Rebel Girls: 8 Ridiculous Things Famous Women Said About Feminism in 2015

feature image via tierbilder galerie. images in the post were lifted from the source links.

Header by Rory Midhani

Header by Rory Midhani

Some folks will tell you that they tire of media outlets asking famous ladies how they feel about feminism or whether they identify with it. Those people are missing the entire point. After all, if we never asked, we’d only assume, and rightfully so, that women who have cut their teeth to succeed and put together some of the feminist media that gives us life would answer eloquently and articulately, or at least correctly. We would assume that those women knew what feminism was, how important it is, and why being out and proud and loud about it matters.

And, like many who have suffered from this ancient proverb, we would make asses out of ourselves for assuming so in the first place. Because we’d be devastatingly wrong!

I’ve had more than my fill this year of heartbreaking commentary about the movement for women’s rights from people I assumed were, well, on my level. And the one thing which unites them all is that they’re white women, and their comments exemplify what’s wrong with White Feminism.

The following snippets of commentary gloss over the real need women — especially those of us living at the intersections of oppression — have for feminism, and a movement which amplifies and lifts up their voices and demands. They ignore the problems that face women of color, queer women, and poor women. And they erase the experiences of folks whose lives have been seriously, negatively impacted by gender hegemony, misogyny, and heterosexism.

January: Abbi and Ilana of “Broad City” Break Our Hearts


In a Q&A with the Sydney Morning Herald, Abbi and Ilana of my life story, “Broad City,” embrace feminism but then do the totally typical normie girls thing where they overcompensate and promise they don’t hate men, which for me is actually a huge bummer because hating men is really not the worst thing ever, y’know.

“We are totally feminists and love the idea of gender equality. It’s important to us but we’re gender equality, we’re not like women get to rule everything and f–k men. No, we love men. Our show has so many men and it’s more of like a humanism than feminism.”

February: Patricia Arquette Makes Us Cheer, Then Cringe

Winner for Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette accepts her award on stage at the 87th Oscars February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)


It’s a moment which will live in infamy: Patricia Arquette, accepting an Oscar, literally stands up in order to demand equal pay for equal work for women. We cheer so hard our hands hurt and Meryl Streep evens says inaudible words in the audience which I’m sure meant a lot to her at the time. But then, Patricia goes backstage and finishes her rant with a tiny diatribe calling on marginalized folks like people of color and queer people to do the work for women in exchange for the work women have done for them, thus erasing my actual existence and also failing AP history.

“It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

April: Shailene Woodley Remains Convinced This POV is Gonna Work Out for Her


Noted not-a-feminist Shailene Woodley continued her tiny campaign against identifying with the movement while also gracing the cover of Nylonthus reminding me why I don’t know who Shailene Woodley is and making me feel better that I don’t subscribe to Nylon.

“The reason why I don’t like to say that I am a feminist or I am not a feminist is because to me it’s still a label. I do not want to be defined by one thing. Why do we have to have that label to divide us? We should all be able to embrace one another regardless of our belief system and regardless of the labels that we have put upon ourselves.”

August: Why is Sarah Jessica Parker Relevant


I do not understand why Sarah Jessica Parker still gets to talk to glossy magazine folks, but that’s my own issue to work out with myself and also the early 2000’s. I do think it’s fair to publicly wonder why I should trust the woman who popularized Carrie Bradshaw’s opinion on feminism, though, especially since it’s wrong.

“As [playwright] Wendy Wasserstein would say, I’m a humanist. I’m enormously appreciative of the work that my mother’s generation did. We are the beneficiaries of a lot of disappointment, heartache, discouragement, and misunderstanding. But I see a lot of people trying to sort out their roles. People of color, gays, lesbians, and transgenders who are carving out this space. I’m not spitting in the face or being lazy about what still needs to be done — but I don’t think it’s just women anymore. We would be so enormously powerful if it were a humanist movement.”

September: Emily Watson, Definitely Not to Be Confused with Emma Watson


A tale of two Watsons: One, an impeccably dressed advocate for women and girls around the world and also the person who flawlessly brought Hermione to life and thus kept girl power alive in the modern age. Another, someone who is happy for her success but must not realize that the gender wage gap probably lost her a couple million bucks at least.

“In terms of equal pay, there’s obviously a question to be answered about how it’s divided up, but I don’t think it’s my personal quest. I just feel so grateful that I do a job that I love and someone pays me.”

September: Marion Cotillard Knows About Film, But Not Feminism, So


Apparently, being successful and outnumbered in the film industry does not make women who are successful yet outnumbered in the film industry eager to feel, well, less outnumbered. In September, Marion Cotillard disavowed feminism in the name of unity, which is funny because most of the men she’s appeasing by saying that divvy up the entire world into “women” and “not women” and treat the former like garbage!

“Film-making is not about gender. You cannot ask a president in a festival like Cannes to have, like, five movies directed by women and five by men. For me it doesn’t create equality, it creates separation. I mean, I don’t qualify myself as a feminist. We need to fight for women’s rights but I don’t want to separate women from men. We’re separated already because we’re not made the same and it’s the difference that creates this energy in creation and love. Sometimes in the word feminism there’s too much separation.”

September: Meryl Streep Takes Our Entire Universe and Turns It Upside Down


My heart is crushed, nothing makes sense anymore, and Meryl Streep doesn’t identify as a feminist because she’s too busy identifying as a humanist and wearing that awful shirt.

“I am a humanist. I am for nice easy balance.”

October: Susan Sarandon Thinks Your Feminism is Butch, Shrill, Fails to See That as a Good Thing

61 Taormina Film Fest - Day 7

In which Susan Sarandon hates strident, butch women but apparently loves men, because that is what feminism should be about, duh. Brought to you by Gayletter magazine’s latest issue.

“I think feminism is getting a rebranding. Just all these actresses and young people who are coming forward and saying, yeah, I’m a feminist, but their idea of what a feminist is is not a strident, butch, demanding, shrieking person… I had always called myself a humanist because the minute you used the word feminist, it was nonproductive. It seemed male-exclusive, and it can’t be male-exclusive.”

November: Kate Winslet Thinks Talking About Sexism Is Gross


Conversations about equal pay make Kate Winslet uncomfortable, apparently, and she’d really rather we all just… not. That sounds like a solid plan to me, honestly, because I can’t think of any instance in which the wage gap and its impact on women’s everyday lives made anyone uncomfortable. OH WAIT! Yes, I can.

“I’m having such a problem with these conversations. I understand why they are coming up, but maybe it’s a British thing. I don’t like talking about money; it’s a bit vulgar, isn’t it? …I don’t think that’s a very nice conversation to have publicly at all. I’m quite surprised by these conversations, to be honest, simply because it seems quite a strange thing to be discussing out in the open like that.”

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. *insert here my total lack of surprise*

    Don’t get me wrong I can be a snob (but with a heart of gold of course) when it comes to philosophy and I am sentimental (ha!) on how I transformed my “angry’ atheism to a more compassionate Humanist stance with feminist and womanist influences.

    People say “I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist!”

    I’m like, “Oh haaay I’m a humanist too but humanism and feminism are not mutually exclusive, boo! It can be a party if you invite some feminism to it or if that is not your thing womanism or general gender/racial/etc. equality. So set the mood and let’s do this, I got chips, dip and this hammer to smash the patriarchy!”

    …but that’s when I’m nice about being a little confused and wanting to engage the person.

    Most times I just stare blankly and wait for the #notallmen to show up and if this person is really irritating #whitetears and #alllivesmatter show up too making it the worst party ever!


    • I love you and i want to have a party with this comment and this is the exact wonderful thing i needed to read right after all those horrible words


      I'm also super intrigued when you say you transformed your angry atheism to a compassionate Humanism. I feel like it would appeal to me a lot if i understood really what it meant… could you elaborate please?

  2. “I’m a feminist. But I mean, I love men” is akin to saying “I’m a purple people eater, but I mean, I love Sabrina the Teenage Witch” THOSE TWO THINGS ARE REALLY UNRELATED

    Also everyone rushing to reassure men that they “love” them is just #fragilemasculinity in action and a great illustration of WHY WE NEED FEMINISM

    But I mean, you all know that already

    • @queergirl Bless you for the sentence “I’m a purple people eater, but I love Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” I have the urge to have this on a t-shirt or button. Also, I think Autostraddle should make a comment award section just for you: “And here’s what Queer Girl said this week” because all the awards!

      • oh my god, @lebraswell, you are too freaking kind. Also I fully support your idea for that button. People could ask you about its meaning and you could be like WELL HERE’S A MINI TED-TALK ON FEMINISM. boom.

      • Ahah yes this is exactly what she deserves after the past few weeks, a honorary section in the comment awards weekly post :D

    • If your boyfriend is mad at you for being #feminist because #fragilemasculinity, and if you buy into it, make it a couples project to educate yourselves on the issues and yay you’ll have learned a thing together!

  3. I thought I was shattered after Abbi/Ilana and then it just got worse. The Shailene Woodly one best exemplifies one of my pet peeves (yes, labels do matter. No, I am not going to embrace Donald Trump. Yes, we should be able to label him as a misogynist and a racist.) The Patricia Arquette one I think is the most emblematic of white feminism and was so disappointing.

    • My heart was broken when Broad City did some super cheap transphobic jokes in their second season. They were basically my favorite TV show ever and I was recommending it to everyone until that point.

  4. These comments…I just. My heart is breaking and my head hurts. When did ‘humanist’ become feminist rebranding? Was there a meeting I missed?

  5. I just want to curl up in a ball and cry.

    “Humanism” is a philosophical stance on agency, ethics, and empirical fact over generalizations, superstition, and a lack of critical thinking and literally has nothing to do with political movements or feminism.

    What they’re trying to say is that they’re “equalists.”

    Which still just goes to show that nobody bothered to tell these women what intersectional feminism is.

    Not that I need to tell you lot this. I’ll just be crying.

    (Why, Kate. Why would you let me down like this.)

    • Kate hurt me the most,too.
      I guess the first crush cuts the deepest, but at least I know my heart will go on.

      • ew ew ew. I don’t get these people. Like if I found out someone from my social circle was a pedophile/rapist I would slam the door on him so fast.

    • Thank you!! I wasn’t previously aware that “I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist” was a trend, and I just want to send hundreds of Inigo Montoya gifs to everyone who says this along with the definition of Humanism.

  6. I’m unfortunately not suprised byt these statements. I hear them constantly from regular women, even smart ones. So why not celebrities? They can be idiots as well.

    • i don’t know if it’s the notion of it being “surprising” so much as how much impact it has when celebrities say this kind of stuff. these are people with huge platforms, followers, etc. – celebrity feminism might often be bullshit, but sometimes it can reap huge rewards. i think calling out celebrities who aren’t speaking truth to power, or who talk about feminism but clearly don’t understand what it is or what it means, matters because changing their minds – and creating a positive and education discourse out of them saying stuff like this – can shift a lot of people’s opinions, behaviors, ways of thinking, etc.

    • She’s an idiot through and through. She keeps running her mouth on topics she has zero understanding of…like she was close to coming out as a 9/11 truther a few years ago.

      Americans keep asling us French why we don’t like her that much (like Melanie Laurent. Urgh) and the answer is : well because she’s been doing those very interviews in French for 10 years so we’ve known for a while how out of touch with reality she really is…

      • Mais tellement. Ajoute Léa Seydoux et on obtient la sainte trinité des actrices françaises insupportables.

        • well, merde. I have never seen (or read) a Melanie Laurent interview, so I have been blissfully ignorant.


          If there’s anything about Leïla Bekhti that could put her on this list or similar, please don’t tell me.

          • No I think our favs are safe. But yeah, same thing, if Isabelle Carré ( <3 ) said dumb stuff in interviews lalala I don't wanna knoooow.

        • Alright I think my comment was less deserved for her. It’s mostly irrational because she represent a certain kind of people here in France (read: Parisian people, whom a lot of us from the “Province” (ir)rationally dislike).

          I think a lot of French people dislike her because she appears to have zero modesty in her interviews and it’s almost a sin here in France?…

          But yeah… i’m gonna stop here and lay it out: it’s totally irrational, but I just can’t like her…

  7. Since when did victomhood become equal to moral superiority? Literally this author is a racist, sexist, pile of trash and morphing actual feminism into wild leftist, violent ideology?

      • Remember when feminism was strictly concerned with both sexes being equal under federal law? To hear these disgusting remarks made about humans because they are born with a certain skin type or a certain gender completely undermines actual feminism.

        • Uh, that was a time that never actually existed. Feminism has always had as much to do with culture/business/education/etc as it did with “equality under federal law.” Even really racist first wave feminism.

        • Um feminism has never been “strictly concerned with both sexes being equal under federal law” because that would be a shitty movement that wouldn’t accomplish nearly as much as what needs to be accomplished.

        • Yeah, how dare anyone imply that anything other than federal law influences equality. You’re such a bunch of jerks with your fake intersectional “feminism”.

    • I was so confused about the use of the word “racist” til I realized we’re playing the reverse racism poor white people game

      maybe we should stop playing that game, tho?

      • Ooooohhhhhh wow. I too was super confused about carmen being called “racist” and “sexist”. Hahahahahahabhahahahhahahha reverse racism. Good one.

    • Racists, really? Care to elaborate?

      Author, since when is disagreeing with you ridiculous? Maybe you are the ridiculous one for calling these elegant woman that, and for throwing other women under the bus for their beliefs. Day after day I see more and more bull, but this is pretty much the last straw. You can eat a cookie and get lost!

  8. Regarding Streep and Sarandon’s comments: I don’t think I would be more upset if my own mother refused to identify as a feminist.

    • Unfortunately I’ve encountered far too many people like Sarandon in activist circles in my country, and their comfort with cognitive dissonance – or wilful ignorance – doesn’t surprise me any more. Streep had me more bewildered because 1) she was actually promoting Suffragette (context, Meryl, context!), and 2) she’s clearly and publicly identified as a feminist before. She gave a speech honouring Emma Thompson (when Saving Mr Banks was released), in which she openly critiqued Walt Disney’s sexist and anti-Semitic attitudes AND said that she loved Emma because she too was a “rabid, man-eating feminist” like herself. Rabid and man-eating were tongue-in-cheek qualifiers, of course – she and Thompson are old friends. But she got a lot of flack and vitriol for her speech. A lot of the American media and social media missed the humour completely and went so far as to indignantly state that Streep had sabotaged Thompson’s Oscar nomination. In fact I wonder if Streep copped out because of this earlier backlash.

  9. Thank you Carmen for reminding us how far we have to go. And agreed that I have no idea why Sarah Jessica Parker is still relevant.

    Can we have another roundup where we pick some of the most awesome intersectional-feminism-aware celebrity quotes and celebrate them? :D

  10. I won’t be any more ready for exile than i’m now so it could as well be now, if necessary – i don’t mind.

    So the question: do you have a clear concept of the ‘Broad City’ squares not having committed an act of disloyalty to the crew, but having failed an initiation?

    • I don’t totally get what you’re asking… are you asking why their specific comment was called out? No it’s not because it didn’t pass some “initiation test”, but that they equated feminism with “hating” anyone, even men. That’s not what feminism means. Also that’s not what humanism means.

