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6 Celebrities Who Aren’t Afraid to Call Themselves Feminists

6 Celebrities Who Aren’t Afraid to Call Themselves Feminists

I am a feminist. I am not afraid to say it. In fact, I wear the label proudly.

I know I am not alone, but I also know that the word feminist gets a bad rap and that often times people choose not to identify with it for fear of what others would think. Fortunately, there are some A-list stars that embrace the label regardless of what others think.

Take a look at my list of top celebrity feminists:

1. Toni Collette

Photo credit: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Flickr

Toni Collette is one of my favorite actresses. I recently started and finished watching United  States of Tara (so disappointed the series wasn’t picked up for an additional season) and thoroughly enjoyed her most recent movie The Way Way Back. What I enjoy the most about her though is her recent declaration as a feminist, a label many Hollywood women (and women everywhere) are often too afraid to make.

I’ve recently realized that I really am a feminist. For years people would say to me, ‘You are! You are! You really are!’ And I’d say, ‘No, I’m not. I’m a humanist. I think it’s sexist to say I’m a feminist.’ Now, I see a great imbalance not only in my industry, but also in the world at large. I want to change it.

Yes! There is a great imbalance in Hollywood and we need women like Collette to change it.

In discussing our society’s obsession with appearance Collette says:

I believe the more important thing is your mind and your heart. Those two things are the most ignored parts of our beings. I think there’s a huge imbalance in where the focus is placed in today’s society, absolutely. The people who are most attractive to me are those who feel most comfortable in their skin — there’s a sense of self-acceptance.

It’s no surprise that society places a huge emphasis on women’s appearances and that Hollywood is an even bigger culprit, so it’s a refreshing reminder from Collette that we should focus on our inner beauty.

2. Dustin Hoffman

Photo credit: Garry Knight on Flickr

When Dustin Hoffman was approached to be in the movie Tootsie he had one stipulation – make him look like a woman.

The studio agreed to do some make-up tests prior to shooting and what happened next changed his life. In recalling the experience, Hoffman says:

When we got the that point and looked at it on screen I was shocked that I wasn’t more attractive and I said now you have me looking like a woman, now make me a beautiful woman because I thought I should be beautiful if I was going to be a woman. I would want to be as beautiful as possible.

And they said to me, ‘That’s as good as it gets. That’s as beautiful as we can get you.’

It was at that moment I had an epiphany, and I went home and started crying. Talking to my wife, I said I have to make this picture, and she said, ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Because I think I am an interesting woman when I look at myself on screen. And I know that if I met myself at a party, I would never talk to that character because she doesn’t fulfill physically the demands that we’re brought up to think women have to have in order for us to ask them out.’ She says, ‘What are you saying?’ And I said, ‘There’s too many interesting women I have…not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.”

The societal pressure women feel to look a certain way to be beautiful surrounds us every day, but it effects us all. I just became a Hoffman fan for life.

3. Ellen Page

Ellen Page by Ninha Morandini on Wikimedia Commons

While there are many that shy away from the feminist label, there are others that proudly declare it.

Ellen Page is one of those women.

In an interview with The Guardian, Page delves into many feminist issues, including:

1. Access to emergency contraception

So u r super mad about a 15 yr old girl being able to prevent pregnancy BUT you want everyone to have guns no questions asked? U funny!

2. The under-representation of women in movies

Only 23% of speaking roles in films today are for women. It feels we’ve gone backwards…she has started writing her own script ‘which is definitely feminist – definitely. But of course, if you just write a script in which the woman has control over her destiny and love isn’t the main thing in the film, that’s seen as super feminist.’

3. Sexism in Hollywood

It’s constant! It’s how you’re treated, it’s how you’re looked at, how you’re expected to look in a photo shoot, it’s how you’re expected to shut up and not have an opinion…if you’re a girl and you don’t fit the very specific vision of what a girl should be, which is always from a man’s perspective, then you’re a little bit at a loss.

4. Reluctancy of women to identify as feminists

I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists…but how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?…Feminism always gets associated with being a radical movement – good. It should be. A lot of what the radical feminists [in the 1970s] were saying, I don’t disagree with it.

Page is such a great example of a young actress who is knowledgeable and passionate about feminist issues.

4. Geena Davis

Geena Davis has played many empowering roles on the big screen, from professional women’s baseball player during World War II to President on the United States.

Unfortunately, these types of roles are a rarity for women, but it is Davis’ mission to equal the playing field on screen for her daughter’s sake and for those of girls around the world through her work with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

On why creating the institute was so important, Davis says:

I had a very big lesson early on about how powerful media images can be and how important it is to see women doing powerful and interesting things. So when I had a daughter 10 years ago, and when she was a toddler, I watched G-rated movies with her. I noticed this huge gender disparity, which most people seem to be really unaware of.  We’re feeding kids this image of society where boys vastly outnumber girls in what they see from the very beginning, which really doesn’t make any sense to me.

So, how can we create more equality on screen?

Davis says it all boils down to one thing – feminism!

It’s all about feminism. Feminism simply means equal social and political status for men and women. There’s nothing radical about it or about using that word or having that as a goal. We’re simply trying to elevate the status of the female characters to equal. We take up half the space in the world so it would be great to see roughly half of characters be female.

