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Are You A Feminist?' Celebrities' Answers from BUST Magazine's 25-Year Archive May Surprise You

These days, it's become pretty popular for interviewers to ask celebrities (especially young women) if they identify as feminists. Mags from Rolling Stone (asking Kim K.) to Maxim (Taylor Swift in, of all things, their Hot 100 interview) to Cosmo (!!) (Sarah Jessica Parker) to  TIME (Shailene Woodley) are getting in on the action.

It's great to see so many publications finally raising the subject of feminism with their interview subjects. Here at BUST, however, we've been asking that question of almost every celebrity we've interviewed, since day one. And whereas once celebs seemed to be afraid to say "Yes," lately they seem more wary of saying "No." From where we stand, that's a good thing.

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Brooke Candy, who we spoke with for our August/September 2014 issue, might have put it best: "Feminism has become this trendy thing and that's great. Let it trend, 'cause I'm all about it. I admire [pop stars'] willpower, their fucking determination, but it just feels forced now," she said. "I just wish it had happened earlier, and that they weren't so afraid back then. I guess maybe now they're not afraid anymore."

We can't agree more. For that reason, we've compiled a treasury of celebrity responses to the "Are you a feminist?" question from BUST magazine's 22-year archive. Sometimes their answers are predictable (Tina Fey, you should know, is a feminist), but others are surprising (neither Bjork nor Patti Smith wanted any part of the F-word). Learn more about your favorite famous folk's feminist stances below!

Thurston Moore

1995
Yeah but it doesn't excuse me from being an asshole. Feminism, as an identity, exists in response to chauvinism's disrespect and ignorance towards female culture. I think that anyone has the potential, through feminism, to be receptive to enlightenment towards the goodwill of Goddess culture.

Margaret Cho

1996
Oh, definitely. But I don't even think about it in those terms. I just think, "Of course, I'm a woman."

Bjork

1996
You know, feminists really tire me. They really bore me to death.

Judy Blume

1997
Yes, I am a feminist. That doesn't mean I don't like men, I've always liked men. We are different, I accept that. Sooo different. But it's interesting to figure out those differences.

David Bowie

2000
No. I'm stubbornly nothing-ist. Ists and isms irk me.

Sean Lennon

2000
Yeah, I'm definitely a feminist. I'm not one of those guys who's like, "All this feminist stuff! What about men? We're repressed too." ... To even compare sexism against men to sexism against women is insulting to me.

Tegan & Sara

2000
Tegan: Absolutely! Our grandmother's a feminist and I have grown up as one. I don't think it's a negative word at all. People who call themselves humanists do feminists a dishonor by separting themsleves because they don't get the feminist way of thinking, which is simply that men and women should be equal.

Lili Taylor

2002
Oh yeah. I'm definitely not a radical, but I'm a feminist. I'm not active in anything politically, per se. But if Roe vs. Wade got more threatened than it is now, I'd be marching.

Missy Elliot

2002
No. OK, see, people have different definitions. Tell me what your definition is and I'll tell you. It's like, 'Do you consider yourself a bitch?' But it's like, which bitch? Which feminist? Speaking your mind and speaking for females, if that's the case, I'm most definitely that. I'm all down for the women.

Sarah Silverman

2003
Yeah. I think "feminist" is a word that's kind of impossible to use accurately when you're conversing with someone to to convey something, because it's so based on what you define it as. I understand that there [are] so many different definitions.... Feminist. What is feminist? It's kind of weird because I don't think it's something to necessarily acknowledge. It's the actions of how you live your life.

Kelly Osbourne

2003
I think so, yeah.

Tina Fey

2004
Yeah, I am.

Jena Malone

2004
I'm just down for human rights. I'm not sexist to the degree of needing to support my own sex more than any other because I think both are equally valuable.

Aisha Tyler

2004
I'm definitely a third wave feminist. ... You can be a feminist and not this completely judgmental, our-issues-are-our-issues-and-you-don't-get-to-decide [type of person].

PJ Harvey

2004
I don't ever think [about feminism]. I mean, it doesn't cross my mind. I certainly don't think in terms of gender when I'm writing songs, and I never had any problems [as a result of being female] that I couldn't get over.

Tori Amos

2005
I feel aligned with any woman who is expressing herself, even though we may do it differently. That's the beauty of it. ... True feminism, if we really want to make a difference, should be about encouraging people to express themselves.

Sandra Oh

2005
Totally. People who say they don't like that word have drunk some sort of Kool-Aid. What is wrong with them? Why are they so scared of the word? We need a new resurgence of female power.

