John Ridley doesn't call himself a feminist, but it's not because he doesn't believe in gender equality. Rather, he thinks that claiming the label for himself would diminish the work of activists who tirelessly fight for their causes every day.
During a Wednesday interview about the new season of his ABC series "American Crime," Ridley had a nuanced conversation with HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani about what it means to be an advocate for women's rights, explaining that while he supports equality for all, he is "not a feminist."
"It's not like I'm out on a daily basis advocating. I don't want to adopt some kind of a mantle when the reality is, on a daily basis, I'm not an advocate and I'm not doing the things people do where they put their lives or themselves or their livelihoods at risk, because there are people who are doing that," Ridley said.
The Oscar winner said true feminist activists "deserve to have a label that says they're doing something," but he doesn't feel his work as a writer for film and television is enough to merit the title. Ridley explained:
I'm not anti-label for people who are actually doing the things that move society forward. I'm not that guy, and I don't do enough. So for someone to come along and say, 'Hey, John, you're a really big feminist...' I hope that I write quality characters just because that's what one should do. I just want to be careful when someone is out advocating on a daily basis and they go, 'Oh, so John gets to sit in his apartment in New York and he gets to be called a feminist.'
Celebrities who decline to call themselves feminist have been met with varied reactions, and Ridley was quick to explain that his declaration is more about the hard work of others than his own feelings about women.
"I don't want the headline ['John Ridley Isn't A Feminist'] ... I realize how bad that may sound. But I also don't want to take the spotlight from people who are out there fighting" for issues like women's rights, marriage equality or Black Lives Matter, he said.
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