Kelly Clarkson: I’m Not A Feminist

“No, I wouldn’t say [I’m a] feminist — that’s too strong. I think when people hear feminist, it’s like, ‘Get out of my way, I don’t need anyone.’ I love that I’m being taken care of, and I have a man that’s a leader. I’m not a feminist in that sense … but I’ve worked really hard since I was 19, when I first auditioned for Idol.”

Here’s Kelly Clarkson in TIME magazine on why she doesn’t call herself a feminist. You can call yourself anything you want, or not, Kelly. But are you sure about that? Because if your music is any judge, I would argue you’re a kickass “modern day feminist” just like Beyoncé.  

Let’s look at some of the highlights of Kelly’s oeuvre: “Miss Independent,” “Break Away,” “I Do Not Hook Up,”  “Mr. Know It All.” All those songs are some of my most fave feminist-y pop songs — or we can call it “girl power” if that tones it down enough to sound palatable to you. The point is that Kelly’s lyrics about not being told what to do by a man and only engaging in sex when she wants to are totally feminist!  And yeah, that can be compatible with wanting to be taken care of by a man. Taking care of each other can take many forms: emotionally, physically, and yes, financially.  (And she’s obviously making more money than her husband.) Ultimately, feminism is about the belief that men and women deserve equal opportunities in life because they’re equally valuable and powerful and deserving of equal rights.  I’m pretty sure Kelly believes that.

Ultimately, I’m sad that the “f-word” has been so stigmatized that despite her values Kelly doesn’t want to call herself a feminist.  But given the pariah-like status of calling yourself one, I don’t really blame Kelly Clarkson on this one.

Elsewhere in her TIME interview, she also addressed the recent criticisms of women in pop music dressing provocatively. Smartly, Kelly demurred from addressing Miley Cyrus directly:

“There’ve always been women in the industry who have pushed the envelope — Cher, Madonna, Annie Lennox. I don’t think anything different is going on. People say, “Oh, you never go for the whole sex-appeal thing.” Well, I don’t ever not go for it, either. I just go for who I am. People in the industry have tried douche moves with me, but of course they’re going to, because they make money when girls do that. … I honestly don’t [have any advice for Miley Cyrus], because we’re nothing alike — I wasn’t a child star. I have no idea what her life was like or what she goes through.”


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[Image via Getty]