The men of Hollywood have been getting a bad rap lately, and in some cases, rightfully so. Thankfully not all famous men behave in an offensive or degrading way towards women. These male superstars are tackling gender stereotypes and eliminating the “boys club.” They have been outspoken in their support of women and women’s rights and are proud feminists. You go, guys!
One of the most outspoken feminists of his generation, Mark Ruffalo has been vocal on a variety of topics surrounding women, their reproductive rights, their right to vote and their place in Hollywood. Most recently he spoke about the lack of female figures or inaccurate portrayals of them in superhero films. He said “I think that what people might really be upset about is the fact that we need more superhuman women. The guys can do anything, they can have love affairs, they can be weak or strong and nobody raises an eyebrow. But when we do that with a woman, because there are so few storylines for women, we become hyper-critical of every single move that we make because there’s not much else to compare it to.”
In a 2016 essay for Glamour magazine, former President Barack Obama wrote a heartfelt, in-depth look at what it’s meant for him to be a feminist, along with his hopes for the future generations. “I want all of our daughters and sons to see that this too is their inheritance, he writes. “I want them to know that it’s never been just about the Benjamins; it’s about the Tubmans too. And I want them to help do their part to ensure that America is a place where every single child can make of her life what she will.”
Soulful crooner John Legend has been known to worship the women in his world, supermodel Chrissy Teigen and his baby girl, Luna. He expresses his love for them through social media, songs and music videos but he’s also all about men stepping up to support all women all over the world. in 2013 he performed at Sound of Change, which is a benefit concert to support Chime for Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women around the globe. During his performance he said, “All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights, the world will be a better place. We are better off when women are empowered — it leads to a better society.”
Funnyman Aziz Ansari spoke out for feminism during an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Inspired and informed by his chef girlfriend, Aziz declared himself a feminist on air. When asked what it meant to be a feminist he gave the greatest example of all time. He said, “You’re a feminist if you go to a Jay-Z and Beyoncé concert and you’re not like, ‘I feel like Beyoncé should get 23 percent less money than Jay-Z. Also, I don’t think Beyoncé should have the right to vote and why is Beyoncé singing and dancing? Shouldn’t she make Jay a steak?'”
Ashton Kutcher spoke out for women during a 2011 press event for his film, No Strings Attached. “I think there’s so much that’s not said about sex in our country, even from an educational level. The one thing they teach about is how to not get pregnant, but they don’t really talk about sex as a point of pleasure for women. Part of that creates a place where women aren’t empowered around their own sexuality and their own sexual selves, and from a purely entertainment point of view, to create a female lead that’s empowered with her own sexuality is a powerful thing.” He must make his wife Mila Kunis proud.
Justin Timberlake’s long been an advocate for women. But during his speech for the Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment breakfast in 2017 he said, “To the men in this room: I see a lot of great men who I also look up to. I think we actually are here because we deserve the opportunity to speak up, to stand when something is not right,” he said. “We need to go to work. It’s not our responsibility. It’s our privilege because at the end of the day if you can be lucky enough to be raised by a strong woman and convince a strong woman to marry you, you will realize that we are nothing without the strength of women.”
One Direction star gone solo artist, Harry Styles had some harsh words for critics who questioned the legitimacy of his young female fans. “Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going.” He continued by saying, “Teenage-girl fans – they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.” Harry has also been seen sporting a white shirt that reads “Women are smarter.”
Joseph Gordon Levitt
Hollywood heartthrob Joseph Gordon Levitt is so committed to the feminist cause, he made a Youtube video in 2017 explaining why it matters. He says, “I’d absolutely call myself a feminist. If you look at history, women are an oppressed category of people. There’s a long, long history of women suffering abuse, injustice and not having the same opportunities as men, and I think that’s been very detrimental to the human race as a whole. I’m a believer that if everyone has a fair chance to be what they want to be and do what they want to do, it’s better for everyone. It benefits society as a whole.”
As a child actor, Patrick Stewart regularly saw his father abusing his mother. Thankfully he’s been able to channel those horrific memories into advocating for others. For decades he’s worked with organizations like the United Nations to provide women with safety, security and a way out of abusive environments. “Most people find the idea of violence against women – and sometimes, though rarely, against men – abhorrent, but do nothing to challenge it, he says. “More women and children, just like my mother and me, will continue to experience domestic violence unless we all speak out against it. You can do this by supporting Refuge’s latest campaign, Four Ways to Speak Out.”
Not only has Daniel Radcliffe been an outspoken supporter of his costar Emma Watson’s campaign HeForShe and a frequent critic of the over-sexualization she receives from fans, he’s been speaking out for feminists for years now. “There’s seems to be a very recent thing that you come ‘out’ as a feminist,” he explained. “It’s a very weird thing. I mean, yes of course but I’m a feminist in as much as I’m an egalitarian about everything and I believe in meritocracy. I think anyone who isn’t at this point is just swimming against the tide just like people who are vaguely homophobic or racist or sexist or whatever it is, I just think ‘God, you’re still keeping that up? Give it up, you’ve lost.’
