In recent years, feminism has become something of a dirty word; with some seeing the term as synonymous with unshaven, man-hating bra burners, rather than women who just want to be treated equally to men.
But luckily, public figures such as Hillary Clinton, Emma Watson, Serena Williams, Michelle Obama et al, are putting the record straight about what it means to be a feminist.
And no, it isn't the choice between wearing a bra or not.
Just this month, Emma Watson was forced to defend her decision to be photographed topless for Vanity Fair, after critics called her a “hypocrite.” In their minds, it was impossible for Watson to be the empowered, feminist woman she claims to be, while also being in possession of two breasts that she’d showcase to the world.
“Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality…I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it.”
She may have lost out on the presidency to the most orange man in the world, but Hillary Clinton is still our hero. He concession speech encouraging women to go after what they want will go down in history.
“To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
Tina Fey is funny, intelligent, and a devout feminist. Despite working in a male dominated field for decades, she’s more than happy to help other women up, encourage reproductive rights, and promote equality.
"The question is, do you want to be paid the same for the same work? The question is, do you want control of your body?”
Serena Williams holds the most major titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles tennis, so when an interview asked her if she’d like to be remembered as one of the greatest female athletes of all time – she replied:
“I prefer the words ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time.’”
Mindy Kaling is another one of our comedy favourites. But as with many other actresses, singers, politicians and playwrights, critics are keen to comment on ‘where Mindy’s baby is’ while she’s out.
"People ask where Mindy's baby is when I'm on a dating story. He's off playing w/the children on male-driven comedies no one ever asks about."
Mr Bond might be criticised for being sexist, but Daniel Craig certainly is not.
“Women are responsible for two thirds of the work done worldwide, yet earn only 10 per cent of the total income and own one per cent of the property… So, are we equals? Until the answer is yes, we must never stop asking.”
Shonda Rimes has created some of the most successful television series of all time, such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, but she’s not wowed by her own abilities.
“It's not trailblazing to write the world as it actually is. Women are smart and strong. They are not sex toys or damsels in distress. People of colour are not sassy or dangerous or wise. And believe me, people of colour are never anybody's sidekick in real life.”
Despite her tender years, Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams sure has got a smart head on her shoulders. Now this is why Millenials are going to save the world:
“I also feel like we should stop calling feminists 'feminists' and just start calling people who aren’t feminist 'sexist' — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist. People get a label when they’re bad.”
We’ve been guilty of objectifying Tom Hardy (sorry Tom), but that aside, the talented Brit is also a staunch feminist who believes in creating opportunities for women. Plus, you've got to remember that time, during a Mad Max press conference, when he took down a reporter who asked him: "Did you ever think 'Why are all these women here?'" Watch the video above for this reaction.
“There should be better parts for women than just girlfriend and wife or lover. Because I’m bored with that.”
Harry Potter writer J.K.Rowling is one of our favourite Twitter friends. She stands up for the minorities, never bows down to the bullies, and always makes her point eloquently. Case in point is the below:
“We stand together. We stick up for the vulnerable. We challenge bigots. We don't let hate speech become normalized. We hold the line.”
With one of the most celebrated voices on the planet, Adele is one of our favourite singers out there. Not least because, despite her multi-million dollar success, she maintains an element of normality amidst all the celebrity chaos. Oh, and because she said this about shaving her legs:
"He has no choice. I'll have no man telling me to shave my f*ckin' legs. Shave yours."
His grandma is one of the most powerful women in the world. So it should come as no surprises that Prince Harry believes in girl power.
“We all know that when women are empowered, they immeasurably improve the lives of everyone around them. This is not just about women. We men need to recognize the part we play too. Real men treat women with dignity and the respect they deserve.”
Actress Zoe says she has no time to sit around “moping” about the lack of opportunities out there for women. Instead, she wants to create them.
“We have to raise better men. We have to be the creators of positions of power that will then in turn create better opportunities for women. I'm going to make better choices in my career, in choosing roles I want women to follow.”
Madonna gets a bad rep because she refuses to conform to what we expect a 50-something woman should be like. She wears what she wants, says what she wants, and isn’t afraid to ruffle feathers.
“I'm tough, I'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.”
Sheryl Sandberg might not quite fall into the celeb category, but she’s one kick-ass woman in business who we admire immensely (Sheryl is the CEO of Facebook.) This year, she introduced increased bereavement leave for Facebook employees, after losing her husband suddenly in 2015.
“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”
Michelle Obama was everything we wanted in a First Lady. Strong, passionate, intelligent, accepting. With numerous quotes about diversity and feminism, it was hard to pick just one. But perhaps this succinct message to women everywhere just about clinches it.
“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish, whether that's in politics or other fields.”
Reese Witherspoon might look like butter wouldn’t melt, but she’s one of the highest earning actresses, a mum, and business owner to boot. We think she puts it best when she channels her most infamous character, Legally Blonde's Elle Woods:
“Like Elle Woods, I do not like to be underestimated.”
For a look at the state of feminism in the world, see the March issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.