Skip to main content

Say It Ain’t So: Meryl Streep is “a Humanist” and Not a Feminist; World Mourns

meryl streep

Meryl Streep not wanting to use the word “feminist” in reference to herself, when everything she’s been doing lately screams ‘feminist’ has me scratching my head so hard I’m starting to see scalp. In a recent interview with Time Out London about her upcoming film, Suffragette, Streep answers several questions about fighting sexism, which she seems really gung-ho about. But then, when asked the straight-up question, “Are you a feminist?” she answers with, “I am a humanist, I am for nice easy balance.”

I get younger actresses with less context about the feminist movement needing to be educated about what the word actually means – and what it doesn’t mean (namely that you think women are better than men, or that you think women deserve more than men do) – but I don’t get this. Especially when another prominent woman of her generation, Hillary Clinton, seems to get it. In an interview with Lena Dunham for her Lenny newsletter, Clinton responds to the same question with:

Yes. Absolutely! You know, I’m always a little bit puzzled when any woman, of whatever age, but particularly a young woman says something like — and you’ve heard it — ‘Well, I believe in equal rights but I’m not a feminist.’ Well, a feminist by definition is someone who believes in equal rights. I’m hoping that people will not be afraid to say, ‘That doesn’t mean you hate men. It doesn’t mean you want to separate out the world so that you’re not part of ordinary life. That’s not what it means at all. It just means that we believe women have the same rights as men, politically, culturally, socially, economically. That’s what it means.

So, can we please stop with all the tiptoeing around this word, please?

Listen, once and for all. Just because the word “feminist” starts with “fem” doesn’t mean it’s about prioritizing women over men. It means, “Hey! This is where the imbalance is. This is the part we need to lift up in order to make things equal.” It’s about bringing women up to where men already are, not lowering men in any way. Get it through your thick skulls, people!

(via The Washington Post; Image via Vincent Luigi Molino on Flickr)

—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—

Do you follow The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.