According to estimates from Davis’ institute, we will not reach parity on screen for another 700 years at the rate we are going. That is simply unacceptable.

5. Amy Poehler

Photo Credit: David Shankbone on Flickr

Amy Poehler is known for many things – Saturday Night Live, Parks & Recreation, Mean Girls. But did you know that she also created an online platform call Smart Girls at the Party where the motto is to “change the world by being yourself”?

The site is amazing and leaves you feeling so good. Not only does she do interviews with real smart girls, but she also answers viewers’ questions through her Ask Amy series. This is one of my favorites:

If Smart Girls at the Party doesn’t convince you that Poehler is a feminist, her answer below on the questions will:

Yes, I consider myself a feminist, and it informs my work only in that it’s just who I am, in the same way that I’m a woman, or I’m 5’2″ or whatever. I was lucky that I came through a system that had many people who did much more hard work and road-clearing before I got there.

This is one of the best answers I have every read about being a feminist.

6. Patrick Stewart

Photo Credit: David Shankbone on Flickr

You may know Patrick Stewart from X-men or Star-Trek, but I know him as an advocate for ending violence against women. He has been passionate about the issue for years and talks openly about violence in his childhood and how he advocates on behalf of women in honor of his own mother who faced violence at home.

Stewart is now working with Ring the Bell to get one million men to make one million promises to end violence against women.

Watch the videos below and see why he is a feminist yourself!

Who are your favorite feminist celebrities?

Related from Care2:

5 A-List Stars Get Real About Body Image in Hollywood

McCarthy Finally Responds to Being Called a Female Hippo

Stereotypes on Screen: Where Are All The Female Role Models?

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142 comments

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10:07PM PDT on Sep 30, 2014

Stop feminism! By the way, no wonder that Ellen Page is a feminist.It is, after all, a lesbian.

5:44AM PST on Dec 9, 2013

I believe in equal rts, while maintaining a firm belief that we should celebrate and appreciate the incredible differences between the sexes. This coming from a father of a daughter and a son. I believe that we can do most of each other's potential jobs. However, I have the most incredible wife of 30 years (married 24) but I will never say I could do what she does as well as she does it. I also do not believe that she can be a father in the same way.
I don't hate feminists but I don't want to be in a foxhole with the opposite sex (emphasis, that I am not a soldier and greatly appreciate. ALL of those who are).
There are important truths to generalizations with exceptions to each, of course. However, the sexes she be treated equally as much as possible but we must not turn our heads away from the differences that our helpful to us as a species. My wife is amazing; she is my equal - in fact better than me; but I want her to know - I don't want her to compete with me either; nor should the sexes do so on every front.
Bless the fact that it takes two to make one. I am grateful that we did twice and that she did that which I can not and that which I can not do as well.

6:10PM PST on Nov 25, 2013

"You may know Patrick Stewart from X-men or Star-Trek, but I know him as an advocate for violence against women." Oh really? As the rest of the article points out, he is very much the opposite, an advocate for ENDING violence against women. Why haven't you corrected this ridiculous error since the last time this article was posted in July?


5:52PM PST on Nov 25, 2013

Good for them!

Here's a dictionary definition of *feminism*:

": the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

: organized activity in support of women's rights and interests"

Too many people, some of whom say they support equal rights for women, wrongly think feminism equals man-hating, or women having more rights than men.

11:17AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

Awesome!

9:35AM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

well I have to have a lil rest now.i just finished going thru all the replies and responses,and i'm pooped. maybe one lil comment or two.mainly it's bout who should work where.i know lady lawyers and men onesand many are good some of both sexes are dumber than snot,and I wonder how they ever got their degree.same as lady police and man police.there are good un's and bad uns'.and you should really remember,women were not the reason the afore mentioned have some of the yucky reps they have.women did not start the good ole boy phalicy to control all from the beginning.so when it comes down to it allwe are in the shape we are cause of (men ???) naw lets go with males.the other word gives too much creditto the lesser half of the species.but to those who think men and women should be only in a male female profession,only. each has a place at times in the "others".one example,try the emergency room on a Saturday nite.mining town,two nurses, one doc, one orderley. three hundred fifty pound drunk , outta his tree.believe me you all suddenly become very equal.

1:02PM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

Respect and self worth are what makes us who we are,regardless of gender.

6:41AM PDT on Jul 23, 2013

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

6:18AM PDT on Jul 23, 2013

Vesna, (aka Past Member) Posting the same comments on different articles to get more butterfly credits?? Do you know what "illiterate" means? Unable to read and write. So commenters here who READ your responses and WRITE a comment of their own are hardly illiterate. Have a great life : )

4:35AM PDT on Jul 23, 2013

Why is everything always important because it is supported by actors/actresses? Do their opinions mean more than ours? I could care freakin less how they feel. It is how I feel that matters. I feel it is how normal, non-famous, non-billionaire, and non-known people who count the most. Why do famous people support any important reasons at all? I believe it is just to get their name out there, not because the support is in their heart. This is bullshit.

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