      • I honestly wish you were right and i wish they actually were denounced because of that.

        But whatever. However precious memories i might have of an actress, one Jane F, considering herself feminist and genuinely inspiring me and my non-exemplary self-worth to hold things together for decades to come – blame mathematics and statistical analysis for her in my eyes having become just a random disconnected babe from the street, individually and non-transferrably credited for her words. Credited at a triple rate, to acknowledge the difference between shoulders of giants and a subsidence caused by worms.

        • P.S. And i know Carmen by and large gets things just great and is another random lady credited for positive influence on the world, in my book. But not getting over the sacred cow of ‘hate’ just happens to not be the highest point in the trajectory.

    • My dog feels excluded by all this talk of humanism. WHAT ABOUT HIS FEELINGS SUSAN SARANDON? Why aren’t you a creaturist?

      (OK so this was mostly a shameless excuse to share a photo of my dog because I just got back from the vet who told us his tumor is a benign fat blob and the old wolf isn’t going to leave us just yet and I am ecstatic.)


        • Thank you for this comment. Now I know that the first thing I will do if I ever make my millions is hire a muppet maker to make me a TyLoup muppet!

          The second thing, of course, will be to give a bunch of money to Autostraddle.

          Then I’ll hire a bunch of people to do things for me but only 10% will be men and they will make 30% less than the lowest paid women, because that is what a Feminist would do, right? (see how I brought that back around to stay on point?)

          • Omg of course he’s called Tyloup that’s the best name I’ve ever heard.

            (Wolves are my favorite animal in the whole wide universe)

          • I didn’t think he looked very wolf-like, but loved the name (he had it already, we adopted him when he was 10).

            But I have had strangers on the street legit freak out and ask me if I was walking a wolf?? “Nope, he’s called wolf, but he is actually a cuddle bug.”

      • Never apologize for posting a pic of your pup!
        Very happy for you!

        And to get back on topic, you had a point with all of those impecccable unfeminist humanists:
        “We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.”
        Albert Schweitzer

  11. Another thing they all have in common is being actresses which is why none of this is surprising. Actresses work in a industry led my men and a lot of their images are leaned toward being attractive to men. I don’t expect them to step out of that bubble.

    Also none of these people are queer. Like… I’m starting to feel like straight women should not talk about feminism, because they seem so deathly afraid that if they talk about it then no men will want them anymore. It’s getting really tiring to hear them constantly reassuring their imaginary audience of men that they luv them so much. To me, your fear of missing out on some d is not nearly as important as this movement! Women are not just being underpaid or ignored, women are dying under this establishment and these ppl need to get with the program or get lost.

    • I think you’re right and that, to be *scrupulously* fair, some of them are less afraid of men not wanting them as ladyfriends, and more afraid of not getting hired in their field since (by and large) men are the Hollywood gatekeepers.

      That said, the ones who are older and already basically royalty in their fields are more disappointing. I can’t hold it against the young ones quite as much because they want to be marketable. It’s not RIGHT, but I can have compassion for the fear.

    • Which is why i do have a problem with Emma Watson and her all campaign. It’s watering down feminism to make it palatable to men who would be crying men tears if they heard the real talk…

      Line,no. Those aren’t the allies i want. Give me the men who understand what feminism is, and that yes some women are angry at men rightfully so and still don’t get scared away. These are the allies we deserve. Not the guy sharing a stupid heforshe tag and then objectifying a girl in a nightclub or rolling his eyes when a woman xomplains of street harassement

      • Thank you^^^^^ I am tired of watered down feminism that’s “male inclusive”. Fuck no. We aren’t here to make you comfortable.

  12. Kate Winslet!
    *insert cry face emoji*
    and so very cliché, too!

    Just for the record:
    I’m a humanist, too.
    I’m a woman, however, a woman who wants, no, who demands, to be treated and seen and accepted for being a human being,not more, not less,and who wants that for every single other woman out there as well, and that is,what makes me,a humanist, a feminist.

    • whenever i hear someone say i’m not a feminist, i’m a humanist i feel very obligated to remind them that around the world women aren’t seen as being actual human beings or treated as such so there is just so much yes in my heart right now

      • You know, in my world view, everyone should be whittled down to a common denominator:
        A human being.
        Not a demented old person.
        Not a smelly homeless person.
        Not somebody of any skin color.
        Nor of any denomination.
        Not a woman.
        Not a man.
        Just a human being.
        That is one tall order, but unless we are trying to always see the human underneath all of the other stuff, that flings itself into our faces from fear, prejudice,judgement and expectations, we run into the danger of running along whenever someone else like Hitler pops up and yells:”Them”Them!”
        If it’s just the human part we try to look at,there is no “Them” there is only ever an “us”.
        That is why I’m feeling very strongly about people looking at my, admittely spectacular, boobs when I’m trying to make a valid and thoughtful argument or when I’m not getting that advancement at work due to the presence of ovaries, no matter how dormant.
        I have zero patience for that kind of behavior, because I’m talking to the men I’m talking to as fellow human beings, not as another inexplicable and excusable species.
        Being a hardy humanist actually makes me more of a feminist, because I demand men to be equal.
        So, what I am saying is:
        Dear celebs, your argument is invalid.

  13. It really bothers me when women say that they are feminists and in the same sentence, they state that they “love men.” It’s just another affirmation that male acceptance means greatly to many women, and that, even when defending their own gender, they have to be conscious of stroking the male ego.

    I also wonder why many women in Hollywood make an effort to not discuss this issue; I think it may be because Hollywood is so tightly controlled by the men who are behind and in front of the camera. The gender disparity in the film and television industry is quite aggravating. But I also believe that some female celebrities just don’t care because they are millionaires/billionaires, and advancing the rights of women isn’t a concern for them because they do not live in “our” reality, if that makes sense. They don’t fully comprehend the problem because they live in luxury and do not feel such burdens as deeply.

    Also, non-inclusive feminism really irks me. Patricia Arquette’s speech is a great example of this, as well as Emma Watson’s slim attempt at addressing feminism through her “HeForShe” campaign, which is almost exclusively targeted to white women. Emma’s approach speaks stirringly to my aforementioned statement: its simplicity arises from Emma’s effort to include men in the movement. I have not looked too deeply into her campaign, but I do remember when she had men/male celebrities take a picture of themselves with a “HeForShe” sign—how does this contribute to the feminist movement? Have any of these men made further motions to speak about feminism, or at most, educate themselves about it? I do not think so.

    • Please do me the favor and watch Emma Watson’s speech at the UN (it is super well delivered,too, and addresses some of your points):

      I’ll just leave everyone here with this excerpt of that speech, because I wish that every single one of the Ladies mentioned above gets asked this:

      “I decided that I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me.
      But recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.
      Women are choosing not to identify as feminists.
      Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating and anti men, unattractive, even.
      Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one?”

      • I have watched that UN address—her speech was encouraging, but I do not believe that her actions match her words. Personally, I feel that “HeForShe” is a safe and easy attempt to crusade for women’s rights.

        On the “HeForShe” website, when you click on the “Take Action” link, a menu glides down where you are simply asked to click on the “I am HeForShe” button to join the HeForShe Commitment. But that is all that you need to do—just simply click the button, and you become “one of billions of men who believe equality for women is a basic human right that benefits us all.” But that is all of the information that men are provided with about this new “commitment” after clicking on that button. There is no information on how to implement this commitment into their lives anywhere on the website—the website, though, does have information on how to begin a “HeForShe” program in your area, but that is all. I believe that latter part is addressed more to businesses.

        So if Emma’s campaign is grounded on the commitment to involve men into feminist discourse, why isn’t there information on the HeForShe website as to how men can actually do this, or how they can educate themselves better? Surely, it can’t be as easy as clicking a button.

