Aziz Ansari: "I'm a feminist"

The comedian mocks the stigma that surrounds the deeply politicized word

Published October 7, 2014 1:52PM (EDT)

It's so nice to hear that Aziz Ansari, a comedian so frustrated by the rituals of modern dating that he is writing a book about it, is in a stable and loving long-term relationship. What's even greater to hear is that this lovely lady friend is a "big feminist" and has turned Ansari into one, too (or at least made him think more critically about the issue).

Ansari talked about feminism with "Late Show" host David Letterman on Monday night, riffing on why he thinks the word gets stigmatized and why that's a silly excuse to not call yourself a feminist.

"If you look up feminism in the dictionary, it just means that men and women have equal rights. And I feel like everyone here believes men and women have equal rights. But I think the reason people don't clap is that word is so weirdly used in our culture. Now, people think feminist means 'some woman is gonna start yelling at them,'" he said.

"So, I feel like if you do believe that, if you believe that men and women have equal rights, if someone asks if you're feminist, you have to say yes because that is how words work," he says, joking, "You can't be like, 'Oh yeah I'm a doctor that primarily does diseases of the skin.' Oh, so you're a dermatologist? 'Oh no, that's way too aggressive of a word! No no not at all not at all.'"

His other litmus test for knowing if you're a feminist: Going to a Beyonce/Jay Z concert and not expecting Beyonce to make Jay a steak or to earn less.

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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Aziz Ansari Beyonce Feminism Feminist Gender Equality Jay-z Video