.
“I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists," Page said to The Guardian. "But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?" Page believes that feminism is a movement that everyone talks about, that everyone is a part of.
“When you have a little girl, it's like, how can you teach her that you're in control of her body?" Smith opened up to Parade in 2012. "She has got to have command of her body so when she goes out into the world, she's going out with a command that is hers." He spoke on the importance of letting Willow do what she wanted to do as a child, especially with her hair. I love a dad who supports his child's right to express themselves the way they want to, especially when it comes to beauty and body image.
"I’d absolutely call myself a feminist," Gordon-Levitt told The Daily Beast 2014. "And if you look at history, women are an oppressed category of people. There’s a long, long history of women suffering abuse, injustice, and not having the same opportunities as men, and I think that’s been very detrimental to the human race as a whole. I’m a believer that if everyone has a fair chance to be what they want to be and do what they want to do, it’s better for everyone. It benefits society as a whole." As if he could get any dreamier.
If you didn't love John Legend enough already, read what he said while fundraising for Chime for Change, a charity that raises funds to improve the lives of women worldwide. “All men should be feminists.," Legend said. "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." We couldn't agree more, John.
At at an Equality Now dinner, filmmaker Joss Whedon discussed the meaning of the word feminism. “You either believe that women are people or you don’t,” Whedon said in his speech. “If you’re someone who genuinely believes that women don’t deserve or aren’t as much as men, you’re like the plague." Couldn't agree more, man. Couldn't agree more.
“I’ve been a card-carrying, radical feminist since I was 19,” Thompson told Vulture in 2015. Most women who I would want to listen to wouldn’t have any problem at all with the word feminist. It’s bizarre. Any woman who says they’re not a feminist is basically saying that they don’t believe in equal rights for women.” Thompson goes on to talk about how the messages society sends women these days are completely misogynistic, and that everyone, including herself, needs to watch what they say and do to help combat the notion that women are somehow less than men.
After a stunning performance in Sicario last year, Blunt was inundated with questions about "strong female characters," and got sick of it. "My issue is that men are never told: 'Oh, you’re so strong in that movie.'" Blunt told The Guardian. "I guess the embodiment of strength is seen as someone who can take a hit and be tough with men, and I don’t think that should be part of the discussion as much." Blunt went on to say that it shouldn't be an anomaly to see female characters like Kate Macer on screen.
While discussing the shocking lack of female directors in Hollywood, Ruffalo took the time to clear the air. "I'm a feminist, by the way," Ruffalo told the Huffington Post in 2015. "I didn't know there were any [non-feminists] left in the world. I thought we pretty much came to the 50-50, like [feminism]-is-cool conclusion." Don't you love when a male celeb steps forward to support and identify with the feminist movement?
"I've been a feminist my whole life," Ansari said in an interview with The Guardian. "It's interesting, you see interviews with female celebrities and they're very scared of that word. It's such an easy concept to get behind and a big part of it is that people don't really know what it's essentially promoting." Ansari even devoted an episode of his Netflix series Master of None to the issue.
Even when her interviewer didn't breach the subject, Adele brought it up herself in her interview with Rolling Stone in 2015. "Will you ask me if I'm a feminist? I don't think many men in interviews get asked if they're feminist," she said. "I'm a feminist," she told the magazine, apparently while sipping wine. “I believe that everyone should be treated the same, including race and sexuality." Just one more reason I want to be best friends with Adele.
Although Deschanel has been the source of the occasional feminist controversy in the past, she in no way shied away from the topic in her interview with Glamour in 2013. "I’m just being myself. There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say," she told the magazine. "We can't be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f**king feminist and wear a f**king Peter Pan collar. So f**king what?" You keep wearing your polka dots and Peter Pan collars and pushing the feminist agenda on prime time television, Zooey. And I'll keep supporting it.