We Heart: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Self-Proclaimed Feminist

As if his impressive acting chops and creative side projects weren’t enough, Joseph Gordon-Levitt gave us another reason to love him on Thursday when he proclaimed that he “absolutely” identifies as a feminist.

In between chatting about his favorite directors and affinity for musicals, Gordon-Levitt told a Daily Beast reporter:

I’d absolutely call myself a feminist. … There’s a long, long history of women suffering abuse, injustice and not having the same opportunities as men, and I think that’s been very detrimental to the human race as a whole.

Pay attention, Pharrell—men can be feminists too.

What’s great about Gordon-Levitt’s response is not just that he identifies as a feminist, but that he truly understands the meaning of the word. Unlike some of his celebrity peers, Gordon-Levitt doesn’t cast aside the women’s movement as man-hating or “too strong.” Instead, he captures the very essence of feminism in one simple sentence:

I’m a believer that if everyone has a fair chance to be what they want to be and do what they want to do, it’s better for everyone.


Gordon-Levitt has talked about his feminism before, telling Ellen DeGeneres in January,

I do call myself a feminist. Absolutely! … It’s worth paying attention to the roles that are sort of dictated to us and that we don’t have to fit into those roles. We can be anybody we want to be.

Gordon-Levitt recently brought his enlightened views to the big screen in Don Jon, a film he wrote, directed and starred in, about a man whose relationships are ruined by his obsession with pornography. That doesn’t sound like your typical feminist flick, but Gordon-Levitt explained at a press conference that the film was actually inspired by lessons learned from his mother:

You see a woman on a screen, and you reduce her to a thing—a sex object. That’s something I’ve been aware of my whole life. My mom … was always very keen to make my brother and me aware of this happening. So in many ways, [Don Jon] is an homage to my mom. It’s me writing a comedy about the wisdom that she wanted to instill me with.

Excuse me while I update my Netflix cue.

Photo of Joseph Gordon-Levitt courtesy of Flickr user Gordon Correll licensed under Creative Commons 2.0


Emily Shugerman is a politics major at Occidental College and editor in chief of The Occidental Weekly. Follow her on Twitter.