Meryl Streep forgets what feminism means, wears offensive T-shirt.

Oh Meryl, not you too.

Remember in February when Patricia Arquette won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and used her acceptance speech to call for gender equality and an end to the wage gap in America?

It was a pretty nice moment (although short-lived).

Here’s her fellow actress and Oscar-winner Meryl Streep responding to the comments on the night.

Yeah! Equality! Woo!

Earlier this year, 66-year-old Streep joined other influential Americans asking the US Congress to revive the Equal Rights Amendment, which would enshrine the rights of women in the country’s constitution.

She is currently doing publicity for her new film Suffragettes, in which she plays Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the British suffragette movement that helped women win the right to vote.

It would appear that Meryl Streep is a feminist.

Meryl Streep: Confirmed Democrat, likely feminist.

Except that she says she isn’t.

In a baffling interview with London’s Time Out, Streep has distanced herself from the term, opting instead to call herself a “humanist”.

It’s worth noting that she did so while also saying that men at decision-making levels in Hollywood should look around their tables and realise something is wrong when half of their colleagues aren’t women.

“Men should look at the world as if something is wrong when their voices predominate. They should feel it,” she said.

Feminism is any political movement that fights for equal rights for both sexes. (I know you’re busy Meryl, so let me google that for you.)

This is an idea that Meryl Streep consistently appears to support.

By comparison, ‘humanism’ is a philosophical and ethical stance, which values humans over divine beings.


A person can be both a feminist and a humanist, as the two are not mutually exclusive — although Streep probably isn’t.

In all likelihood she just got mixed up, so I made her this diagram for future reference:

Cc: Sarah Jessica Parker.

Streep was also panned for the pictures that accompanied the article, in which she and a number of other actresses from the film donned T-shirts with the slogan, “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.”

Like this.

The phrase is taken from a famous speech by Pankhurst and the part is taken from is as follows:

“Know that women, once convinced that they are doing what is right, that their rebellion is just, will go on, no matter what the difficulties, no matter what the dangers, so long as there is a woman alive to hold up the flag of rebellion. I would rather be a rebel than a slave.”

In a late 19th century and early 20th century British context, it is a powerful statement, but taken out of that context and for an American audience, the words ‘rebel’ and ‘slave’ are deeply offensive when paired.

During the American Civil War, the Confederates, who referred to themselves as ‘rebels’, came from the Southern slave states and fought for their right to own slaves.

Hence, at first glance Streep appears to be wearing an item of clothing that says, ‘I’d rather own a slave than be one.’

At a time when race relations are highly politicised in her country, and there is an increasing awareness of the need for intersectionality in feminist debate, she looks more than a bit out of touch.

When in doubt, ALWAYS google it, Meryl.