15 Female Celebrities Who Refuse to Call Themselves Feminists


Look up the word "feminism" in the dictionary and you'll find its definition listed as "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities." What woman wouldn't want to align herself with such an ideology, right? Yet countless female stars have attempted to distance themselves from the term "feminist" — even while championing women's rights. 

Some have shunned the "feminist" label because of what they perceive as the word's meaning, associating feminism with male bashing. Others have steered clear of the label because of the way in which it has been maligned and misunderstood, fearing that proclaiming themselves "feminists" would lead to backlash. The following stars all refuse to call themselves feminists, and they're not afraid to let that stance be known. 


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  • Susan Sarandon


    Most women consider Susan Sarandon a feminist icon — after all, she starred in the groundbreaking Thelma & Louise! Sarandon, however, isn't a big fan of the "f" word. In a 2013 interview with the Guardian, the lifelong activist said, "I think of myself as a humanist because I think it's less alienating to people who think of feminism as being a load of strident bitches." 

  • Shailene Woodley

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    She may be known for playing tough, strong-willed characters but, in a 2014 interview with Time magazine, Shailene Woodley objected to being labeled a feminist. "I love men, and 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," she said. "My biggest thing is really sisterhood more than feminism." 

  • Salma Hayek

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    In November 2014, moments before receiving an award from Equality Now, Salma Hayek spoke to People magazine about being a role model for her daughter Valentina. "She's aware that her mommy fights for the rights of women," she said. But when asked if she embraced the "f" word, Salma Hayek said, "I am not a feminist." She added, "If men were going through the things women are going through today, I would be fighting for them with just as much passion. I believe in equality."

  • Kim Kardashian


    While speaking at the 2016 BlogHer conference, Kim Kardashian said she's not a feminist because she's not "the 'free the nipple' type girl." When her comments came under fire — particularly given her penchant for nude selfies — Kim defended her stance through an essay posted on her website in which she argued that while she'll always fight for women's rights, she doesn't see the need to "put labels on things." 

    More from CafeMom: 20 Male Stars Who Are Proud Feminists

  • Lily Allen


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    Apparently Lily Allen thinks feminism is no longer necessary. "I hate that word [feminism] because it shouldn't even be a thing anymore," she griped in March 2014. "We're all equal, everyone is equal. Why is there even a conversation about feminism? What's the man version of feminism? There isn't even a word for it. Menanism. Male-ism. It doesn't exist." 

  • Maisie Williams


    Games of Thrones star Maisie Williams has one of the more logically sound reasons for not embracing the "feminist" label. In an April 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Williams said she was baffled when she discovered the definition of "feminism," wondering how anyone could stand against gender equality. "I feel like we should stop calling feminists 'feminists' and just start calling people who aren't feminist 'sexist,'” she argued. "You are either a normal person or a sexist. People get a label when they're bad."  

  • Carrie Underwood


    This country singer has candidly addressed sexism in country music and some of her biggest chart-toppers, chiefly "Before He Cheats," have warned men about the consequences of mistreating women. Considering she advocates for girl power in the male-dominated field of country music, Underwood must fly the feminist flag, right? Wrong. "I wouldn't go so far as to say I am a feminist, that can come off as a negative connotation," Underwood has said. "But I am a strong female." 

  • Sarah Jessica Parker


    Through Sex and the City, Sarah Jessica Parker chipped away at many of the societal taboos regarding female sexuality. So it was surprising when, in Marie Claire's September 2016 issue, SJP made a point to say she's not a feminist. While discussing the unfair portrayal of Hillary Clinton in the media, Parker said, "I'm convinced it's because she's a woman, and I'm not a feminist. I don't think I qualify." She proceeded to explain that she believes in equity and people being treated fairly — basically all the basic tenets of feminism.

    More from CafeMom: 20 Actresses Who've Spoken About the Objectification of Women in Hollywood

  • Sara Evans

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    Though she's spoken volumes about the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated realm, country singer Sara Evans doesn't deem herself a feminist. "I'm exactly the opposite of a feminist," Evans told BuzzFeed in March 2014. "I love men, and I've never really [sung] a man-hater song." Sadly, this is another instance of feminism being equated with misandry.

  • Meghan Trainor


    In the summer of 2014, Meghan Trainor became a part of the pop culture zeitgeist with her catchy anthem about self-acceptance, "All About That Bass." Despite rising to fame due to a song encouraging girls to love themselves as they are, Trainor told Billboard, "I don't consider myself a feminist." She went on to muse about the need for messages that encourage girls to embrace their inner and outer beauty. 

  • Kelly Clarkson

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    Singer Kelly Clarkson is yet another celeb who wishes to disassociate herself from the word "feminism," all the while championing the same ideologies intrinsic to the movement. "I wouldn't say [I'm a] feminist, that's too strong," Clarkson told Time in October 2013. "I think when people hear 'feminist,' it's just like, 'Get out of my way I don't need anyone.' And I think that's bad because that's actually, I don't believe, what the word 'feminism' stands for, but that's how people relate to that word." 

  • Geri Halliwell


    The Spice Girls may have promoted girl power, but that doesn't mean all of its members identified as feminists. Geri Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice, steers away from self-identifying as a feminist because of the way she believes the ideology is perceived. "For me, feminism is bra-burning lesbianism," Halliwell said. "I'd like to see it rebranded. We need to see a celebration of our femininity and softness."

    More from CafeMom: 12 Ways The '90s Were All About Feminism & You Didn't Even Realize It

  • Evangeline Lilly

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    The actress first charmed audiences as the tough but sensitive Kate Austen on Lost, and she's since gravitated toward equally complex and strong female characters. But don't call Evangeline Lilly a feminist! "I don't even like the word 'feminism' because, when I hear that word, I associate it with women trying to pretend to be men, and I'm not interested in trying to pretend to be a man," Lilly told HuffPost Entertainment in December 2014. "I don't want to embrace manhood, I want to embrace my womanhood." 

  • Lana Del Rey

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    In a 2014 Fader interview, Lana Del Rey said, "feminism is just not an interesting concept [to me]." Instead, she's fascinated by "SpaceX and Tesla, what's going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities." That's not something you hear every day!

  • Madonna

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    Madge has built her career on subverting societal conventions — particularly those regarding female sexuality. This is, after all, the woman behind such sexually progressive songs and music videos as "Express Yourself" and "Justify My Love." But, when asked if she was a feminist by a fan at a 2003 MTV On Stage & On The Record special, Madonna quickly said, "No." Madonna then added, "I consider myself a humanist." Forget all the S&M imagery in her music videos or her ultra-graphic Sex book — Madonna saying she's not a feminist was way more shocking!

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