Meryl Streep Says She Doesn't Identify as a Feminist

Wait, what?

Meryl Streep
(Image credit: Getty)

Meryl Streep plays an early feminist hero fighting for the right to vote in the new movie Suffragette. But Streep, who is actually a feminist hero in her day-to-day life, says she'd prefer not to be identified by the f-word. Yes, really.

In an interview with Time Out London (opens in new tab), Streep, who's promoting her role as British icon Emmeline Pankhurst, was asked, "Are you a feminist?" Her response: "I am a humanist, I am for nice easy balance." It's not like Streep said she doesn't believe in equality for women, but she did shy away from proudly aligning with the feminist movement.

It's confusing why she'd avoid using the word feminist, considering her actions are almost consistently feminist. This is a woman who sent letters (opens in new tab) to every member of Congress demanding they pass the Equal Rights Amendment, and set up a fund (opens in new tab) for women screenwriters over 40. Even in the same interview, she called out Hollywood for being too male-dominated. "People at agencies and studios, including the parent boards, might look around the table at the decision-making level and feel something is wrong if half their participants are not women," she said.

Let's just chalk this up to a slip of the tongue, because if we don't, we have to disqualify Streep's amazing speech (opens in new tab) in honor of Emma Thompson last year. She called her fellow actress "a rabid, man-eating feminist, like I am." And that's a character trait worth celebrating.

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Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.