We Heart: Terry Crews, Fierce Feminist

shutterstock_155234612You might know that Terry Crews is a former NFL player or that he plays a sweet-tough cop on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But you may be surprised to learn that he’s also a badass feminist.

Crews recently spoke to DAME magazine’s Alanna Schubach about masculinity, women in the workforce and rape culture in sports, and boy did he have some things on his mind:

Coming up in the sports culture, I saw it was nothing for guys to say things like,’“Oh, you know she wanted it.’ I knew guys who had the attitude of, ‘You know you shouldn’t have walked out the door looking like that, girl,’ thinking they had the right to feel on her or to rape her, because of what she was wearing. Once I realized that I was part of that culture, I knew that I had to change it.

The actor has called himself a “card-carrying” feminist and even wrote a book on redefining masculinity, called Manhood: How to be a Better Man—Or Just Live With One. He says that when his wife threatened to leave him, he woke up and realized that toxic rules about what makes a “real man”—being tough, not showing your feelings—weren’t serving him and he needed to change. That’s when he started to rethink masculinity and embrace feminist ideas about women’s worth.

In an interview with Elamin Abdelmahmoud at the White Ribbon Campaign’s “What Makes a Man” event, Crews said,

I want to be clear that feminism is not saying ‘women are better than men.’ That’s not what’s going on … What it is is that we’re talking about is gender equality, true gender equality … but the problem is that men have always felt like they’re more valuable … I have been that guy where I felt I was more valuable than my wife and kids.

But he turned a corner and, as he told DAME,

For guys, if you did wrong, if you were that way, I get it. I was that guy, too. And along with apologies, you have to begin to make amends. … The smartest, most wonderful people in my life have been women. They’ve always shown me things that I never saw before. … What happens in society when women are marginalized and not respected is that the smartest people are there, but you don’t use them. … To me, you can’t say you’re a champion until you let everybody play.

We heart you, Terry Crews. Keeping spreading the good word.

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About

Stephanie hails from Toronto, Canada. She is a Ms. writer, a Master of Journalism candidate and a hip hop dancer/instructor/choreographer. She got her start in feminist journalism at the age of 16 when she was a member of the first editorial collective at Shameless magazine—and she has never looked back.