Joss Whedon Goes on the Most Perfect Rant About Feminism, Calls Out Katy Perry in the Process

The Avengers director makes some good points in his discussion of the word feminist

By John Boone Nov 07, 2013 11:09 PMTags
Joss Whedon, Katy PerryYouTube, Getty Images

Joss Whedon, the man who gave us such awesome, ass-kicking, empowered female characters as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Echo from Dollhouse and the ladies of the spaceship Serenity, hates feminist.

He said so while being honored by Equality Now at their "Make Equality Reality" event earlier this week (Whedon is on the Advisory Board of the organization, which strives to end violence and discrimination against women and girls). 

"I hope I'm being clear, I didn't say I hate feminists, that would be weird," he continued. "I said I hate feminist. I'm talking about the word." Watch the rest of his speech for the (awesome) explanation.

Additionally, here is a (very) abridged version of his argument. You miss a lot of the nuance and humor and Joss Whedon-y-ness of his argument, but if you're looking to get to the point quickly:

Ist in it's meaning is also a problem for me. Because you can't be born an ist. It's not natural... So feminist includes the idea that believing men and women to be equal, believing all people to be people, is not a natural state. That we don't emerge assuming that everybody in the human race is a human, that the idea of equality is just an idea that's imposed on us. That we are indoctrinated with it, that it's an agenda...

...My problem with feminist is not the word. It's the question. "Are you now, or have you ever been, a feminist?" The great Katy Perry once said—I'm paraphrasing—"I'm not a feminist but I like it when women are strong."...Don't know why she feels the need to say the first part, but listening to the word and thinking about it, I realize I do understand. This question that lies before us is one that should lie behind us. The word is problematic for me because there's another word that we're missing...

...When you say racist, you are saying that is a negative thing. That is a line that we have crossed. Anything on the side of that line is shameful, is on the wrong side of history. And that is a line that we have crossed in terms of gender but we don't have the word for it...

...I start thinking about the fact that we have this word when we're thinking about race that says we have evolved beyond something and we don't really have this word for gender. Now you could argue sexism, but I'd say that's a little specific. People feel removed from sexism. ‘I'm not a sexist, but I'm not a feminist.' They think there's this fuzzy middle ground. There's no fuzzy middle ground. You either believe that women are people or you don't. It's that simple...

...Genderist. I would like this word to become the new racist. I would like a word that says there was a shameful past before we realized that all people were created equal. And we are past that. And every evolved human being who is intelligent and educated and compassionate and to say I don't believe that is unacceptable. And Katy Perry won't say, "I'm not a feminist but I like strong women," she'll say, "I'm not a genderist but sometimes I like to dress up pretty." And that'll be fine.

This is how we understand society. The word racism didn't end racism, it contextualized it in a way that we still haven't done with this issue. Does that mean that this will end the problem? Yes, definitely, we've done it.

Boom. Joss Whedon is full of win again.

(H/T Jezebel)