        • Maybe it is.
          Any man that realizes that there is a button to click, that there is a difference, a disparity, something to fight for, something that needs fighting for,something that he is going to stand for, actually already clicked that button.
          Maybe two pages of text would keep him from clicking that button.
          Maybe the button isn’t important.
          I remember Malala always thanking her father for giving her so many opportunities, and I remember how so many of us croon(ed) over Joss Whedon for Buffy, for strong female roles, etc.
          So maybe the #HeforShe campaign is uncomfortable, it is for me,because I am an emancipated woman who doesn’t want hand outs from men, but it is necessary, in a world where men hold power over a lot of us in a lot of places.
          I’m just glad that it is a very public feminist project with a lot of public support that keeps putting feminism back onto the map.

          • I respect your opinion—Emma’s campaign has sparked further discussion on feminism, but I do think women deserve more than this. Men can click that button all they want, but it won’t impress me unless they have made an actual effort to join the movement towards gender equality. I do not see many men, or men at all, doing this on account of Emma’s campaign.

        • I made my comment about the campaign further up before seeing yours and i couldn’t agree more with everything that you said

          The original speech was great, yes, but then was followed with no substance. Encourageing men to say they call themselves feminists so they can pat themselves on the back without ANY reflexivity or introspection ?

          Look at this post and how much we demand of women using this word (righfully so). You wanna caml yourself a feminist ? Yeah you’re gonna have to earn it first and prove me that you are.

          • I definitely agree with your comment here and above. There is several great articles that parse the HeForShe campaign and explain its deficiencies, namely that it excludes women of color. I admire Emma’s determination, but I hope that she educates herself better. I’m glad that she recently sat down with Malala: Malala spoke eloquently about gender rights. I hope Emma was listening.

        • I think it’s true that simply clicking a button isn’t as useful as learning what you can actual do to help. It’s easier to make a pledge because you feel better about yourself than to actually put your words to action. Even if you want to be committed, you might be afraid to do what seems right for fear of inadvertently getting it wrong.

          Unfortunately, I think that a lot of men (and women) are not just ignorant about feminism. They may also be reluctant to identify as feminist because they won’t know “which feminist” we’re even talking about. Socialist, separatist, atheist, post-modern, anarchist, etc. The wikipedia article on variants of feminist ideologies and movements lists over 15! We become reluctant to embrace the cause of women’s right by that word because it’s become so blurred together with more controversial and sometimes conflicting ideas.

          If anyone is going to committee, they should know exactly what they’re committing too.

          • I hear this argument all the time for why people don’t identify as feminist (re:which one, there’s so many!) And it makes me laugh because people fucking identify as something that doesn’t “look unified” all the time. I see this most often with the catholics in my life. They say they are catholic but don’t agree with the churches stance on marriage, gender, abortion, ect. Yet they have no qualms with calling themselves a catholic. But the idea of identifying as a feminist when there’s lots of different opinions of people who all idenotify as feminist is just too much aparently.

          • There are many different types of women too, but I don’t that’s ever stopped anyone from identifying as one.

    • Thoughts on He for She:

      1. Isn’t Emma Watson just their spokesperson? It was my understanding that she was their spokesperson and emotionally invested in the project but not that it was conceived of by her or something she has ownership of exactly. I could be totally incorrect, of course.

      2. Her speech made a lot of wonderful and important points.

      3. I think the campaign’s branding, including the He for She title, is a fundamentally flawed attempt to remind men that gender inequities, strict gender roles, and the work to dismantle those things affect THEIR lives deeply, too. But it is fundamentally flawed because it does center the male, and gives the incorrect impression that gender equality is something that men must do (or not do). When we give them the responsibility in this way, we also give them the power to choose whether or not it happens at all.

      Instead of centering men in an attempt to prove to them that feminism is important, we must do the important work WE need to do, building momentum until men become feminist allies because they can’t help but want to swim into our wake and get carried up with us. Some men will become allies earlier, some later, some never, but no man who ever calls himself a feminist or feminist ally because we centered him in our language or our fight will ever truly be one.

    • As a feminist who does frequently clarify that I care about men, I feel incredibly insulted and patronized by this comment. No, I don’t care about “the male ego” or gaining male approval. The reason I feel the need so say that is because with all the misandrist/kill all men jokes flying around certain feminist circles, it’s easy for some to believe that feminists really do hate men. So no, it’s not internalized misogyny or The Evil Patriarchy that makes me feel that I have to defend men. Implying that makes it seem as if I’m just a simple, impressionable woman who can’t form her own opinion. It’s other feminists who make me feel that way. If some of you want to continue with that rhetoric then do so by all means. But don’t act surprised when people don’t want to associate with your movement.

  14. Some of these really disappoint me. But, at least I still have Ellen Page.

    Damn forgot what else I was going to say.

  15. Fun story. In 2005, when I was 16, a friend of mine who I greatly admired and looked up to told me that she was an equalist, not a feminist. She explained this to me, and to my 16yo brain, it made a lot of sense, and that’s how I identified for years.

    Fast forward 8 years to 2012. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years, but randomly ran into each other at a feminist law conference, and were both now raging feminists, and identified as such.

    What I’m saying is, each of these celebrities is as dumb as I was when I was 16, and each of them needs a crash course in what feminism actually IS. I have no doubt that they actually ARE feminists, they just don’t understand what that means.

    • Have any of these celebrities completed post-secondary education? I often wonder why we look to celebrities who aren’t educated about feminism to answer questions like this. Women’s Studies isn’t taught in high school. If I didn’t take WS classes in university I don’t think I would know much about feminism either.

      • As a person with an incomplete post-secondary education of the community college variety I must *ahem* and say something about not needing a uni class in Women’s Studies, but at the same time recognise that yeah some folks would continue to exist in their bubble of misunderstanding feminism without university.

        The human experience and individual consciousness of stuff is not a uniform thing.

  16. Is this sort of article really helpful? I don’t think female celebrities identifying as feminist because they’re afraid of the backlash if they don’t, or because it’s trendy, actually does anything for gender equality. Identifying as a feminist because it feels like a word that fits you can help. But this doesn’t.

    And anyway, is the point actually supposed to be *identifying* as feminists? Working together for gender equality, definitely. But if some women don’t feel that feminist is a label that works for them, that’s fine, because what matters is their actions, not their labels.

    • Yeah, I think you’ll find that much of this community, a community of writers and readers and people who have fought to call themselves queer or bi or pan or something else, or to be called by the correct pronouns — many of us agree that yes, words matter. Representation matters. Celebrities being given a microphone to speak on issues that affect every single one of us, and speaking on them in misinformed ways, or ways that misrepresent the feminism so many of us fight for — that’s very frustrating, and it sets us back in real ways.

      • Some people find the label “queer” empowering, other people find it insulting because of it’s history. Some people that are attracted to multiple genders like the term bisexual, other people prefer queer or pansexual because they feel these are more inclusive (even though many definitions of bisexual are just as inclusive). People are comfortable with different things, and that’s OK.

        I’m a feminist, and I wish more people identified that way, but it’s much more important to me that people acutally support equal rights. We all choose various lables for various reasons. If some people prefer to use the term “humanist” because it sounds more inclusive to them, because the term is easier for others to understand, or because they feel they can get their point across that way without others getting defensive, I don’t think it’s the end of the world. In addition to the “humanists”, there are also plenty of people of color that don’t identify as feminist because the mainstream feminist movement is so white dominated, and I respect that. I don’t really care what you call yourself as long as you believe in equality for women, people of color, the LGBT community, etc., and are willing to stand up for your own rights and the rights of others.