Susan Sarandon

2005
I use "humanist" because it seems broader. I mean, I would consider myself a feminist, but people we are trying to reach have so many negative connotations [about it]. Not that there aren't strident women that call themselves feminists. We have to empower young girls. I don't care if they're "feminists" or not, but [I do want them to] know that they're entitled to education. They're entitled to masturbate. They don't have to go out and give somebody a blowjob in an alley.

Gwen Stefani

2007
Well, I'd have to get a definition of it, first. I mean, I'm pro-woman.... I guess I don't want to say I am a feminist because no one will ever define it for me.

Lily Allen

2007
I never was before I got into this industry, but now that I'm here, I feel like it's important to stand up for women, their rights, and the way they're perceived in the media. I feel kind of a responsibility to young girls, because I feel like it's hideous, the way they're treated. I guess I have become a feminist.

Charlotte Gainsbourg

2007
Yes, I feel I am a feminist, because I'm very embarrassed and shocked when I see the differences and when women suffer.

Chloe Sevigny

2007
I don't know. In a lot of respects, I think I [am], but I'm also old-fashioned in a way.

Patti Smith

2007
I never was really concerned with the idea of feminism. As a humanistic person, I'm interested in the human condition. I'm interested in men's rights just as much as women's rights.

Miranda July

2007
Yes... Whenever I see people with a long answer to that question, I just think, 'What's so confusing about that? It's just being pro your ability to do whatever you need to do. It doesn't mean you don't love your boyfriend or whatever." And I wouldn't go out with any guy who wasn't a feminist.

Beth Ditto

2008
I knew at a really young age that I was a feminist. I was about 11 when I heard the word "feminist" for the first time, and I remember thinking, "That's what I am! That makes a lot of sense to me." I wish I could remember where I heard it, but I don't. I just know that by the time I was in the seventh grade, I was doing all my reports on violence against women and Gloria Steinem.

Eva Amurri

2008
Yes. I think it's hard to find women who aren't feminists these days, to be honest with you. Because I think in my generation, it's not a novelty that women are perceived in a certain negative way.

Diablo Cody

2009
I'm a 31-year-old feminist in Ugg boots and a T-shirt, and it's so funny to me when anyone accuses me of trying to be sexy or cute. I couldn't do that if I fucking tried. I'm full-on rocking this post-feminist-academic-stripper attitude because I'm trying to confront, not titillate.

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Ellen Page & Alia Shawkat

2009
Ellen: Yeah, sure, of course, definitely. Wouldn't you think everybody would be a feminist?
Alia: Do you get nos?

Jill Scott

2010
I think I'm a feminist in the truest sense of the word, if I can be that bold. I want equal pay for equal work. I should have praise and respect based on my performance. I don't necessarily need to cook and clean, but part of me enjoys doing those things.

Tilda Swinton

2010
I don't think there was a moment in my life when feminism had to be explained or introduced to me. Maybe that has something to do with being the only daughter in a family of three boys. That will grow a feminist if anything will. I never felt like I had either a pre-feminist or a kind of graduation moment with feminism. Liberation felt completely non-negotiable for me.

Wanda Jackson

2010
Oh, heavens no. I don't care much for that movement. But I am very proud of women these days. They're strong and independent. I admire that, since I'm really quite the opposite by nature. I grew up in an era where women didn't take the lead as much.

Wendy Williams

2011
Yes... no... well, I can't say fully. I consider myself a feminist in some ways, but I do believe in assuming the role of the woman, you know? A lot of women want to know why they're by themselves, because they don't know how to shut up and play their position.

Kat Dennings

2012
God, who isn't a feminist? If you don't think women are as good as men, you aren't a good person.

Miss Piggy

2012
I consider myself a post-categorical celebrity, one that is all things to all of my fans.

Lena Dunham

2012
Of course I'm a feminist; I wouldn't even know another thing to be. It's something that I don't tackle in a way that's overt, but it's part of everything I do.

Anna Paquin

2012
Absolutely... I don't know too many girls who aren't feminist. I think it's pretty hard in this day and age not to feel as if you are entitled to every bit as big a piece of the pie as your male counterparts. Even if you don't get it all the time.

Tavi Gevinson

2012
Being able to act like a feminist and being able to apply it are more important than just calling yourself one. But there is something to be said for actually identifying with the movement.

Aubrey Plaza

2012
I definitely have it in me, because that's just how I grew up. When I was in high school, I was obsessed with Mary Wollstonecraft; she was one of the very first feminists ever.

Grimes

2013
I never really identified as a feminist until I started doing [music]. Because whether we like it or not, we live in a sexist society. There's a prevailing feeling in society that what young girls like is not artistically valid.

