Celebrities Sound Off on the 'F' Word: Feminism

What Emma Watson, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift and more think of feminism.

ByABC News
September 23, 2014, 10:50 AM

Sept. 23, 2014— -- intro: Emma Watson is the latest celebrity to speak out on feminism.

The "Harry Potter" star and U.N. Women Global Goodwill Ambassador spoke about feminism this past weekend at United Nations headquarters in New York to launch the "HeForShe" campaign, which aims to enlist one billion men and boys in the movement for gender equality.

"The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women's rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop," she said.

"Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one? I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that will affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men," the 24-year-old actress and recent Brown University graduate said.

Emma Watson Speaks at the UN about Gender Equality

Related: Twitter Casts Taylor Swift as a Feminist

Watson added that the definition of feminists should be expanded to include those who help girls and women achieve their full potential.

"My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn't love me less because I was born a daughter," she said. "My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn't assume that I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day.These influences are the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it but they are the inadvertent feminists needed in the world today. We need more of those."

Watson is among a group of young female stars who have been expressing their opinion about feminism. Check what other celebrities have had to say:

quicklist:title: Meghan Trainortext: Despite being at the center of a body-positivity movement currently sweeping the music industry with her hit song "All About That Bass," singer Meghan Trainor told Billboard magazine on Monday.

"I don't consider myself a feminist." However, she added, "I'm down for my first opportunity to say something to the world to be so meaningful. If you asked me, 'What do you want to say?' it would be, 'Love yourself more.'"media: 25682001

quicklist:title: Taylor Swift:text: When asked by The Daily Beast whether she considers herself a feminist in 2012, Taylor Swift replied, "I don't really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life."

Now, Swift says she has a more mature definition of feminism after talking with friend Lena Dunham. "As a teenager, I didn't understand that saying you're a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men," she told The Guardian earlier last month. "And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it's been made to seem like something where you'd picket against the opposite sex, whereas it's not about that at all."

She went on to say, "Becoming friends with Lena - without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for - has made me realize that I've been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so."media: 25679467

quicklist:title: Lena Dunhamtext: Dunham is proud to call herself a feminist and is bothered when other women do not.

"Women saying 'I'm not a feminist' is my greatest pet peeve," she told Metro in January 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. People think there is something taboo about speaking up for feminism. I know for a long time that I was embarrassed to call out misogyny because I was then going to be that complaining girl who can't let it go. But the fact is, we can't let it go -- not until we feel like we have been heard."media: 25679928

quicklist:title: Beyoncetext: Beyonce also left little doubt where she stands at MTV's Music Video Awards last month. The 33-year-old superstar closed out her Vanguard Award performance with an epic declaration of the F-word: a huge "FEMINIST" sign lit up behind her.

Along with the word, she projected lines from a poem by Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. "We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller," the screen read. "We say to girls, 'You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you will threaten the man.'"media: 25679976

quicklist:title: Shailene Woodleytext: Shailene Woodley caused a stir when she told Time in May that she was not a feminist "because 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." The 22-year-old "Divergent" star said, "With myself, I'm very in touch with my masculine side. And I'm 50 percent feminine and 50 percent masculine, same as I think a lot of us are. And I think that is important to note. And also I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn't work either. We have to have a fine balance."

Even though Woodley told Time she was more interested in "sisterhood" than feminism, she later said she was attacked for her comments. "It pitted women against me," she told Entertainment Weekly a month later. "The thing I was trying to say we need to eliminate --- without the word 'feminist,' without any word attached to it --- we need to begin to evolve the way we look at sisterhood. It's the exact opposite of what [the article] ended up doing."media: 25679880

quicklist:title: Katy Perrytext: Like Swift, Katy Perry changed her tune about the word feminism. In 2012 when she was named Billboard's Woman of the Year in 2012, she told the magazine, "I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the power of women." But by March of this year, she had changed her tune.

"A feminist? Um, yeah, actually," she told Australian morning show host Karl Stefanovic in March of this year. "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."media: 25679831

quicklist:title: Kelly Clarksontext: "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson rejected the word, however.

"I wouldn't say [I'm a] feminist, that's too strong," she told Time last October. "I think when people hear feminist it's just like, 'Get out of my way I don't need anyone,'" she says. "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, when I first auditioned for 'Idol.'"media: 25680049