Celebrities like Cardi B, Rihanna and Demi Lovato are proud to call themselves feminists and have made powerful statements in the media about equal rights for men and women. And sometimes, these celebs even use their clothing to make a statement — slogan T-shirts are becoming exceedingly popular.
Yet other female celebs surprisingly shy away from the “feminist” label. Maybe they don’t understand what it means to be a feminist, maybe they don’t realize how many women, for generations before them, fought for the privileges that they now enjoy. Whatever the reason, it’s mind-boggling that some women refuse to label themselves as a feminist — and how many so-called “feminist icons” have distanced themselves from the word. But, alas, here are those people:
20. Katy Perry
Katy Perry apparently just doesn’t like the word feminist, because she claimed during a 2012 luncheon for the Billboard‘s Women In Music, “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.” Seems a little off-brand, but alas…
19. Kaley Cuoco
Kaley Cuoco earned herself a lot of criticism in 2014 when she told Redbook that she wasn’t a feminist. When asked if she identifies as a feminist, Cuoco said, “Is it bad if I say no?” She then continued, “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 it was something that she was forced to think about, because days later she took to Instagram to apologize for her comments, and claimed that they had been taken out of context.
18. Kelly Clarkson
Rather than simply say she was not a feminist, Kelly Clarkson went to great lengths to distance herself from the word, telling Time magazine, “I wouldn’t say [I’m a] feminist, that’s too strong. I think when people hear feminist it’s just like, ‘Get out of my way I don’t need anyone.’ I love that I’m being taken care of, and I have a man that’s an actual leader. I’m not a feminist in that sense … but I’ve worked really hard since I was 19, when I first auditioned for Idol.”
17. Sarah Jessica Parker
The reasons Sarah Jessica Parker gave to Marie Claire during a 2016 interview about why she’s not a feminist are incredibly confusing. She said, “I am not a feminist. I don’t think I qualify. I believe in women and I believe in equality, but I think there is so much that needs to be done that I don’t even want to separate it anymore. I’m so tired of separation.”
16. Demi Moore
Rather than identify as a feminist, Demi Moore chooses to identify as something else entirely. She claims to be a humanist — someone who values human beings collectively and equally. According to Metro, she said, “I am a great supporter of women, but I have never really thought of myself as a feminist, probably more of a humanist because I feel like that’s really where we need to be.”
15. Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell’s statement about not identifying as a feminist is odd. During an interview with Jian Ghomeshi on CBC Radio’s Q, she said, “I’m not a feminist … I don’t want to get a posse against men. I’ve got a lot of men friends. Too many amazons in that community. The feminism in this continent isn’t feminine, it’s masculine. Our feminism isn’t feminism, it’s masculinism.”
It seems that she has a bit of a confusing definition of what feminism really means. Not to mention her statement about women in North America not being feminine. Confused.
14. Lana Del Rey
Apparently Lana Del Rey is more interested in space programs than women’s rights, and that’s troubling for many reasons. During an interview with Fader, she said, “Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like, god. I’m just not really that interested. 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 … My idea of a true feminist is a woman who feels free enough to do whatever she wants.” Wow.
13. Melissa Leo
American actress Melissa Leo also has thoughts about feminism, and she apparently believes that all it does is end up labeling something. During an interview with Salon, she said, “Well, I don’t think of myself as a feminist at all. As soon as we start labeling and categorizing ourselves and others, that’s going to shut down the world. I would never say that.”
12. Salma Hayek
Salma Hayek does a lot of good work in the world, and she has won an award at the
Equality Now at the Make Equality Reality. But the strange thing about this is that after recieving the award, she told People that she doesn’t much like to call herself a feminist (despite fighting for equal rights). She said, “I am not a feminist. If men were going through the things women are going through today, I would be fighting for them with just as much passion. I believe in equality.”
11. Evangeline Lilly
In 2014, Evangeline Lilly told HuffPost Entertainment that she’s not a feminist because she’s a woman. She said, “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.”
10. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s reason for not being a quote-unquote feminist is because she apparently likes men. And this seems to be a common misconception surrounding feminism because people think that if you identify as a feminist, you are automatically a man-hater.
During an interview with Daily Beast, she responded to a question about whether she was a feminist by saying, “I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.”
9. Marion Cotillard
During an interview with Porter magazine, Marion Cotillard revealed that she did not identify as a feminist, and that she didn’t think that there was a problem with the lack of diversity in films — she claimed that filmmaking wasn’t about “gender.”
About feminism, she said, “For me it doesn’t create equality, it creates separation. I mean, I don’t qualify myself as a feminist.” She then added, “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.”
8. Lady Gaga
Being a feminist doesn’t mean you hate men. In fact, according to the definition found in the Merriam Webster dictionary, this is what feminism (noun) means: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”
So, that’s the definition. And here’s how Lady Gaga seemed to misinterpreted it. In 2009, during an interview with Los Angeles Times, she said, “I’m not a feminist. I hail men, I love men, I celebrate American male culture – beer, bars, and muscle cars.”
7. Carrie Underwood
Apparently, Carrie Underwood has an issue with the word feminism. She reportedly told BANG Showbiz, “I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am a feminist, that can come off as a negative connotation. But I am a strong female. My parents raised me to be pretty independent and I grew up…”
6. Carla Bruni
Former French first lady, Carla Bruni, who is married to Nicolas Sarkozy, claimed that she’s not a feminist because she’s a part of a different generation. She was born in 1967, so she obviously feels that the struggles of women are long over.
She said during an interview with Vogue, “[My generation] doesn’t need feminism. There are pioneers who opened the breach. I’m not at all an active feminist. On the contrary, I’m a bourgeois. I love family life, I love doing the same thing every day.”
According to Björk, feminism to her feels like it’s associated with complaining. She told Bust,
“[I don’t identify as a feminist] because I think it would isolate me. I think it’s important to do positive stuff. It’s more important to be asking than complaining.”
She later added that you could call her mother a feminist, and her reason was that apparently she “watched her isolate herself all her life from men, and therefore from society.”
4. Shailene Woodley
Shailene Woodley is a smart, talented young woman, but she seems to think of feminism as a dirty word. She made her feelings clear during an interview with Time magazine, where she revealed that she definitely doesn’t identify as a feminist.
Her reason? Apparently, it’s because she loves men. She said, “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.”
3. Meghan Trainor
Another celeb who refuses to identify as a feminist is Meghan Trainor. During a Billboard magazine profile, she confessed that while she encourages people to love themselves, she doesn’t have much to say about feminism. She said, “I don’t consider myself a feminist.” Um, OK then.
It’s especially surprising considering that her songs boost empowerment, especially “No” — which many say would be a feminist anthem IF the singer were a feminist.
There was a time when Beyoncé reacted to a question about being a feminist by saying, “I don’t really feel that it’s necessary to define it. It’s just something that’s kind of natural for me, and I feel like… you know… it’s, like, what I live for. I need to find a catchy new word for ‘feminism’, right? Like ‘bootylicious’”
But while she told Harper’s Bazaar U.K. this in 2011, she has since changed her tune, and even used the word in her tour (she danced in front of bright letters spelling out the word “feminist”). In 2016 she explained to Elle what someone who is a feminist really is, saying, “I’m not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it’s very simple. It’s someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. I don’t understand the negative connotation of the word, or why it should exclude the opposite sex.”
1. Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice)
The Spice Girls were known for their empowering, girl power messages — which makes putting Ginger Spice on this list of non-feminists pretty tragic. Perhaps the absolute worst quote about feminism was saved for last because Geri Halliwell’s comments on the term are so bad that they are almost laughable.
When asked if she was a feminist during a 2007 interview with The Guardian, she said that she doesn’t enjoy labeling. And the explained why: “It’s about labeling. For me, feminism is bra-burning lesbianism. It’s very unglamorous. I’d like to see it rebranded. We need to see a celebration of our femininity and softness.”
…. I CAN’T.