A few weeks ago I talked about the importance of men supporting feminism and what it means to be a true male feminist. This week, in honour of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would profile a few men who make my heart pound. Not for their luscious locks or rock-hard abs (although I don’t resent them for it), but their active promotion of the feminist movement.
Nothing gets me going like a man who respects women.
1) Joseph Gordon-Levitt
In an interview last January, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (whom I may or may not affectionately call JGL) expressed his concern with today’s movie industry. "My mom brought me up to be a feminist. She was active in the movement in the 60s and 70s. The Hollywood movie industry has come a long way since its past. It certainly has a bad history of sexism, but it ain't all the way yet.”
His straightforward self-identification as a feminist is music to our ears, and his acknowledgement of the accomplishments and challenges ahead for Hollywood is optimistic yet realistic.
JGL, will you be my valentine?
2) John Legend
R&B artist John Legend put it plain and simple this past June at a press conference for the fundraising event “Chime for Change”, when he said, “All men should be feminists. If men care about women's rights the world will be a better place."
As an extension of his awesomeness, he went on to cite his mother as an inspiration and added, "we are better off when women are empowered - it leads to a better society."
Amen to that.
3) Bill Gates
Bill Gates, the billionaire who never ceases to impress us, gave the perfect answer in a Saudi Arabian conference when asked if he thought the country could become one of the most economically successful countries.
“Well, if you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country,” Gates said, “you’re not going to get too close to the Top 10.”
You are one lucky gal Melinda.
4) Ryan Gosling
This stud first amazed feminists when he spoke up against the harsh rating of “Blue Valentine”, when it received an NC-17 rating due to a scene where he gives his female counterpart oral sex. He declared, “The MPAA is OK supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.”
Since then the #FeministRyanGosling Tumblr account was created and the rest is internet history.
5) Rob Delaney
Comedian Rob Delaney, an unexpected alley for the movement, had the best answer on a Reddit AMA when asked about women’s issues.
“Misogyny will almost definitely outlast homophobia and racism on this planet and it's because of systems that were put in place forever ago and assiduously maintained and strengthened over the years. So we've got to tear those down. And when I say "we," that includes men… If we improve women's lot, the world is BETTER FOR EVERYONE. HOW DO PEOPLE NOT REALIZE THIS? … WOE unto the man who doesn't actively try to make the world better for women. Regardless of one's spiritual beliefs, his soul will be torn apart by neon griffins in hell.”
Now that’s my kind of humour.
So gentlemen, as the day of pink, chocolate, and mushiness quickly approaches, take a page from the books of these men and make your significant other melt.
Acknowledgement, appreciation and respect will last a lot longer than flowers.