Comedian and writer Jay Baruchel has been outspoken about his support of strong, realistic female characters. “I do [prefer writing women characters], just because I’m a mama’s boy. I was raised by my mom and I’m constantly annoyed [by] how terribly written most females are in most everything — and especially in comedy. Their anatomy seems to be the only defining aspect of their character. So I take it upon myself to clean that shit up and write actual women. And I like writing strong women, because as a straight male, there’s nothing more attractive to me than a strong girl,” he says.
Ryan Gosling is practically the face of feminism at this point. With constant memes popping up and his own feminist Tumblr, he’s safely secured his spot as America’s favorite feminist. It might be because he says things like, “I think women are better than men. They are stronger, more evolved. You can tell especially when you have daughters and you see their early stages, they are just leaps and bounds beyond boys immediately.” Or the fact that he was outraged at the rating his film, Blue Valentine, received due to the portrayal of complex female sexuality. He claimed the MPAA is okay showing torture and violence towards women in films but not sensual scenarios that are complex and complicit.
The newly engaged royal Prince Harry may have won the beautiful Meghan Markle over thanks to his outspoken advocacy for women. While the royal family usually abstains from discussing political or social movements of any kind, Harry has spoken out in support of women’s rights. While visiting Nepal in 2016 he said, “There are way too many obstacles between girls and the opportunities they deserve. So many countries are failing to protect the opportunities of young women and girls in the way they do for boys. I believe that it is vitally important for men like me to acknowledge this as loudly and openly as role models do, like President Bhandari, the U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, and activists like Malala. It cannot just be women who speak up for girls.”
Actor Ian Somerhalder has been involved with multiple organizations dedicated to the empowerment and safety of women for years, like the “Real Man” campaign run by Women’s Aid UK. He even founded his own “Girls Impact the World Film Festival” which aims to provide creative solutions to the problems women face each and every day. He says, “Women can be wives, mothers, comedians, bioengineers, hackers, auto mechanics… the pressure should not be on fitting stereotypes and norms, but instead the pressure should be on launching yourself toward your true passions during the short time we have on this planet.”
The former Friends star David Schwimmer has been a longtime advocate of women’s sexual health. He became involved with The Rape Foundation in Santa Monica after he discovered that an ex-girlfriend had been date raped. He explains “I’ve had two girlfriends who were victims of child sexual abuse, and one was also later a date-rape victim. That sensitized me to the issue in a way that I hadn’t been before.”He’s also starred in several television PSAs urging men to end violence against women and serves as the director of the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica- UCLA’s medical center.
The legendary actor Antonio Banderas is openly outspoken about the disturbing statistics around female human trafficking in the world. During a 2013 PSA for the United Nations, he said “[t]wo million women and girls are trafficked each year into prostitution, forced labor, slavery or servitude… These women are our sisters and our daughters, our grandmothers and our mothers. This is unacceptable. And it must stop now.” Since then he’s continued his work for the UN and done additional PSAs for International Women’s Day. He’s also been vocal about the ageism actresses struggle with in Hollywood and how execs value them.
Activist and actor, Forest Whitaker has long been a supporter of Emma Watson’s campaign HeForShe. During a panel discussion with Watson he explained that his foundation, The Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, aims to advocate peace throughout the world. However, that initiative is not achievable without first empowering women. Whitaker said, “You can’t really find peace in the world when fifty percent of the world is excluded from the conversation.” He continued praising women by saying “The true wealth of a community is measured by how carefully it listens to its women and how sincerely it values their wisdom. Empowering women empowers us all.”
Will Smith has a real soft spot when it comes to women and their treatment, thanks to his daughter Willow. He explains fatherhood like this: “Boys laugh at what they put girls through, but they won’t be laughing when they are wiping tears off their daughters face for the same reason.” He’s also defended his daughter’s style and shaved head by saying, “She has got to have command of her body. So when she goes out into the world, she’s going out with a command that is hers. She is used to making those decisions herself. She’s strong.”
Daniel Craig is such a feminist that he even called out his own character, the role that made him a superstar, James Bond, for treating women inappropriately. In an interview with Red Bulletin, he said: “Let’s not forget that he’s actually a misogynist. A lot of women are drawn to him chiefly because he embodies a certain kind of danger and never sticks around for too long.” In complete contrast with his character, Craig has been an advocate of women for decades. He even dressed up as a woman for a 2011 International Women’s Day PSA that advocated for ending the gender wage gap.
U2 frontman and activist Bono caused some controversy in 2016 when he was named Glamour’s Woman of the Year. Many were outraged that a man stole that honor but he was chosen for his dedicated work to end poverty for women with his Poverty Is Sexist campaign. “Poverty is worse for women and girls,” he said during his acceptance speech. “It denies them the essentials like human rights and health, but it also denies them a way out through education and opportunity. They can work the land, but they can’t own it. They can earn the money, but they can’t bank it.”