September 30, 2014 11:36 AM EDT Taylor Swift, who recently explained how , is now praising another famous actress for her message of female empowerment. Girls creator and star Lena Dunham helped her realize she was a feminist
interview with French-Canadian talk show , Swift said that actress Tout Le Monde En Parle 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. Here's What 20 Famous Women Think About Feminism "People have sorely messed up the definition of feminism. It isn’t saying this is wrong and this is right," said Chrissy Teigen during a Variety event in 2014, adding that husband John Legend also identifies: "He’s a bigger feminist than I am! He actually teaches me a lot about the way women should be perceived." D Dipasupil—Getty Images for Extra The Twilight actress reacted to women rejecting feminism during a Daily Beast interview in October: "That’s such a strange thing to say, isn’t it? Like, what do you mean? Do you not believe in equality for men and women? I think it’s a response to overly-aggressive types." Loic Venance—AFP/Getty Images "I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me," said Emma Watson at a UN Women speech in September. "Men-- I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender Equality is your issue, too." Anthony Harvey—Getty Images “I would say on some levels I am [a feminist]. Angela Davis is one of my heroes,” Halle Berry told Ebony in April. “And Gloria Steinem—these are people who, as I was growing, I was moved by and impacted by and thought very deeply about.” Joe Scarnici—Getty Images "I don’t think of myself as being a feminist,” Sinead O'Connor told The Guardian in July. “I wouldn’t label myself anything, certainly not something with an ‘ism’ or an ‘ist’ at the end of it. I’m not interested in anything that is in any way excluding of men.” Jason Kempin—Getty Images "I wouldn’t say [I'm a] feminist, that’s too strong. I think when people hear feminist it’s just like, ‘Get out of my way I don’t need anyone,’” Kelly Clarkson told TIME last year. “I love that I’m being taken care of, and I have a man that’s an actual leader. I’m not a feminist in that sense … but I’ve worked really hard since I was 19." Christopher Polk—Getty Images Leighton Meester told OOTD magazine in February about her biggest role model. "American writer Betty Friedan — she fought for gender equality and wrote the great book The Feminine Mystique which sparked the beginning of a second-wave feminism,” Meester said. “I believe in equal rights for men and women.” D Dipasupil—FilmMagic “I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists," Ellen Page told The Guardian in 2013. "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?” Dave Kotinsky—Getty Images "For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept,” Lana Del Rey told Fader magazine in their summer 2014 issue. “I’m more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities." (Tabatha Fireman—Redferns/Getty Images) “I would [call myself a feminist], yes.” Rashida Jones said in 2013. “I believe in the unadulterated advancement of women. And we have so far to go still.” Christopher Polk—NBC/Getty Images “Am I a feminist? F–k yeah, I’m a feminist,” Jenny Slate told MTV News in June. “I think that unfortunately people who are maybe threatened by feminism think that it’s about setting your bra on fire and being aggressive, and I think that’s really wrong and really dangerous.” Jason Kempin—Getty Images "A feminist? Um, yeah, actually,” Katy Perry told an Australian radio host in March. “I used to not really understand what that word meant, and now that I do, it just means that I love myself as a female and I also love men.” Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images Amy Poehler says she's confused by how many women deny that they're feminists, “but then they go on to explain what they support and live by — it’s feminism exactly,” she told Elle magazine in January. "That’s like someone being like, ‘I don’t really believe in cars, but I drive one every day and I love that it gets me places and makes life so much easier and faster and I don’t know what I would do without it.’” Jason Kempin—NBC/Getty Images "We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet," Beyonce wrote in an essay titled "Gender Equality is a Myth" in January. She also famously included an excerpt from Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx talk in her song, "Flawless." Myrna Suarez—WireImage “I feel like I’m one of the biggest feminists in the world because I tell women to not be scared of anything,” Miley Cyrus told the BBC last November. Julio Cesar Aguilar—AFP/Getty Images "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." Taylor Swift said in reaction to Emma Watson's speech at the UN in September. "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." Isaac Brekken—Getty Images “Women saying ‘I’m not a feminist’ is my greatest pet peeve,” Lena Dunham told Metro in 2013. “Do you believe that women should be paid the same for doing the same jobs? Do you believe that women should be allowed to leave the house? Do you think that women and men both deserve equal rights? Great, then you’re a feminist.” Michael Buckner—Getty Images "No, because I love men," was Shailene Woodley's response when TIME asked her whether she considered herself a feminist in May. "I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance…My biggest thing is really sisterhood more than feminism.” Dave J Hogan—Getty Images “I’m getting the sense that you’re a little bit of a feminist, like I am, which is good,” Lady Gaga told the LA Times in 2009. “I find that men get away with saying a lot in this business, and that women get away with saying very little . . . In my opinion, women need and want someone to look up to that they feel have the full sense of who they are, and says, ‘I’m great.’ “ Kevin Mazur—WireImage “[Feminism] means being proud of being a woman, and [having] love, respect and admiration and the belief in our strong capacities,” Salma Hayek told Stylist in 2012. “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.” Traverso—L'Oreal/Getty Images Children yell to players after a game between the New York Mets and Houston Astros at Citi Field on September 28, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Alex Goodlett—Getty Images More Must-Reads From TIME Meet the 2024 Women of the Year Greta Gerwig's Next Big Swing East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap Long COVID Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Does Column: The New Antisemitism The Best Romantic Comedies to Watch on Netflix Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time