For a number of reasons, many people in today’s society are afraid to identify themselves as feminists. Both men and women seem to flee from the term in fear of also being categorized as crazy, delusional, or what many consider to be worse, a “feminazi.”
The media plays a large role when it comes to creating negative connotations and stereotypes for what it truly means to be a feminist. When celebrities and pop culture icons publicly dismiss and discredit the feminist school of thought, as well as those who identify as feminists, the people who look up to and idolize said celebrities will most likely soon begin to discredit feminism themselves.
Although there are a number of men and women in the media who portray and view feminism in a negative light, there are plenty of other amazing celebrities, both male and female, who use their heavy media presence as a way to campaign and fight for gender equality.
Many of the celebrities who do the most talking about feminism in interviews and on various social media platforms do seem to be women, but there are also a fair amount of male stars who just as proudly consider themselves to be feminists. Even still, many men seem to shy away from the term.
Payal Patel, a senior political science student, thinks that a lot of males are afraid to identify themselves as feminists “because people consistently identify feminism as a radical bra burning movement, but they fail to realize that it’s not that intense.” Patal continued, “It’s basically believing in equal rights for all sexes and, to be honest, I find nothing radical about that.”
Regardless of the “bra burning” image that many people think of when the topic of feminism is brought up, there are a number of influential men in popular culture today who defy the stereotype and make it a priority to stand up against gender inequity.
1. Aziz Ansari
As one of the funniest comedians and television actors today, Aziz Ansari uses his celebrity status to teach people about feminism. In his most recent stand-up tour, he spent a majority of the show talking about how creepy men can be and how they need to quit following women around on the streets.
Ansari is beginning to realize how serious of an issue sexism is, so he’s doing his best to address it as often as possible. In an interview with Cosmo, he explained, “Sexism stuff doesn’t get that same gasp that racist stuff gets sometimes, and that’s something to keep in mind.”
2. Matthew McGorry
Better known for his role as John Bennett on Orange Is The New Black, McGorry revealed on Twitter several months ago, “I am embarrassed to admit that I only recently discovered the ACTUAL definition of feminism. Being a feminist is for both men and women. I AM A FEMINIST.”
Even male celebrities who typically land roles as the “tough guy” are able to understand the importance of feminism.
3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly love him anymore, it turns out that Joseph Gordon-Levitt proudly identifies as a feminist. While making an appearance on Ellen, Gordon-Levitt revealed that his mother raised him and his brother to be feminists.
“She would always point out […] that our culture often does portray women like objects…she wanted me and my brother to be aware of it because we see these images on TV, in the movies and on magazines all the time.” Gordon-Levitt’s early recognition of the sexualization of women lead him to become a full-time fighter for gender equality as an adult.
4. Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe has moved on from the world of wizardry and is now pursuing a lifetime full of feminism and gender equality. On several occasions, he has openly discussed the misogyny behind the idea of the “friend-zone,” and even about the severe lack of female writers and directors in the film industry.
As if being British wasn’t already enough of a selling point, Benedict Cumberbatch openly and proudly identifies as a feminist and has even been seen wearing a shirt that reads “This is what a feminist looks like.”
5. Benedict Cumberbatch
Not only that, but his fans, who are mostly female, are sometimes referred to as “Cumberb*tches,” but Cumberbatch isn’t really on board with that nickname. He explained in an interview, “It’s not even politeness. I won’t allow you to be my b*tches. I think it sets feminism back so many notches. You are…Cumberpeople.”
Although feminism is not just for women, it seems that many people think that way. If more men in the media, like the ones mentioned above, were not afraid to educate themselves and identify as feminists, we would be one step closer to ridding the world of gender inequality.
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