Another day, another celebrity who says they’re not a feminist even though they totally support equal rights for women. Except this time it’s different because it’s Pharrell, a man, who’s saying it. Whereas it seems like every single female celebrity has been asked about feminism at one point or another, seeing it asked of celebrity men isn’t nearly as common. That might be because there’s a misconception out there, which Pharrell buys into, that men can’t be feminists for the simple fact that they’re men.
During an interview with the UK’s Channel 4 News, Pharrell commented, “I’ve been asked, am I a feminist?” He followed that up with this: “I don’t think it’s possible for me to be that.” Here’s his reasoning:
“I’m a man. It makes sense up until a certain point. But what I do is, I do support feminists. There’s injustices; there are inequalities that need to be addressed.”
That’s great, Pharrell! You know what’s also great? The fact that you totally can be a feminist, even if you’re a man. It’s so possible that we assumed you’d come out as one months ago when you expressed your crazy belief that men and women are equal. It’s not an exclusive club with a “NO BOYZ ALLOWED” sign on it. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We need more men who willing to call themselves feminists. Because if men aren’t afraid to call themselves feminists, maybe it’ll help take some of the stigma away from using that word and make it clear that it’s not synonymous with “man hater.”
“I would love to see a woman run the country,” he said. “Historically, this world has been run by man. And what would a world be like if 75 percent our world leaders, our presidents and prime ministers, were female? What would that world be like? We don’t know, because we haven’t given it a shot. We’re too busy telling them what they can and can’t do with their bodies. Or, we’re too busy, you know, not allowing them to make the same amount of money that a man makes.”
You could argue that it’s more important that Pharrell supports these ideals than it is to label himself anything. But in addition to simply displaying ignorance, his hesitance to use the word only adds to the concept that “feminist” is something you have to be afraid to call yourself. And if people are afraid to call themselves feminists, it could lead people to become afraid to express their belief in feminism — in other words, in equal rights between women and men.
Of course, despite his belief that women should be world leaders and have reproductive rights and get paid the same, in the same interview he still defends his participation in “Blurred Lines”:
“Is it sexually suggestive when a car salesman says to a person who’s trying to buy a car, ‘I know you want it?’”
If he can’t understand the issues people have with that song and would equate trying to have sex with a woman with trying to sell someone a car, then alas, getting him to understand that men can be feminists might be too much for us to ask. Yikes.