        Obviously plenty of the people quoted above are not great allies to people of color, lGBT people, or other oppressed groups, and that should absolutely be criticized, but again, it’s a person’s actions that matter most.

  17. I tend to have more sympathy for younger actresses because they aren’t as established and are therefore more dependent on the Hollywood gatekeepers to get work. Also there are a lot of things I said when I was younger that I would never say now because I’ve learned more and expanded my viewpoints on a lot of things. So even though its annoying I can cut younger actresses and singers pulling the “I’m not feminist I’m a humanist” deal some slack.

    Actresses like Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet and Susan Sarandon don’t have the same excuses.

  18. The juxtaposition of the cover image for this article on facebook (the yawning otter-prince of ADORABLE) and the terrible subject matter really sent me on an emotional rollercoaster


    God forbid men feel excluded when the problem is their privilege.

    Let’s make them all comfortable and suck up to them so their sweet little egos aren’t hurt by the pesky, nonsense words we say.

    • Yeah my dad was pretty damn privaledged when he was homeless for a spell and had to sleep rough in the city park. What an ego!

      But well, the patriarchy always looks after its own.

      Relevant image:

      • If you don’t think that feminism is concerned with poverty and homelessness, you don’t know much about feminism.

        The flaw in your logic seems to stem from equating discussion of privilege with “having it easy”. I’d suggest you to do some more reading on what feminism actually has to say about social problems and not expect a meme to suffice.

        • “The flaw in your logic seems to stem from equating discussion of privilege with “having it easy”.”

          Oh I see… so the privilege feminists are talking about is a kind of magical mystical invisible privilege in the mind that has no actual benefits to men when they suffer.

          That explains my father’s experiences, shivering as dew formed over his cloths in the early dawn. At that moment he was actually a privileged oppressor. What a shit-lord!

          “I’d suggest you to do some more reading on what feminism actually has to say about social problems…”

          Nah – I think I’ll pass on that. I already do treat men and women as equal in worth, adult agency, and I expect the same self responsibility from both. Which is why I have little interest in listening to wealthy white women whine on about oppressed they are.

          You people need to understand both men and women have issues in this world, and you need to stop playing gender wars and do something productive to care for the people in your life – working together to benefit humanity as one.

          Which is essentially what the celebrities are trying to tell you if you’d have the sense to listen.

          • YOU PEOPLE

            Welcome to Autostraddle, JHol. It’s pretty much all “You People” here. And we like it that way.

          • @queer girl

            Yup I agree it is mostly “you people” here where that group refers to those who bias towards the issues one gender face over any other.

            If you like it that way, that’s your right, but don’t expect much interest in your ideas from the majority of unbiased male and female people such as these celebrities.

            Why would you expect them to go along with your cause if your cause is biased and not egalitarian?

          • Equality is giving everyone the same amount of help – which some people don’t need because in society some people don’t need help. They are flourishing. Equity is giving everyone the amount of help each person needs so that everyone can stand on a level playing field.

            I am sorry for what your dad went on through. Feminist values would want him help him up – for everyone to be given the help they need.

            When people talk about humanism, they are basically saying that they want to give the higher paid, socially well off men additional help to stand above everyone even more than they already are, rather than giving everyone the help they need to stand on a level playing field.

            When people talk about humanism it is because they don’t understand equality or equity or feminism. Feminism is not some baddy here to tread men into the dirt. However, feminists are rightfully angry because they have been (or support) people who have had to struggle so much more than their male counterparts for the same or even lesser rights or things.

            My anger is valid. I will post what I want to post on a public message board. The anger of my fellow straddles is valid. You have essentially talked down to us in a reply as opposed to making your own post. I would expect a push back from that, just as if someone did it to you.
            If you wanted to do some research you would see that maybe your anger is being directed at the wrong people. We do not wish you harm not do we wish your father harm.

            Re post: It is frustrating seeing women in such a visible position putting down feminism without understanding it. We are angry.

          • @Tommy

            “Equity is giving everyone the amount of help each person needs so that everyone can stand on a level playing field.”

            Yes or Parity is another word for it – but most people don’t believe in Parity, they believe in equality. Equality is saying that men and women have equal status and agency as adult human beings – therefore men and woman will do just as well as men when faced with the obstacles of life because there is nothing lesser about either of them in any way.

            Therefore if you take away artificial barriers (which we have in our western society; for example sexism in the work-place is illegal), both will thrive. And in my country they both do!

            “I am sorry for what your dad went on through. Feminist values would want him help him up”

            Not buying it.

            The majority of homeless people in my country are white cis-gendered men, but I’ve never heard a peep about that issue from feminists; but that’s because feminists only act to protect their own interests. Hence the name “feminist” rather than “egalitarian”, “equalist” or “humanist”.

            But many people including these celebrities recognize the unethical nature biasing towards one group’s interests over another, and that’s why more and more people are distancing themselves from the word “feminist”.

            “You have essentially talked down to us in a reply”

            Projecting much? These are your words – right?: “Let’s make them all comfortable and suck up to them so their sweet little egos aren’t hurt by the pesky, nonsense words we say.”

            “If you wanted to do some research you would see that maybe your anger is being directed at the wrong people.”

            I’m not angry – I’m distressed by the dis-proportionality of your anger.

            Every man I know has many women they love in their life. I have my mother, my sister, my wife and my daughter, and I want them all to work hard, and have the freedom to succeed or fail by their own choices, in whatever endeavors they choose to pursue. I couldn’t name a man I know who wouldn’t concur with these ideas. So who is all this anger directed against?

          • I have always been sincerely confused by this argument. People who call themselves feminists think that men don’t suffer or that their suffering doesn’t matter? People who say Black Lives Matter think that white people don’t suffer? LGBTQIA activists think that straight cis people do not suffer? I suppose animal rights activists think that humans never suffer and shouldn’t be helped.

            None of the above are true. There’s something really bizarre to me about assuming that affiliating oneself with a particular struggle somehow equals thinking nobody else’s pain matters. It couldn’t be farther from the truth.

          • Well I suppose when you have the emotional range of a teaspoon you can’t care about more than one issue at the same time ?

          • @jhol
            Being feminist doesn’t mean that you’re anti men. It means that you acknowledge and understand that men have privileges in this world (we could list a hundred examples, there’s no denying it), and you believe in working to eradicate those privileges.

            Re: Your statement about “the unethical nature biasing towards one group’s interests over another”… I guess I’ll break down the concept of equity since you’re struggling to understand:

            Scenario 1, your proposed Equality:
            I’m pretty short and trying to see in a crowd. Everyone in the crowd gets a step stool. I still can’t see.

            Scenario 2, what you deem to be “biased” Equity:
            I’m pretty short and trying to see in a crowd. I get a step stool so that I’m just as tall as everyone else. We can all see, cool!

            Lastly, it isn’t your place to call Tommy’s anger “disproportional”. You not understanding it doesn’t invalidate it. It’s unfortunate (and telling) that you’re unable to discuss maturely without gaslighting.

          • Whoops, to avoid confusion, I’d like to add to my scenarios that I actually just appear to be “short” in the crowd because there’s a hole dug out under my feet. That somebody else dug.

          • @jhol in one comment, you said that the majority of homeless people in your country are white cis men.

            Okay…either you live in an area that’s almost entirely white, or you don’t have much experience with homeless people. I do, having been involved for years in a social justice program that revolves around classism and living in a county where many people have been struggling due to government corruption, employment struggles, and gentrification.

            And about 80% of the people I’ve served have been black. About 1/3 of them were single moms with young kids.

          • @Ari Kudos for all your hard work helping out with the homeless.

            My point isn’t to have a competition about which ethnic group is hardest done by – the main issue is that 1-in-1 homeless people, so good job helping those you find in your region.

