Joseph Gordon-Levitt explains what it means to be a feminist

Aug 14, 2014 at 10:00 p.m. ET

Joseph Gordon-Levitt may be one of the most adorable — and least controversial — celebrities these days. And (if it's possible), he may have just gotten more adorable.

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In an interview with the Daily Beast, the actor described himself as a "male feminist."

"What that means to me is that you don't let your gender define who you are — you can be who you want to be, whether you're a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whatever," he explained. "However you want to define yourself, you can do that and should be able to do that, and no category ever really describes a person because every person is unique. That, to me, is what 'feminism' means."

"So yes, I'd absolutely call myself a feminist."

Gordon Levitt explained that his parents really taught him the history behind feminism, and why he believes in it as an important movement — but not just for women.

"If you look at history, women are an oppressed category of people," he explained. "There's a long, long history of women suffering abuse, injustice, and not having the same opportunities as men, and I think that's been very detrimental to the human race as a whole."

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Gordon-Levitt's parents are both teachers and they taught their son how to respect women and even empathize with their struggles.

"I'm a believer that if everyone has a fair chance to be what they want to be and do what they want to do, it's better for everyone. It benefits society as a whole."