• These female icons might support female empowerment but would they call themselves a feminist? Hell no! (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
These 10 women all wholeheartedly believe in equality and empowerment for all womenkind, yet they surprisingly refuse to identify with the word "feminist".
Shami Sivasubramanian

8 Mar 2016 - 1:18 PM  UPDATED 8 Mar 2016 - 1:50 PM

Most of us are acutely aware of what feminism actually means. And for those of you who don't, it means "equality for women".  You don't have to carry placards or burn you bras, but as long as you simply believe that both men and women should be afforded equal opportunities, you're feminist.

Unfortunately, the some women are a bit fuzzy on this definition. Below are 10 women who surprisingly don't identify as feminists.

1. Michaelia Cash


The minister for both employment and women appeared on ABC's Q&A program last night, saying she refused associate herself with the tag of "feminist". 

The episode took place on the eve of International Women's Day, and Senator Cash make her stance amidst both publisher and prominent feminist, Mia Freedman, and 2GB host and noted conservative, Alan Jones, who both showed allegiance to the feminist cause.

Senator Cash, who claims to be "fundamentally committed to gender equality" refuses to label herself a feminist, whilst seemingly fighting for all the same values feminism holds dear.

"Do I think that I can be the Minister for Women, be passionate about my commitment to gender equality, put in place policies that will ensure that as Australians we move towards gender equality and yet not be a feminist or not label myself a feminist? Yes, I do," she said.

Ms Cash continues to face backlash for her comments on last night's show.

2. Rita Panahi


Proud conservative Iranian-Australian, and Herald Sun columnist, Rita Panahi, does not count herself a feminist. She finds that feminism is an attempt to absolve the differences between men and women, differences she finds makes each sex what they are.

"It isn’t an admission that I’m inferior or superior; it’s merely an acknowledgment that we are inherently different.

"As a woman I am as capable, independent and empowered as any man, but that doesn’t mean I want to be treated like one," she wrote.

Panahi is an Iranian refugee who came to Australia as young girl. Her family fled from a regime that would have denied her many liberties the feminist movement affords her here in Australia.


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3. Julie Bishop


Our current highest ranking female member of federal parliament does not identify as a feminist, as she believes the term an outdated one.

In an address to the National Press Club to launch Women in Media back in 2014, Minister Bishop pointed out while she recognised the feminism movement, "feminist" was "not a term I find particularly useful these days."

She also claimed feminism was an excuse women banked on in the workforce, arguing she would never "blame the fact that I'm a woman" for any back sets in her career.

The minister faced backlash from several noted Australian commentators, including proud feminist, Jane Caro.

4. Katy Perry

Another seemingly powerful woman who does not identify as a feminist is musician Katy Perry. Though famously appearing on an empowering sketch for NBC's Saturday Night Live, in response to the media circling her naturally large breasts, Katy Perry is staunchly against associating herself with the term.

However, like most closeted-feminists, Perry is all for "female empowerment", she told Jon Stewart on The Daily Show in 2012.


5. Shailene Woodley


Known for her out-there lifestyle which includes living out of Airbnb homes, frequently airing her vagina, and not wearing deodorant, Woodley might seem like the perfect poster child for feminism and going against the grain.

But she has frequently shared her views on feminism and the negative branding she believes it puts on women. Her personal reason for not being a feminist is she "won’t accept the idea of giving women an unfair advantage over men", which is how she interprets the ideology. She does however believes in equality for both sexes. 

6. Pru Goward


Former Sex Discrimination Minister, Pru Goward, was famously forward about her stance as an anti-feminist. Prior to being appointed Sex Discrimination Minister in 2001, Ms Goward was director of the Office of the Status of Women. 

Though Ms Goward acknowledged the inequality between women and men in the workforce and society at large, she felt "women's liberation" and "feminism" conflated the issue.

"I think we've talked for far too long about women's lib," she said to Green Left Weekly. "It's reaching a point where it's almost a war between men and women and that has not been productive."

She also advocated for some rather unorthodox solutions to gender inequality, including prostitution. Ms Goward claimed the use of prostitutes amongst men is a "necessary market solution to a fundamental difference between men and women: the nature of their sexual desire."


7. Meryl Streep


Meryl Streep may have paved the way for many young women in Hollywood, but she'd never consider herself a feminist. The three-time Oscar winner says though she believes in female empowerment, something she learned from attending Barnard College in New York, an all-girl liberal arts college, she wouldn't call her self a feminist.

In an interview with Time Out, Streep was asked if she was a feminist. She replied, "I am a humanist, I am for nice, easy balance."


8. Stacey Dash


The former Clueless star turned Fox News host has faced backlash for saying many controversial things - from claiming Black History Month should be cancelled, to being an anti-vaxxer, to quite vocally showing her dissent at feminism.

Her most famous outburst on the subject to date was her rebuke of Patricia Arquette's Oscars speech last year, where Arquette advocated equal pay for men and women. 

Dash told American daytime host Meredith Vieira on her talk show that she felt "complaining" about equal pay was a way to "make excuses".

“I feel like it’s an excuse. It’s the same thing with race. It’s an excuse. Stop making excuses,” Dash said. “If there are opportunities, seize them and be prepared for them, and be the best, if that’s what it takes. If you have to be extraordinary, then be extraordinary.”


9. Bjork


In 2005, Icelandic singer Bjork told Bust magazine she didn't identify as a feminist, because it would "isolate" her.

“You could probably call my mother a feminist, and I watched her isolate herself all her life from men, and therefore from society,” she said.

She also said how she felt their were more important things to do than call oneself a feminist.  "I think it’s important to do positive stuff. It’s more important to be asking than complaining," she said.


10. Lady Gaga

Gaga might seem like the last person you'd think wouldn't call herself a feminist, but the pop singer is rather defiant of the term.

During an interview, Gaga was asked whether she was a feminist to which she replied, "I’m not a feminist — I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture and beer and bars and muscle cars."

However her comment came right after she criticised the interviewer for judging her for being a woman who embraces her sexuality, claiming he'd call a man who did the same "a rockstar".