            This isn’t a race or gender issue- I only brought it up because OP was claiming that men are always privileged which is manifest nonsense.

          • @Carmen – this website can define anything to mean anything, that doesn’t mean it will be accepted into common parlance. Maybe you should find a new word.

            If feminists want to talk using weirdo esoteric definitions of common-place words, then no they can’t if celebrities want to talk about equality using language that people will understand.

            Several people have told me to “educate myself” about these things. Why? It’s not my cause to advocate; it’s yours if you want people to come around your ideas.

            If you want people to agree with you then you have to convince them. If you don’t want to bother doing that, then you’ll have a nice echo chamber for yourselves, but don’t be surprised when you see 8 celebrities who have different ideas about feminism.

          • @mantisshrimp personally I don’t buy your ideas – they sound rather Marxist. Beyond a certain point, you can’t make equality of outcome with out unfairly penalizing people for being good at something, and you’ll make society worse not better if you try.

            I personally have been prevented many obstacles that I have overcome using the gifts and and working on the flaws that I have been given. Better to do that, then let yourself play the victim all your life.

            You talk about not being the tallest person around – well neither am I. But I *always* have a great time at any concert I go to.

            If you’re short there are many advantages. Perhaps you are more agile on the sports-field. Perhaps you can be a champion jockey. Or rescue people trapped in confined spaces for a living. Also, you get the privileged of not having to buy an over-sized car to drive comfortably.

            On the other hand some people are very tall, which helps them to play amazing basketball; which I am so thankful for because it is so much fun to watch.

            Much better to apply yourself so that you have good things to share with the ones you love, rather than sitting on your ass all day complaining about how oppressed you are. If we all did that, then society would grind to a halt.

          • @jhol
            You ignored the part where I clarified that I’m not actually short, I’ve just had a hole dug from underneath me (in those scenarios). Filling those holes is important.

            “you can’t make equality of outcome with out unfairly penalizing people for being good at something”

            ^What? At least we agree that you’re “good at” being privileged.

      • Um…being a white cis homeless man is still going to be easier than being a homeless woman, homeless trans person, homeless PoC, or some combination thereof.

        • In hindsight, I’m glad you were offended by my comment. I refuse to police my words JUST INCASE a man walks into a space on a website that obviously wasn’t built with them as the intended audience and sees it. Go back to 4chan.

          • I’m really curious why this dude is coming here refusing to learn anything. What is he trying to achieve ? Does he really think he can throw a temper tantrum and convince us that feminism is wrong ?

            Talk about wasted energy – which is why i don’t engage…

        • @Ari – that’s a pretty nasty attitude. Have you slept on the street? If so, I wonder if you would feel bad to hear someone tell you that you’re privileged because some other people out in the cold probably have it harder somehow.

          It’s bizarre how you people divide up humanity. Why not just say there are homeless people, and I want to help all of them because they’re fellow human beings?

          I’ve long noticed that there is a rather racist and sexist undertone to modern feminism and the wider feminist movement. It’s not nice – you guys need to clean house.

          • Ok, Dude, have YOU slept out on the street?
            If it wouldn’t have been your dad, but your mom, chances are about 70-80% in my European and about a 100% in your country that your mom would have been raped, that she wouldn’t have wandered the streets or subways at night and tucked into a warm place, but that she would have kept wandering many,many nights instead of sleeping and looked for a safe space.
            And not because some guy MIGHT come along and kick her or maybe do something to her, but because there WILL be someone if she is not careful, if she does not keep safe.
            You say you have women in your life that you love:You have never stood up for them, because there was the need to, never walked them anywhere, never picked them up, never feared for them?
            Being a feminist means that you see that there is a difference, that you want it to stop.That you don’t want to have to fear or fight for them anymore.That you won’t have to.
            There is a difference, just look at the way you barge in here, an explicit space not meant for you, and you make it all about you, you don’t respect our opinions, you try to force yours down our throats, and you do so while complaining about the concept of the hurt male ego.
            Come on, you don’t think that’s ironic?
            I’m sorry, bro.
            You just don’t get the point, but you’re against it anyways, good for you.
            Saves a lot of ire and thinking and pain.
            And yours is the priviledge to stay ignorant, in peace, no worries.
            That’s the priviledge you have, right there.
            That’s how priviledge works, by the way.
            I have a roof over my head, that gives me the priviledge of ignoring those who don’t.
            I’m also not black and I’m not muslim, either, nor am I elderly or visibly impaired, so good for me, I get to lead the sweet,sweet life if I choose to.
            Priviledge has the potential to turn people into grade a assholes, so it’s no wonder people aren’t exactly jumping on claiming it, but that’s how it works.
            What you make out of that priviledge, however, that’s what defines you as a person, and of course, we all struggle, and we don’t want our struggles to be undervalued or deevaluated by others, but admitting that we have a priviledge is the first step towards recognizing that other people have a problem and that is the first step towards facing that problem and that again is the first step on the long road of fixing it.
            I can be a feminist AND care about the homeless (and climate change and refugees and the extinction of bees) but honestly, what I don’t care about is your lazy, preconceived notion of who I am, because I dare demand equality.
            And I am not, as much as it pains me to say it, equal.

          • “If it wouldn’t have been your dad, but your mom, chances are about 70-80% in my European and about a 100% in your country that your mom would have been raped”

            [citation needed]

            “You say you have women in your life that you love:You have never stood up for them, because there was the need to, never walked them anywhere, never picked them up, never feared for them?”

            [citatation needed]

            Anyway, you’re much more likely to assaulted as a man than as a woman. In general anyone is very unlikely to come to harm in my country going out and about. Crime is falling.

            But feminists seem quite happy to fear-monger.

            “That you don’t want to have to fear or fight for them anymore.That you won’t have to.”

            You’re hoping to eliminate “fear” in our society. What are you smoking?

            “you make it all about you, you don’t respect our opinions”

            Umm… if you can’t defend your opinions then why the surprise when 8 celebrities don’t agree with them?

            Anyway… diversity of thought is good – in fact it’s the only diversity that really matters.

            “you try to force yours down our throats, and you do so while complaining about the concept of the hurt male ego.”

            [citation needed]

            “You just don’t get the point”

            [citation needed]

            “I’m also not black.”

            My wife is – do you think there’s something wrong with black people? I have never ever seen anyone treat her in a racist way while we’ve been together. Her mother had some problems in the school playground fifty years ago, but no problems today.

          • Well, I had to reply to this instead of your other post:
            About one in five women in the US has been raped (25% of college students) while about 50% have been assaulted.
            The numbers are taken from the CDC, btw., well researched and valid.
            The US has lost their number one position on sexual violence to South Africa,in the last couple of years and is now ranked number three, worldwide, btw.

            I’m hereby done trying to reason with you. You choose ignorance, don’t even grasp the syntax of the English language or take care to read something correctly.
            Go, have fun in your pretty little world.
            Just do all of us a favor and go play elsewheres.

          • @amidola your comment just gave me a religious experience (yeah because I was just told feminism = religion)

            @jhol OH NOW you want to talk about backing claims with citations ? Because when we’ve given you arguments you’re “not buying it” and when we’re telling you to read up on specific things you answer with “no thanks”… So yeah, keep talking.

          • @amidola – those studies have been widely discredited. Seriously look it up.

            Having a 1-in-5 figure on the ground would be like living in war-torn Congo, or a country where there is an occupying army or something. Everyone you know would know dozens and dozens of people who had been raped. No-one would stand for that.

            I only know one woman who was raped (out of hundreds I have contact with), while she and her husband were doing charity work in Nigeria. She was raped, and her husband took a shot to the face. Fortunately both survived, and have continue their work.

