It feels like every day a new celebrity updates her feminist status, providing a quote about why she does or does not consider herself a feminist. Just a few weeks ago, Oscar-winner Meryl Streep made headlineswhen she stated, after being asked if she's a feminist, 'I am a humanist, I am for nice easy balance.' It's confusing, really, to keep up with who considers herself what and why, so to make the whole thing a lot easier, we created this handy Venn diagram:
Women Who Say They're Feminists:
Sheryl Sandberg: 'I embrace the word 'feminism.' I didn't do it earlier in my career and I talk about why in the book [Lean In], but I embrace it now because what feminism is, is a belief that the world should be equal, that men and women should have equal opportunity... If you understand that definition, it's incumbent upon all of us to be feminists—men and women.'
Lena Dunham: 'The idea of being a feminist—so many women have come to this idea of it being anti-male and not able to connect with the opposite sex—but what feminism is about is equality and human rights. For me that is just an essential part of my identity. I hope [Girls] contributes to a continuance of feminist dialogue.'
Amy Poehler: 'I think some big actors and musicians feel like they have to speak to their audience and that word is confusing to their audience. But I don't get it. That's like someone being like, 'I don't really believe in cars, but I drive one every day and I love that it gets me places and makes life so much easier and faster and I don't know what I would do without it.'
Ellen Page: 'I don't know why people are so reluctant to say they're feminists. Maybe some women just don't care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word? 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.'
Miley Cyrus: 'There's a lot of talk about feminism. People want to take that word and make it a bad thing, but it's the greatest thing ever! Of course you're a feminist, you know?'
Zooey Deschanel: 'I'm just being myself. There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say. We can't be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f--king feminist and wear a f--king Peter Pan collar. So f--king what?'
Emma Watson: 'For the record, feminism by definition is: 'The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.' It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me.'
Women Who Say They're Not Feminists:
Shailene Woodley: '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.'
Geri Halliwell: '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.'
Carrie Underwood: '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—I have sisters but they're a lot older than me—an only child. I feel like that contributes to how I handle myself and how I carry myself.'
Lady Gaga: 'I'm not a feminist. I hail men, I love men, I celebrate American male culture—beer, bars, and muscle cars.'
Meghan Trainor: 'I don't consider myself a feminist.'
Marion Cotillard: '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.'
Marissa Mayer: 'I don't think that I would consider myself a feminist. I think that, I certainly believe in equal rights. I believe that women are just as capable, if not more so, in a lot of different dimensions. But I don't, I think, have sort of the militant drive and sort of the chip on the shoulder that sometimes comes with that. And I think it's too bad, but I do think feminism has become, in many ways, a more negative word. There are amazing opportunities all over the world for women, and I think that there's more good that comes out of positive energy around that than negative energy.'
Kaley Cuoco: '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.'
Women Who Said They Weren't Feminists, But Now Say They Are Feminists, AKA Feminist Recanters:
Katy Perry, Not-So-Feminist: 'I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.'
Katy Perry, Feminist: 'A feminist? Um, yeah, actually...I used to not really understand what that word meant, and now that I do, it just means that I love myself as a female and I also love men.'
Beyoncé, Not-So-Feminist: 'That word can be very extreme … I do believe in equality … But I'm happily married. I love my husband.'
Beyoncé, Feminist: 'I've always considered myself a feminist, although I was always afraid of that word because people put so much on it,' Beyoncé says. 'When honestly, it's very simple. It's just a person that believes in equality for men and women. Men and women balance each other out, and we have to get to a point where we are comfortable with appreciating each other.'
Taylor Swift, Not-So-Feminist: '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.'
Taylor Swift, Feminist: '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.'
Women Who Say They're Something Else:
Madonna: 'I'm not a feminist, I'm a humanist.'
Demi Moore: '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. '
Susan Sarandon: 'I think of myself as a humanist because I think it's less alienating to people who think of feminism as being a load of strident bullshit and because you want everyone to have equal pay, equal rights, education and healthcare," Sarandon has said. "It's a bit of an old-fashioned word.'
Meryl Streep: 'I am a humanist, I am for nice easy balance.'
Sarah Jessica Parker: '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.'
The meaning of 'feminism,' as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is as follows: 'The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.' Somewhere along the way, however, feminism got a bad rep, and people, even women became confused about what it means to be a feminist.
Do you think men are great? Do you think women are great? Do you think men and women should be able to have the same access to the same great things? If you answered yes to those questions then, guess what? You are a feminist! Which is great, because it's not about man-hating or bra-burning or being mad or liking/not liking beer. And it's not a bad thing, which is good, because if we're going by the Merriam-Webster definition of the word 'feminist', I think that Venn diagram would, more accurately, look like this:
Words: Sally Holmes
Source: ELLE US