First, let’s get this out of the way: Feminism is defined as “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” Feminism is not "man-hating." For decades, the image of feminists as angry, picket-wielding radicals who believe women should be in power instead of men has been etched in people’s minds, and that is simply not what the term means.
We’re thankful to have celebrities who bring to light what the cause actually means, like comediennes Amy Poehler and Tina Fey who encourage women to be free to be themselves and pop stars Beyonce and Nicki Minaj who dish out a bolder, more bootylicious brand of feminism. In recent years, younger celebs have begun getting on board by speaking up against sexism or proudly proclaiming themselves as feminists, serving as role models for even more generations of young women.
It’s a good time to be alive, girls.
As Women’s Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations, Emma delivered a powerful, moving speech September of last year that launched the HeForShe campaign, a movement for gender equality which calls upon men to help in ending the inequalities faced by women all over the world. She said in her now-famous UN speech, “Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too.”
In October this year, J-Law penned an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter newsletter, where she spoke on the subject of the significant pay gap between her and her male co-stars in the movie American Hustle—a fact that was made public during the Sony email hack. She wrote, “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! Fuck that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard.”
Tay-Tay spoke to The Guardian about her feminist awakening in 2014: “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. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men… For so long it's been made to seem like something where you'd picket against the opposite sex, whereas it's not about that at all.”
During an appearance on Australia’s Jules, Merrick & Sophie radio show that same year, Tay called out the double standard implicit in the way people over-analyzed her songs about ex-boyfriends. She said, “You’re gonna have people who are gonna say, ‘Oh you know, like she just writes songs about her ex-boyfriends,’ and I think, frankly, that’s just a very sexist angle to take. No one says that about Ed Sheeran. No one says that about Bruno Mars. They're all writing songs about their exes, their current girlfriends, their love life, and no one raises a red flag there.”
The outspoken celeb is a card-carrying feminist. She told Cosmo UK in 2013, “I’m a feminist in the way that I’m really empowering to women. I’m loud and funny and not typically beautiful.” That same year, she told BBC's Newsbeat, “I feel like I'm one of the biggest feminists in the world, because I tell women to not be scared of anything.” In 2014, she told Elle, “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.” And this year, she told Marie Claire, "There is so much sexism, ageism, you name it. Kendrick Lamar sings about LSD and he's cool. I do it and I'm a druggie whore.”
In a recent interview with the DJs of LA’s Power 106 radio station, Ari was asked, “If you could use makeup or your phone one last time, which one would you pick?” To which our girl retorted, “Is this what you think girls have trouble choosing between?” Later in the same interview, she says, “I have a long list of things I'd like to change. I think just sort of judgment in general. Like, intolerance and meanness and double standards, misogny, racism, sexism.”
In a 2012 interview with Teen Vogue, which she jointly did with The Amazing Spider-Man co-star Andrew Garfield, Emma had this to say about questions from the media: “They ask who is my style icon, what's the one thing that I can't leave my house without.” When Andrew commented, “I don't get asked that,” Emma replied, “You get asked interesting, poignant questions because you are a boy.” Then, pointing to Andrew, “I get asked about relationships and stuff a hell of a lot more than this one does.”
In an interview with Rookie in 2014, the Grammy winner said, “I think I'm speaking for a bunch of girls when I say that the idea of feminism is completely natural and shouldn't even be something that people find mildly surprising. It's just a part of being a girl in 2013.”
In the December 2015 issue of Flare, Zendaya gives her definition of “feminism”: “A feminist is a person who believes in the power of women just as much as they believe in the power of anyone else. It’s equality, it’s fairness, and I think it’s a great thing to be a part of.”
Z has also called out sexist trolls on social media who criticize women’s looks when they go without makeup. In this Instagram video—where she’s totally makeup-free, BTW—she says, “Not trying to have a preach moment, but it should not be a phenomenon if a girl decides to, or not to, wear makeup. If you want to beat that face down, then beat it down. If you want to go natural, then go natural. Do you, booboo. Be happy.”
Talking to ET Canada in 2014, Demi defended her pal Tay-Tay after the latter had spoken up about the sexist dissections of her songs. “Don't f*ck with me if you're going to say women suck,” she said. The singer, who has publicly spoken up about her struggles with drug addiction and body image, also said in the same interview that her message has always been about “inspiring women and inspiring everybody to be honest.”
Chloe Grace Moretz
Have noticed some posts from seemingly reputable outlets regarding me wearing a bikini, I would rather you discuss my career not my body thx— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) October 28, 2015
When she was captured in a bikini while filming a scene for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Daily Mail published an article hyping her “perfect bikini body,” and “skimpy two-piece.” In reaction, Chloe tweeted, “Have noticed some posts from seemingly reputable outlets regarding me wearing a bikini, I would rather you discuss my career not my body thx.”
In 2013, Ellen told The Guardian, “I don't know why people are so reluctant to say they're feminists. Maybe some women just don't care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?”
The producer, director, writer, and star of HBO’s Girls told Metro in 2013, “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.”
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