            One of the studies used for the 1-in-5 raped on college campuses study classified all drunk sex as rape. I’ve seen students – many get drunk. If both partners are drunk, then who is raping who? It’s stuff like that.

            You hear feminists bandying the 1-in-5 figure around because it gives them a grievance to rally people behind, and oh-boy do these people *love* a good grievance.

            But that’s because if feminism achieved all its goals (and the goals of first and second wave feminists largely have been achieved), then professional feminists such as the author of this article, and women’s studies degree holders would be out of a job. So it rather pays to exaggerate the problems faced by western women in order to keep the whole game afloat, and to attract new followers.

            I find all this deplorable. Here are western feminists whaling about how oppressed they are, and how 8 celebrities aren’t using the right words to express their support for equal opportunities for women, meanwhile there are Christian and Yazidi women in Syria who face actual enslavement*.

            The author should probably write about that kind of stuff – stuff that matters, rather than nit-picking celebrities.

            * The Christian and Yazidi men don’t get to live as slaves; they get beheaded, but that’s no big deal, seeing as they are privileged patriarchal shit-lords.

          • @jhol
            This data,is valid.
            It is the result of a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, the CDC, a government agency, which has concluded raped to be widespread threat to health.
            It’s a huge study done by THE center for widespread health threats in the US!
            You don’t get to discredit it, because it makes you feel uncomfortable.
            You wanted a citation, you got it.
            Now, deal the fuck with it. You wanted the numbers now bear them.
            I even took care to find the best study there is, because there have been more studies than just this one, many, all with roughly the same results.
            Since I know that you will be too uncomfortable and lazy to read the actual study, let me point out to you, what hit me the most:
            78% of girls raped were under the age of 25. 40% under the age of 18.
            12% under ten.
            Still something you don’t care to know?
            And now, what is this with the Syrian Christian women being enslaved?
            Are you referring to IS? Or the evil, evil muslims in general?
            Because the 3.4% of Christians in Syria used to be treated ok before everyone started fleeing from genocide and religious extremists.
            I would know, because I talked to a Christian Syrian woman just last week. She was a patient at a refugee center where I’m one of the volunteer physicians at, here in Germany, where we have hit one million registered refugees last week.
            I see a lot of Syrians, from actual Syria, imagine that.
            But go ahead, tell me aaaall about the Syrians, that you! Tell me about how high powered data is totally invalid because you say so. Statistics, right? I mean who gives a crap, right? All wrong, because you know, women discuss their rapes over a glass of wine, maybe o’deuvres at a dinner party, not in hushed,quiet,tearful whispers to their husbands, maybe, if ever.
            No, they tell it with a laugh, “Cause remember that one time I woke up bleeding after a frat party?”” God, one of THOSE times!”Hahaha, yeah, just those frisky college kids getting drunk. You would totally know if someone in your circle of acquaintances was raped.Totally, you’re making a super valid argument there.<–These past few sentences were ironic, in case you did not pick this up, also you seriously need to look up statuotory raped and concepts like consent.
            Check that USA Today article again, being a woman in the US is more dangerous than in warn torn Congo, 2% in the last twelve months alone, but hey, numbers, right?
            They have to be wrong, because what would it mean that one out of every five, or maybe even six women in the room with you have been hurt in that way.
            What would it mean?
            Yeah, that maybe we have a point, but also wouldn't that just be super disturbing, especially if it's someone you care about?
            Naw, you're better off totally discrediting, insulting and belittling us,while pointing far away at other issues, because that way your world will stay intact and you on top of it.
            Congratulations on being such an asshole of a priviledged white cis man.
            It takes genuine effort, which you have ably demonstrated by taking the time and care to hunt us evil and delusional brood of feminists down into this, our online lair, only to counter our well layered arguments with the unshakeable might of your very strong opinion, half truth and entirely unrelated facts.
            I applaud you for being the life proof of why this world and especially your country is still in dire need of feminism.
            Also, I'm done with you.
            If you feel the need to post the "You as a doctor should/are..bla/bla..know/disgrace…blabla..shouldn't/should/are..etc." comment, as you are now bound to become personal for lack of comment, go right ahead.
            I'm not going to read it, though.
            Because this conversation is over, good night.

  20. That remark about not wanting to be a shrieking butch person is lesbophobic as hell. This is the same “Not all lesbians are feminists!!!!” shit straight white women have been saying since the First Wave, the same shit that’s always thrown women-loving women under the bus so str8 feminists could get penis points.

    And Patricia Arquette…does she not realize that LGBTQIA women and WoC exist???? Does she know anything about Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ma Rainey, Ella Fitzgerald, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Brenda Howard, Storme de Laverie, Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Nicki Minaj, Carmen Carrera??? What about us? Like I’m assuming she’s including bi and trans people in “gays”…so do I as a genderqueer bisexual woman not exist suddenly?

    • To be fair to Patricia Arquette she just gave some (I think wonderful) commentary about that whole ordeal :
      “I blame myself for my stupid wording that night when I was calling for male activists to have our backs and remember women, to support the women’s movement and to include women in the conversation. I was talking about the really devastating consequences of the women’s movement stalling out. It was my own lack of clarity backstage that made some women feel left out or slighted. This of all things makes me sad, because they are my heroes.
      Since the speech, I have learned a lot more about the feminist movement and how women of color have been left out of the process. I understand that more now. I am really sad that I may have added to their feeling of being excluded.”

      I commend her for having taken the time to educate herself on the issue, recognize her mistakes and then speak out about it.

  21. I’m honestly a bit tired of people being skewered for identifiying as “humanist”. I am a feminist – I use the word and I feel that there is value in it. However, I think what’s most important is that people strive for the social, political, and economic equality of women, not what they call ourselves while doing it.

    I see feminism, anti-racism, support for LGBTQ people, etc. as individual facets of humanism, and humanism itself as just one element in a broader philosophy of respect for nature as a whole. To me, any true humanist (in the sense most of these people are using the word) IS a feminist/womanist, whatever label they choose to employ.

    I’d much rather see self-identified feminists and humanists work together to overcome the forces of misogyny and patriarchy than have us waste time and energy bickering over semantics.

    • But they’re misrepresenting/misunderstanding humanism. People ask, “are you a feminist?” and they say “well, I’m a humanist,” like someone asked “do you like apples?” and they answered, “well, I like oranges.”

      Like that still doesn’t answer the question of whether you like apples, as liking apples and oranges are not mutually exclusive. It’s just that oranges are all you want to talk about because oranges are the less controversial fruit. Men (and male Hollywood executives) aren’t scared of oranges.

      But are any of these people actually humanists? Do they have any idea what it actually means? Or are they just side-stepping the question about feminism in a really empty way?

    • Well, it’s also a question of how dedicated one is to zero-sum tribalism and how dedicated one is to Pareto improvement. Whenever you have a crew who individually check out as predominantly second, and an internal culture which checks out as predominantly first – i think it is not unreasonable to look for hidden variables.

  22. So, as a Christian humanist who is also a feminist, it always annoys me to see the word ‘humanism’ co-opted like that. It already has a meaning, guys.

  23. To be honest, I’m over actresses talking about feminism and pretty every other topic because not one of them seems to be particularly well-informed about damn near ANYTHING. I don’t care what it is. They are actresses that’s it. They like to hear themselves talk and they love press. The only reason they want to talk about why or why not they don’t identify as feminist is because it’s a hot topic right now. And I question whether the ones who are so quick to talk about wage inequality are as concerned about how much ALL women are getting paid or just how much Hollywood women are getting paid. They sure as hell don’t seem concerned about pretty much any other topic that effects women who aren’t like them or face serious issues that they don’t. Lets talk about how I rarely see any of them actually standing up for their own fellow actresses of color. They certainly have it a lot harder when it comes to even just getting their foot in the door let alone getting paid as much as men. Hell, male actors of color are in a more fragile position than most of these white actresses who don’t miss a day of work. Frankly, I just don’t want to hear from them anymore. They aren’t in the business of helping anyone but themselves so I’m not crying over any of these women because they damn sure don’t give a shit about me.

