Meryl Streep Calls Herself a 'Humanist,' Urges Women to Stand Strong in the 'Face of Patronizing Ridicule'

Meryl Streep talks feminism and sexism in the movie industry with Time Out London

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Meryl Streep may play a female political activist in next month’s Suffragette but when asked if she considers herself a feminist, the three-time Oscar winner had a clear answer.

“I’m a humanist, I am for a nice easy balance,” she told Time Out London.

Streep, who said she lives by the motto “do what you can,” advised women to never “give up or give in in the face of patronizing ridicule, amused disdain or being ignored.”

The actress, despite enormous success in Hollywood, revealed early this month that her letter-writing campaign to drum up support for reviving the Equal Rights Amendment was mostly unsuccessful.

Despite writing to 535 members of Congress, Streep said her appeals were basically ignored – only five recipients even bothered to reply.

When asked if the wage gap riled her up, Streep told Time Out, “Oh darlin’, why ever would you imagine that?”

She also issued her suggestion for eliminating sexism in the industry – a topic that’s been touched upon by many of Hollywood’s other leading women.

“Men should look at the world as if something is wrong when their voices predominate,” the Oscar winner said. “They should feel it. People at agencies and studios, including the parent boards, might look around the table at the decision-making level and feel something is wrong if half their participants are not women. Because our tastes are different, what we value is different. Not better, different.”

She also admonished “absurd” interview questions that are sexist in nature, namely, “‘You often play very strong women … Why do you choose …’ ”

Streep charged that no man is ever asked why he chose the onscreen role of a “strong” man.

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The actress, who said she’s inspired by Malala Yousafzai and called being ladylike “underrated,” also gave some candid advice to her 18-year-old self.

“Don’t waste so much time thinking about how much you weigh,” she told Time Out. “There is no more mind-numbing, boring, idiotic, self-destructive diversion from the fun of living.”

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