2014 was the year of the feminism pull quote. It seems like there wasn’t a single interview conducted with a female celebrity where the question didn’t come up. Hopefully, this trend will end in 2015, as the magazines have definitely gotten more than enough mileage out of the Are you a feminist/What does feminism mean to you/Everyone’s doing womaning wrong headlines. But as sick as we all are of this conversation, something very important was brought to light because of it.
A lot of people still have no idea what the f*cking word means.
Now, before you jump down my throat, YES. Feminism is a complicated issue with myriad different, often conflicting facets. There are undertones of classism and racism caught up in the various historic feminism movements. But whatever definition of whatever form of feminism you choose to go with, none of them involve women being better or stronger or smarter than men. Feminism does not mean turning the world into that Sliders episode where everyone’s trying to get a piece of Jerry O’Connell’s D because men have been eradicated. Yet here are five times last year when that seemed to be the approved definition.
5. That time Robert Downey Jr put feminism in the same category as leprechauns and the babadook
You bastard. Yeah, that’s all make believe, son.
4. Shailene Woodley, for perpetuating the worst feminism myth.
No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance. With myself, I’m very in touch with my masculine side. And I’m 50 percent feminine and 50 percent masculine, same as I think a lot of us are. And I think that is important to note. And also I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance.
My biggest thing is really sisterhood more than feminism. I don’t know how we as women expect men to respect us because we don’t even seem to respect each other. There’s so much jealousy, so much comparison and envy. And “This girl did this to me and that girl did that to me.” And it’s just so silly and heartbreaking in a way.
3. Lana Del Rey is so bored with feminism.
For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept. I’m more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities. Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like, god. I’m just not really that interested.
2. Evangeline Lilly doesn’t know how words work.
I’m very proud of being a woman, and as a woman, I don’t even like the word feminism because when I hear that word, I associate it with women trying to pretend to be men, and I’m not interested in trying to pretend to be a man. I don’t want to embrace manhood, I want to embrace my womanhood.
1. Kaley Cuoco slipped this one in just under the wire, and walked away with the win.
Is it bad if I say no? It’s not really something I think about. Things are different now, and I know a lot of the work that paved the way for women happened before I was around… I was never that feminist girl demanding equality, but maybe that’s because I’ve never really faced inequality. I cook for Ryan five nights a week: It makes me feel like a housewife; I love that. I know it sounds old-fashioned, but I like the idea of women taking care of their men. I’m so in control of my work that I like coming home and serving him. My mom was like that, so I think it kind of rubbed off.
For balance (because feminism is about balance, and equality, and cutting men’s balls off— Right? That’s what I’ve learned so far), I wanted to put in some truly awesome things that celebrities have said. But in looking over the year’s quotes, I found that this discussion wasn’t balanced. There were far more people being sane and smart and standing up for not just a word, but what it represents.
When Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez learned what the word meant
Twitter person: would you call yourself a feminist?
Gina: I’m definitely a strong women. But full feminist, probably not.
Other Twitter Person: …u do realize a feminist is someone who wants equal rights between men and women, right?
Gina: Clearly not. Then I am.
How Kristen Stewart cares about feminism, at least to the middling, noncommittal degree that she seems to care about anything:
I know what you mean. That’s such a strange thing to say, isn’t it? Like, what do you mean? Do you not believe in equality for men and women? I think it’s a response to overly-aggressive types. There are a lot of women who feel persecuted and go on about it, and I sometimes am like, “Honestly, just relax, because now you’re going in the other direction.” Sometimes, the loudest voice in the room isn’t necessarily the one you should listen to. By our nature alone, think about what you’re saying and say it—but don’t scream in people’s faces, because then you’re discrediting us.
Jennifer Aniston on why the idea of feminism is so complicated
Because people overcomplicate it. It’s simply believing in equality between men and women. Pretty basic.
Joss Whedon is legitimately baffled by misogyny.
You know, it’s one of those things that’s always surprising. I was raised by a very strong woman, I didn’t know feminism was actually a thing until I left home and found out the country didn’t run the way my mom’s house did. So I have this goldfish, idiot, forgetful thing in that every time I’m confronted with true misogyny, I’m stunned. I’m like, Really? That’s like, I don’t believe in airplanes. It’s like, What century are you from? I don’t get it. So usually I’m shocked, then occasionally amused, then occasionally extremely not amused, but once I get over the shock, it’s very clear that misogyny in our own culture — and not just where they perform genital mutilation and marry off 10-year-olds — runs so deep. When I see this hate bubbling up towards any kind of progress, my reaction is twofold: First, it’s horror, and then, it’s delight, because you don’t get this kind of anger unless real change is actually happening. It is a chaotic time. It’s an ugly time because change is happening. It would be lovely to be living after the change has happened.
Aziz Ansari breaks it down in terms everyone can understand: Beyoncé terms.
If you look up feminist in the dictionary, it just means someone who believes men and women have equal rights. And I feel that everyone here believes men and women have equal rights. You’re a feminist if you go to a Jay-Z and Beyoncé concert and you’re not like, ‘I feel like Beyoncé should get 23 percent less money than Jay-Z. Also, I don’t think Beyoncé should have the right to vote and why is Beyoncé singing and dancing? Shouldn’t she make Jay a steak?’
Taylor Swift’s “feminist awakening”
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. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. 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. Becoming friends with Lena - without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for - has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt doesn’t even understand the hubbub.
Coming out against the label? Wow. I guess I’m not aware of that. What that means to me is that you don’t let your gender define who you are—you can be who you want to be, whether you’re a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whatever. However you want to define yourself, you can do that and should be able to do that, and no category ever really describes a person because every person is unique. That, to me, is what “feminism” means. So yes, I’d absolutely call myself a feminist. 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.
Keira Knightley said maybe my favorite thing ever.
There is an under-representation of our stories, just as there is an under-representation of us in politics and in business and everywhere. That’s what feminism is [to me] right now - the recognition that we are still not equal. I absolutely love guys. I love hanging out around them - well, not all of them, some of them are d**kheads - but you know, the ones that I love, I love. But you have to recognize that the playing field isn’t even yet, and it does have to be even. And you can still like clothes.
Duh, Leighton Meester is a feminist.
Yeah, it shouldn’t be some sort of sensational news item,” and added, “It’s something that I think all people should say about themselves.
The big thing about feminism is that it scares men. I want to be clear: feminism is not saying women are better than men. That’s not what’s going. Some people totally see it as that… I kind of relate it to slavery. Or even civil rights. Let’s not even go back to slavery, let’s go to civil rights—the people who were silent at the lunch counters, when it was the black lunch counter and the white one or the schools were segregated…and you were quiet. You were accepting it. Same thing with men right now. If you don’t say anything, you are, by your silence—it’s acceptance. I’m not going to be silent.
Emma Watson and the U f*cking N
I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.
Why is the word such an uncomfortable one? I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights.