By Eliana Dockterman
September 30, 2014

Taylor Swift, who recently explained how Girls creator and star Lena Dunham helped her realize she was a feminist, is now praising another famous actress for her message of female empowerment.

In an interview with French-Canadian talk show Tout Le Monde En Parle, Swift said that actress Emma Watson’s recent speech at the United Nations’ He for She event will help inspire young girls and help them understand feminism. When asked the intense reaction to Watson’s speech, Swift said spoke about the overwhelmingly positive response she saw from her young, female fan base. She also said that if she had had a strong feminist role model at a young age, she would have declared herself as one earlier:

The only thing that I saw was incredible acclaim and praise, and that’s just me going off of what I’m tuned into which is my fan base of real girls out in the world living their lives. And when they saw their favorite actress get up in front of the UN and say what she said, I wish when I was younger, I wish when I was 12-years-old I had been able to watch a video of my favorite actress explaining in such an intellectual, beautiful, poignant way the definition of feminism. Because I would have understood it. And then earlier on in my life I would have proudly claimed I was a feminist because I would have understood what the word means.

Swift argues that many young girls, including her younger self, associate feminism with negativity when it simply means equality among the genders.

So many girls out there say, “I’m not a feminist” because they think it means something angry or disgruntled or complaining or they picture, like, rioting and picketing. It is not that it all. It just simply means that you believe that women and men should have equal right and opportunities, and to say that you’re not a feminist means you think men should have more rights and opportunities than women. I just think a lot of girls don’t know the definition, and the fact that Emma got up and explained it I think is an incredible thing, and I’m happy to live in a world where that happened.

The definition of feminism has become a hot-button topic among female celebrities this year. Many stars have declared themselves not to be feminists because they “love men.” But others, like Swift, have asserted a simpler definition of feminism that does not involve hating men: for example, in her song “Flawless,” Beyoncé samples a speech from Nigerian-born writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who defines a feminist as “a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

In other parts of the interview, Swift offered her views on being a woman in the media:

I think when it comes to females in the media, you’ll see something that kind of upsets me which is that females are pinned up against each other more so than men. For example, you never see online, vote for who has the better butt: this actor or this actor? It’s always, like, this female singer and this female singer, and you get to vote. It’s daily that I see these things and these polls, like, let us know who’s sexier? Who’s the hotter mama? I just don’t see: who’s the hotter dad? One thing that I do believe as a feminist is that in order for us to have gender equality, we have to stop making it a girl fight. We have to stop being so interested in seeing girls trying to tear each other down. It has to be about cheering each other on as women. And that’s just kind of how I feel about it.

And when the interviewer asked her about Miley Cyrus’s scandalous outfits (perhaps doing the exact thing Swift hates by trying to pit her against another female singer her age), Swift responded that she supports women singers expressing their sexuality:

I think that no other female artist should be able to tell me to wear less clothes and I’m not going to tell any other female artist to wear more clothes. As long as it’s their idea, and they’re expressing their sexuality or they’re expressing their strength or it makes them feel like a woman to perform a certain way or dress a certain way… as long as it’s coming from them and they’re living their life on their own terms, I cheer them on.

Watch the entire interview here.

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