  24. Bottom line: the fact that these women with all the advantages they have in life still fear calling themselves feminists because of the backlash inherent? Is PRECISELY why we still need feminism.

    I’m far more angry at the circumstances that make them feel like they need to denounce or qualify feminism (when, by nature of the words they are speaking, they are ALL feminists) than I am at them for saying these things.

  25. I’m just popping in to express my gratitude for Rebel Girls in general and this great list specifically. Thank you, Carmen! This list reminds me of the podcast Backtalk (Bitch Media), in which one contributor makes the “white feminism” siren noise every time they discuss the myriad ways in which white folks fail at intersectional feminism.

  26. I suspect one reason the older actresses deny feminism as a necessary and potent force in their lives and in the lives of all females is because they birthed sons. Since the dawn of human history, having a small male in their body always makes some women do and say stupid things.

  27. I just wanted to thank everyone for that very thought provoking and nuanced discussion, this comment section has been quite the ride!

  28. I was so glad to see that Patricia Arquette apologized for her statements recently and revised her stance. Some proof that we’re not all just shouting into the void here!

  29. Whyyyy Meryl? Does she not see the irony of making those comments while she’s promoting the SUFFRAGETTE movie?????

    I’ll cut a little slack to Shailene Woodley because she’s young, not completely established in male- dominated Hollywood, and because she still has a lot of time to learn, but all the older celebrities should no better. My heart is gonna break, and I had no idea Kate said that!

    Thank God we have people like Ellen Page, Beyonce, Geena Davis, and Emma Watson for girls to look up to, as well as male allies like Daniel Radcliffe, Mark Ruffalo, Aziz Ansari, and others for showing what allyship looks like.

  30. Well, they’re celebrities. They have no touch of the real world. They don’t have hourly wages, annual salaries or maturity leave to fight for. If their in a hit show or movie, with syndication, they are set for life.

    They are there to entertain us.

    The real female role models are the scientists, supreme court judges, teachers, activists and all the women making a difference. These women truly understand and see the issues women still face.

  31. I wanna preface this by saying that I heart the Autostradle community and have so much love for the staff and editors who work so hard to keep this community running. That said, I’m gonna have to disagree with you here.

    Autostraddle, when you sell Misandrist t-shirts even though some members of our community are men (yes, trans men ARE men), you don’t really get to take the high moral ground and judge women who define feminism differently than you do. And Carmen, maybe hating men is not “the worst thing ever,” but it sure isn’t going to help fight against the oppression you write about. I’m sure you are aware that fear of black and brown men has been used to justify police brutality and worse – think of all the black men who were assaulted or even lynched in the name of protecting white women. Please explain to me how male privilege benefited young men like Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray. Please explain to me how we rightfully can label Trump a bigot for scapegoating a large segment of the population for the crimes of a few, but have no problem doing the same 50% of the population. Or don’t don’t explain to me, because “it’s no one’s job to educate me.”

    • Selling a misandrist t-shirt when you don’t believe that misandry exists isn’t exactly proof that you hate men.

      Although do educate yourself on why racism isn’t proof that male privilege doesn’t exist. No one ever claimed that male privilege was the elder wand. We can oppose all the horrible -isms (racism, classism, sexism etc) and still make the odd facetious remark. What’s infuriating about women rushing to reassure people they don’t hate men when they talk about feminism is that it reinforces the idea that being a feminist means you do hate men unless you remember to add a disclaimer every time the topic comes up.

      I envy my straight friends for their ability to say “I hate men” and not be taken 100% seriously.

      • I think the only thing reinforcing the idea that feminists hate men, is feminists saying that they hate men. And I don’t deny that male privilege exists.

        • Feminist saying they don’t hate men reinforces it, too. To borrow a great Sarah Silverman analogy, it plants a seed. “It’s like if you were to say, ‘hey, when you get in the shower, I’m not going to read your diary.'”

          Because the thing is that hating men has nothing to do with feminism. There are feminists out there with blue eyes, and with brown eyes. There are feminists out there, I guess, who hate men, and those who “love” men (those designations are starting to sound really meaningless, too tho — like are we talking about all men, or what? Who really hates ALL men? Who really LOVES all men? Where do these people live? [Besides tumblr]). But neither eye color nor our relationships with the individual men in our lives are characteristics of feminism.

          It’s like when people say, in response to criticisms of police racism and brutality, “but the cops I know are really good people.” Great! We have no beef with those people individually. But the system they are a part of is huge problem.

          It also reminds me of when I was first coming out and (I’m sorry everyone) said things like, “I like girls. But I mean, not, like, butch women.” The subtext was, “I’m not THAT kind of lesbian — not the threatening kind.” But I guess I really was, because butch women are hot, my girlfriends are usually masculine of center, and if that threatens you, it’s not my problem. Coming out as LGBT or as a feminist, WITHOUT worrying about whether people’s comfort level will be rocked by your disregard for the status quo — that’s so freeing, and so important.

          • I can definitely agree with you that hating or loving men has nothing to do with feminism. My definition of feminist is someone who strives for gender equality. I think we have some common ground in that we all oppose the patriarchal system that privileges the masculine and degrades the feminine.

            I kinda see your point now that you use the analogy of “I’m not THAT kind of lesbian.” I think in the future, instead of specifying that I’m a feminist “who doesn’t hate men,” I can say that I’m a feminist who supports equality for people of every gender (which is also more trans-inclusive).

    • “I’m sure you are aware that fear of black and brown men has been used to justify police brutality and worse – think of all the black men who were assaulted or even lynched in the name of protecting white women. Please explain to me how male privilege benefited young men like Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray.”

      Ehhhhhhh I really hate this argument. People can be both privileged and oppressed by their various identities at the same time. White women still face sexism, but they benefit from white privilege. Black men face racism, but they still benefit from the patriarchy, although its largely in-community ways where thats relevent as opposed to a white man benefitting in society. The thing you’re arguing has been used to silence black women when we try to speak on the ways we’ve experience sexism from black men.

      Also, to that last sentence, one way that male privilege as benefitted them is that you know their names. There are campaigns for them, slogans, t-shirts, national coverage. Justice was sought for them. How many of the many black women who were abused by the police this year can you name? Why did a song that came from the #sayhername movement repeat “say his name” in the chorus? Why are all the people who speak on news networks about blacklivesmatter or other activist groups black men, despite the fact that these movements are largely created by black woman, black queer woman a lot of times. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t know the names of the men who have been victims of police brutality, you absolutely should, but it is to say that its not a coincidence that their lives have been prioritized over black women who experience the same sort of violence, in addition to sexual violence from the police.

  32. It’s the ingenious biscuit sharing scheme. Yeahh. Rules are as follows:

    1. Everyone must share the biscuits equally
    2. Some people can have more biscuits than others
    3. People with more biscuits are not obliged to share equally

    Membership is open now and comes at no personal cost.

  33. What continues to stun me is how many women are completely CLUELESS as to what feminism even means. The women listed here have clearly internalized/bought into the patriarchal vilifying of feminism and are consequently all too happy to distance themselves from it in the name of this lame-ass “humanism”, which is just feminism being ashamed of itself.

    It’s pitiful and quite disheartening, really. I wish I could un-know what you have made known to me! (esp about Meryl and Susan, omg.)

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