Courtney Love

2013
Do I believe in feminism? Of course I do, I'm a fucking feminist. Do I believe that there are a lot of us out there? No. I really don't.

Janelle Monae

2013
I am a woman. I am a feminist. So, naturally, I feel my job is to stand up for our rights when they have been attached. I also feel a responsibility to speak against marginalization of women through my music and messages.

Neko Case

2013
I consider myself a feminist because of the sacrifice other people have made. I consider myself a feminist in the monumental, carry-the-torch-for-women-who-marched-for-suffrage-or-became-doctors-or-changed-laws-or-fought-for-human-rights way, but I'm a humanist overall, or a creature-ist or a planet-ist or something. I get pretty down about people fighting about the term "feminism" and what it is. It seems to be pretty antifeminist a lot of the time.

Hayley Williams

2014
Yeah, I am! I'm not a super-political person, but for me, [feminism] is a very social thing-- I look at young girls and I'm like, 'I want to empower you. I want you to feel how I feel on my strongest, best days, all the time.

Shailene Woodley

2014
I think anytime a label comes up, it immediately creates some sort of image in someone's mind. I love men, and I think that this notion of putting men aside so women can rise to power could not be more wrong. I've read so many feminist books, and I'm very well acquainted with a lot of different theories, but I think there has to be balance, we have to have the yin and the yang. My whole thing with women is to inspire them to have strength.

Amy Schumer

2014
Yeah, holy shit, of course. Are you serious? Oh my God. I feel like anyone who doesn't consider themselves a feminist doesn't understand what that word means.

Mayim Bialik

2014
Yes, I've been teased and mocked for being a feminist at least from sixth grade on. I've never shaved my legs, which was absolutely part of my feminist identity.

Dolly Parton

2014
I consider myself a female. I think of myself as somebody who's just as smart as any man I know. I don't think anybody should ever be judged by whether they're male or female, black, white, blue, or green. I think people should be allowed to be themselves and to show the gifts they have, and be able to be acknowledged for that and to be paid accordingly. You know, I love men, but I love women too and I'm proud to be a woman. I just really try to encourage women to be all that they can be and I try to encourage men to let us be that.

Amber Tamblyn

2015
It used to make me so angry when I'd meet young women who wouldn't call themselves feminists.... I now think that even rejection of the word-- or rejecting archetypes of that word-- can be a form of feminism.

Gillian Jacobs

2015
I definitely still consider myself a feminist. I just think I'm surrounded by more people now that share these same ideas.

Broad City

2015
Abbi:We are two women, and we based the [this show] on ourselves, and we, without a doubt, are feminists

Junglepussy

2015
Well, actually, I'm label-free, but a lot of my morals and values stem from feminism, black power, power to the people, all that in general. So, feminism is a big part of it, because I love being a girl, and I love women, and I love when we stick up for ourselves and don't take any shit.

Laverne Cox

2015
[Yes.] When I found critical theory and I found feminism, it gave me a space to heal and and a way to understand the world around me.

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Jenny Slate

2015
It makes me feel a lot of rage when people say they're not feminists, especially when they seem to be saying this in an effort not to upset or scare men.

Aidy Bryant

2015
I was raised by feminists. Being a feminist is a no-brainer for me. It was part of my upbringing.

Jemima Kirke

2016
Of course I'm a feminist. I think everyone in their right mind should be a feminist. It's just about equality.

Uzo Aduba

2016
Absolutely! All that [feminism] is trying to do is [make sure] people are being treated equally and not discriminated against because of their gender.

Amandla Stenberg

2016
I first identified as a feminist in eighth or ninth grade. We studied mainstream feminism and while I loved it, I recognized that feminism needs to be more inclusive of women of color and queer women and not just binary people.

Ty Segall

2017
I'm a total feminist, and a humanist, really.

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Solange 

2017
Yes. I am a proud black feminist and womanist and I'm extremely proud of the work that's being done. I'm a feminist who wants not only to hear the term intersectionality, but actually feel it, and see the evolution of what intersectional feminism can actually achieve.

Alynda Segarra

2017
Yeah, I've been considering myself a feminist since I was a teenager.

Gina Rodriguez

2017
Hell yeah! Everybody should be a feminist.

Erykah Badu

2018
Yes, I am a feminist.

Constance Wu

2018
[Yes.] I think some people have a stereotype of feminism that's not actually the philosophy behind it. I think anyone who thinks women are human beings is basically a feminist.

Michelle Wolf

2018
Oh, I am definitely a feminist. I hope everybody is.

 

 

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