Patricia Arquette’s speech at the Oscars was an inspiration to many, but she’s just one of many outspoken celebrity feminists who are speaking out about equal rights. While some have always called themselves feminists, other have taken their time to really easy into it.
Check out some of the most famous celebrity feminists, and find out what they have to say about women’s and girls’ equality. From younger advocates of equal rights, like Emma Watson and Miley Cyrus, to women who have been involved in the cause for longer, including Oprah and Jane Fonda, here are a few outspoken feminists.
At the 87th Academy Awards, Patricia Arquette won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and uses her speech to deliver a strong message about equal rights:
“It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!”.
The English actress was named the Feminist Celebrity of 2014 by the Ms. Foundation for Women after her impassioned speech given at the United Nations headquarters. She’s one of the youngest celebrity feminists who takes a stand for equality, and she’s used her celebrity more than once to highlight sexist attitudes.
The singer calls herself a “modern-day feminist”, and she’s been getting more and more outspoken about women’s rights. Beyoncé also wrote an article on the Shriver Report entitled “Gender Equality is a Myth!”, fully committing to her support for equal rights. “I’ve always considered myself a feminist, although I was always afraid of that word because people put so much on it,” she later told CNN.
“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!”, Miley told Australia’s Sunday Style. The singer is one of the most outspoken celebrity feminists, and she discussed it in many interviews, including one with the BBC where she explained that “I feel like I’m one of the biggest feminists in the world because I tell women to not be scared of anything.”
Upset by the way feminism is discussed, Keira Knightely opened up about the issue to Vogue magazine: “I remember doing interviews, and people would ask, as if it was a joke, ‘So you mean you are a feminist?’ As though feminism couldn’t be discussed unless we were making fun of it.”
Even though she previously distanced herself from the term, Taylor Swift is one of the celebrity feminists who realized its importance later on. “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 (...) 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,” she told the Guardian.
The actress also opened up to the Guardian about feminism, saying that: “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?”
She’s not the most outspoken of celebrity feminists, but Salma Hayek also took a stand for equal rights. “I don’t think we are the same, women and men. We’re different. But I don’t think we are less than men. There are more women than men in the world – ask any single woman! So it is shocking that men are in more positions of power,” Hayek told Stylist.
See also: 10 Reasons to Date a Feminist Man
“Essentially feminism will come into wholeness when we achieve a social paradigm that allows men and women to become full human beings,” Jane Fond told Feminist, adding that she feels inequality between gender causes a lot of problems, including war.
One of the celebrity feminists who has invested her own money into building a brighter future for women with her Leadership Academy for Girls, Oprah told Makers Feminism that “I never did consider or call myself a feminist, but I don’t think you can really be a woman in this world and not be.”