Besides being an actor, director, husband and father, Mark Ruffalo is also an activist. He is a member of both The Solution Project and Water Defense, working towards saving our planet. He is also an outspoken feminist. Last year, Ruffalo petitioned for a woman’s right to choose in a letter detailing his own mother’s experience with abortion that was read at a rally outside the last abortion clinic in Mississippi. More recently, Ruffalo shared a rant from writer Libby Anne Bruce. The rant, which he posted on both his Tumblr and his Twitter, is a passionate criticism of the recent trend of rejecting labeling yourself a feminist. And, here it is:
“My response to the ‘I am not a feminist’ internet phenomenon….
First of all, it's clear you don't know what feminism is. But I'm not going to explain it to you. You can google it. To quote an old friend, ‘I'm not the feminist babysitter.’
But here is what I think you should know.
You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago.
You’re degrading every woman who has accessed a rape crisis center, which wouldn’t exist without the feminist movement.
You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).
You’re spitting on the legacy of every woman who fought for women to be allowed to own property (1848). For the abolition of slavery and the rise of the labor union. For the right to divorce. For women to be allowed to have access to birth control (Comstock laws). For middle and upper class women to be allowed to work outside the home (poor women have always worked outside the home). To make domestic violence a crime in the US (It is very much legal in many parts of the world). To make workplace sexual harassment a crime.
In short, you know not what you speak of. You reap the rewards of these women’s sacrifices every day of your life. When you grin with your cutsey sign about how you’re not a feminist, you ignorantly spit on the sacred struggle of the past 200 years. You bite the hand that has fed you freedom, safety, and a voice.
In short, kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks.”
Ruffalo's post on Tumblr has nearly 175,000 reblogs and likes; ever since the it blew up, many have wrongly attributed the quote to Ruffalo, who has been quick to correct this misinformation, downplaying his involvement in the quote going viral.
But, while he may not have originated the rant, it was Ruffalo who made it famous. The actor's tweet to his 1.63 million follows has since been shared and starred over a thousand times — and though some may think it’s a sorry state of affairs that it takes a famous man to be a feminist spokesperson and draw attention to the problem (and it is), there's something else to keep in mind here. As both Bruce and Ruffalo point out, we are all feminists. Or at least we should be. Because we all benefit from it. So put that on t-shirt.
Check out Libby Anne Bruce's Tumblr here, where she plans to post more rants.
Image Courtesy of Austin Hargrave via Official Mark Ruffalo Twitter