‘Feminism’ is defined as the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, and a ‘feminist’ is simply someone who supports such a theory. Notice how the term is not gender-specific? Yes, despite the shame the word feminist often (inexplicably) carries, men can be feminists too. Listed below are just a few male celebrities who use their platforms to promote women’s rights:
1. Bono: The front-man of U2 has been supporting women’s rights for decades. In 2004, he co-founded the ONE Campaign, a charitable organisation which tackles extreme poverty in Africa, providing particular support for HIV and AIDS sufferers, many of whom are women. In 2016, he founded another organisation named Poverty is Sexist, which specifically supports women living on less than $2 per day through struggles such as finding employment and keeping their families healthy. Controversially, his activism led him to be named the 2016 Glamour Man of the Year, an accolade which had only ever before been awarded to a woman.
2. Barack Obama: The 44th President of the USA was open about his feminist views throughout his presidency, saying that he hoped women and girls would have “no remaining ceilings to shatter” in future. In fact, the first bill he signed after being elected in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which helps women file equal pay lawsuits against employers if they aren’t being paid fairly.
3. Chris Martin: The face of Coldplay has signed up to curate the Global Citizen Festival, an international festival raising money for the Global Citizen campaign, until 2030. Global Citizen is an organisation that wants to eradicate extreme poverty globally and to promote women’s rights in order to achieve equality.
4. Daniel Craig: The actor currently portraying the infamous ladies’ man James Bond has openly condemned him as a misogynist, and supports the inclusion of strong female characters in the franchise.
5. John Legend: Legend is an advocate for gender parity, saying at the 2013 ‘Chime for Change’ Concert, ‘all men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights, the world will be a better place‘. His 2014 music video for ‘You & I (Nobody in the World)’ openly promotes female empowerment, with both female celebrities and ordinary women celebrating their individuality.
6. Ian Somerhalder: The Vampire Diaries actor is a vocal feminist, and has been partnered with the Girls Impact the World Film Festival since 2015, raising awareness of issues women and girls face by encouraging them to create their own short films. He was also one of the faces of the UK Women’s Aid ‘Real Man’ campaign against domestic violence 2011.
7. Ashton Kutcher: The actor is the co-founder of Thorn, an anti-trafficking organisation aimed at targeting the sexual exploitation of children. He has also spoken out against women’s sexual harassment in the workplace, and promotes female sexual expression in film.
8. The 14th Dalai Lama: In 2009, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism said in a speech in Tennessee that ‘I call myself a feminist. Isn’t that what you call someone who fights for women’s rights?‘
It’s true. At the end of the day, equal rights are what feminism is all about.