Charlize Theron has always been a feminist, but these days, she’s much less apologetic about it. The actor, who has long been an outspoken advocate of equal pay for male and female actors, sat down at Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse with Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Kweku Mandela, to talk about the late activist’s legacy. While chatting, the conversation eventually turned to Theron’s own work to advance the rights and opportunities of women.
During the conversation, Theron admitted that in the past, she felt like she had to apologize for being outspoken, and that was a patriarchal belief that she had to let go of.
“I’m proud to say that I am a fucking feminist,” she said from the stage. “I remember always saying being a feminist meant a different thing to everybody. And I would apologize for it. And I had to ask, why was that? Why couldn’t I just say, ‘Yes, I’m a feminist?'”
Theron is right. The idea of feminism is pretty simple, though many people have a skewed view of what it actually is. In the simplest possible terms, feminists believe that women should have all the same rights and opportunities as men. That’s nothing anyone should be apologizing for, and Theron is right to say it proudly.
In her talk with Mandela, she also discussed working on The Huntsman: Winter’s War and asking to receive the same pay as her costar, Chris Hemsworth, which became another exercise in adjusting her thinking because, she said, she felt “lucky” at the time to receive the same pay as him.
“No, I didn’t feel lucky,” she said. “I deserved that and I asked for it.”
It’s something all people need to realize and internalize: Women have the same worth as men, and it’s about time that was recognized.