From Gloria Steinem to Lena Dunham, there are many fierce ladies who have been(and should continue to be) applauded for working to make the world a better place for women. But it’s also important to remember that we have some awesome — and swoon-worthy — male allies out there.
Recently there’s been much discussion around the term feminist, and most of it boils down to a fundamental misunderstanding of what “feminism” actually means. At its core, feminism is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” Or if you’d like to take the word of Beyoncé’s “***Flawless” over Merriam-Webster’s: “Feminism is the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie FTW.)
Of course, many of the people who want to see men and women have equal rights and opportunities are dudes. To celebrate these badass bros, we’ve rounded up 28 famous men who have openly advocated for women.
These easy-on-the-eyes celebrities have tackled numerous topics including domestic and sexual violence, female sexuality and pop-culture’s distorted representation of women. No matter your gender identity, if you are fighting for equality, we welcome, encourage and celebrate you.
1. Daniel Radcliffe
Have you ever heard a girl say she’s in the friend zone? It’s a thing I think men need to be really careful about using… Do I think men and women can be friends? Yes, absolutely. Do I think men and women who are sexually attracted to each other can just be friends? Eh, it will probably become an issue at some point whether you deal with it, and talk about it and just move on, but it will always sort of get dealt with eventually… I definitely think the idea of friend zone is just men going, ‘This woman won’t have sex with me.’
2. Patrick Stewart
3. Mark Ruffalo
I invite you to find your voice and let it be known that you stand for abortion rights and the dignity of a woman to be the master of her own life and body. I invite you to search your soul and ask yourself if you actually stand for what you say you stand for. Thank you for being here today and thank you for standing up for the women in my life.
4. Eddie Vedder
Combat lines are drawn at clinics, and women must be escorted through trenches, which only adds to their trauma. This is not a game. This is not a religious pep rally. This is a woman’s future… There are people wary of the strength that young voters possess. Prove them right. Decide on the issues and vote — male or female — for this is not just a women’s issue. It’s human rights. If it were a man’s body and it was his destiny we were deciding there would be no issue. Not in today’s male dominated society.
5. David Schwimmer
6. Ezra Miller
7. John Legend
8. Jon Hamm
Men ruled the roost and women played a subservient role [in the 1960s]. Working wives were a rarity, because their place was in the home, bringing up the kids. The women who did work were treated as second class citizens, because it was a male-dominated society. That was a fact of life then. But it wouldn’t be tolerated today, and that’s quite right in my book … People look back on those days through a thick veil of nostalgia, but life was hard if you were anything other than a rich, powerful, white male.
9. Seth Meyers
10. Louis C.K.
How do women still go out with guys, when you consider that there is no greater threat to women than men? We’re the number one threat to women! Globally and historically, we’re the number one cause of injury and mayhem to women. You know what our number one threat is? Heart disease.
11. Prince Harry
12. Ryan Gosling
You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen… The MPAA is okay 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.
13. Daniel Craig
14. Andy Samberg
15. Alan Alda
16. Ian Somerhalder
I wanted to take part in this campaign because it’s so easy to forget the many women live their lives in fear because of domestic violence. Men have an important role to play in sending out the message that real men do not hurt or abuse their partners.
17. Ben Stiller
18. The Dalai Lama
19. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
My mom brought me up to be a feminist. She would always point out to my brother and me that our culture does often portray women like objects… She wanted me and my brother to be aware of it because we see these images on TV, in the movies and on magazines all the time. And if you don’t stop and think about it, it just sort of seeps into your brain and that becomes the way you perceive reality.
20. Will Smith
We let Willow cut her hair. When you have a little girl, it’s like how can you teach her that you’re in control of her body? If I teach her that I’m in charge of whether or not she can touch her hair, she’s going to replace me with some other man when she goes out in the world. She can’t cut my hair but that’s her hair. She has got to have command of her body. So when she goes out into the world, she’s going out with a command that is hers. She is used to making those decisions herself. We try to keep giving them those decisions until they can hold the full weight of their lives.
21. Richard Sherman
Well, I’ve never gone into a strip club and thrown money, so I couldn’t tell you. I guess trying to understand that there are other avenues, there are other ways you can make money, that women can do anything they want in this world. You can go out there and be a CEO of a company. Like I said before, the same can be said for kids in the inner city — the ceiling is limitless and don’t limit yourself to those possibilities and those circumstances.
22. Jay Baruchel
I do [prefer writing women characters], just because I’m a mama’s boy. I was raised by my mom, I have a little sister, and I’m constantly annoyed [by] how terribly written most females are in most everything — and especially in comedy. Their anatomy seems to be the only defining aspect of their character, and I just find that untruthful and it straight-up offends me. A lot of the strongest people I know are chicks. And as a viewer, I get a kick out of watching real characters. So I take it upon myself to clean that shit up and write actual women. And I like writing strong women, because as a straight male, there’s nothing more attractive to me than a strong girl.
23. Ashton Kutcher
The male orgasm is actually right there and readily available to learn about because it’s actually part of the reproductive cycle, but the female orgasm isn’t really talked about in the education system. Part of that creates a place where women aren’t empowered around their own sexuality and their own sexual selves, and from a purely entertainment point of view, to create a movie with a female lead that’s empowered with her own sexuality is a powerful thing. And if we can give teenage people something to think about from a sex perspective, I would say it would be to open a conversation where women are empowered with their own sexual experiences from an educational level as well as an entertainment level.
24. President Barack Obama
25. Joss Whedon
Because, equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition.
Our favorite of his numerous (and all awesome) responses was the one that finished his speech: “So, why do you write these strong female characters?” “Because you’re still asking me that question.”
26. Blair Underwood
Basically it boils down to the government or legislative body telling me what I can and cannot do in planning my own family. So, if you are going to tell a woman what to do, that woman may be my wife, that woman may be my girlfriend. That doesn’t sit well with me to tell them and to tell me what I can’t do with my family. So, in a nutshell, that’s basically why I’m here, and that’s why it’s important for most of us men to be here. Because, you can’t live in this world, obviously, without coming into contact with women. I mean, a woman is my mother, gave me life, gave me sisters. I have a girlfriend I love dearly. All of that comes into play. It’s not about abortion being right or wrong. It’s about having that choice to decide what a person should do with their own body.
27. Antonio Banderas
Two million women and girls are trafficked each year into prostitution, forced labor, slavery or servitude… These women are our sisters and our daughters, our grandmothers and our mothers. This is unacceptable. And it must stop now.
28. Donald McPherson
What can men do [to stop violence against women]? Men do not just need to stop being violent. The vast majority of men are not violent. But men do need to stop being silent. Calling violence against women, whether street harassment or sexual harassment or rape or murder, a “women’s issue” allows men to ignore it as if we have no responsibility for it or stake in ending it. We all have grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters and female friends and colleagues. Our lives are inextricably interwoven; women’s issues of safety and equality directly affect our lives as men. Beyond that, women are humans, with the same rights to safety and freedom as men. It is therefore our moral responsibility to not remain silent or passively on the sidelines, but to be actively engaged in confronting this problem in every corner of homes, communities, and societies.