Aziz Ansari’s girlfriend may be an expert chef, but it wasn’t just her cooking that won him over.
“My girlfriend has influence on me. She’s a big feminist, and, you know, that made me think about those kinds of issues,” Ansari shared in an interview with David Letterman on The Late Show to promote his October 9 headliner at Madison Square Garden. “[Now], I’m a feminist as well.”
Ansari mentioned that the term—brandished by bold-faced names from Amy Poehler and Beyoncé to Lena Dunham and Sheryl Sandberg—receives flack for negative connotations, but isn’t as complicated as it’s made to seem.
“If you look up feminist in the dictionary, it just means someone who believes men and women have equal rights,” he said. “And I feel like everyone here believes men and women should have equal rights.”
Echoing the sentiments of Dunham and He for She ambassador Emma Watson, Ansari said people have trouble identifying with the word because it is misinterpreted for having radical rhetoric, being exclusive to women, and pushing an anti-male regime. Bogus, indeed.
“I think the reason people don’t clap is that word’s so weirdly used in our culture. Now people think feminist means some woman’s going to start yelling at them... 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.”
In true form, Ansari lightened the discussion with a reference to Mrs. Carter and Jay Z, but still made it a teachable moment, adding that women make 23% less than men. If only our stats professor were as easy to understand.