8 Feminist Male Musicians We Love

Photo: REX USA/Stephen Sweet.
Sometimes it feels like feminism and the urge to let loose on the dance floor and/or mosh pit are totally at odds with each other. Humans are complicated creatures and sometimes the beats that we blast while getting ready to go out at night or on a jog don't exactly jibe with our politics. (Have you read Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist yet? No? Okay, we'll wait.)
In a society swarming with women who are afraid to identify as feminists, it feels pretty damn good to find out that we have male allies in the world of music. Whether these guys are throwing their support behind survivors of sexual assault or speaking out against gender norms, they're musicians who rock on every level. Even if they don't use the "F" word themselves.
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Photo: BEImages/Jim Smeal.
Andrew W.K.

Andrew W.K. gives advice like a guru in his Village Voice column, offers up feel-good koans on Twitter (example: "PARTY TIP: Men can be feminists."), and will soon offer his hard-partying wisdom in book form.

If you don't believe us, read his advice to this 15-year-old girl in a crappy relationship.

"You tell your boyfriend how you feel and if he doesn't stop, you leave. It really is that simple. You don't need to 'work through it,' or 'stay friends.' It doesn't mean it will be easy to break up, but you must be strong enough and tough enough to go through these sorts of challenges in life. You have to not only protect your emotions, you have to protect your heart and soul — your very being. Subjecting yourself to too much cruelty can kill you inside, and you were born to live and be loved."
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Photo: BEImages/MATT BARON.
The Beastie Boys

In the beginning of their career, Mike D, MCA, and Ad-Rock were more concerned with fighting for their right to party, but by the time they released Ill Communication in 1994, they were ready to eat their words about "Girls."

In "Sure Shot," MCA rapped, "I want to say a little something that's long overdue / The disrespect to women has to got to be through / To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends / I want to offer my love and respect till the end." They also apologized for homophobic lyrics.

Plus, Ad-Rock and Kathleen Hanna are the best couple ever.
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Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Records.
Chuck D

The co-founder of Public Enemy continues to fight the powers that be — and that includes sexism in its many insidious forms. Although Public Enemy definitely had its problems, particularly the anti-Semitic statements made by Professor Griff, and also homophobic lyrics in songs like "Meet The G That Killed Me," Chuck D has long been an avid supporter of women in hip-hop. (Chuck D has also since come out in support of gay marriage.)

The song "Revolutionary Generation" from Fear of a Black Planet was just the first of many salvos against sexism. In 2005, Chuck told BUST: "I think often that we're living in such a macho-istic society that men aren't looking at women as adult human beings. How ridiculous is that?" Watch an interview with him on sexism in hip hop here.

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Photo: Courtesy of MTV.
Eddie Vedder

During a performance on MTV Unplugged in 1992, Eddie Vedder took the opportunity of a longish guitar/drum solo to balance precariously on his stool and scrawl "PRO-CHOICE" on his arm with a Sharpie. That same year, he wrote an op-ed for Spin on the matter. As a band, Pearl Jam was one of many high-profile bands to play the Voters for Choice benefit. A few years later, Gloria Steinem herself was a guest on Pearl Jam's "Monkeywrench Radio," a sort of proto-podcast.
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Kurt Cobain

No one quite knew what to make of Nirvana and their cadre of anarchist cheerleaders at first, but one thing was for sure: The song "Polly," about the abduction and rape of a young woman, freaked everyone the hell out. Although Cobain wasn't wild about the press, he pulled no punches when it came to talking about assault.

In 1991, Cobain told NME, "Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth. And it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there."
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Photo: REX USA/David Fisher/Rex.
John Legend

Legend was speaking at a press conference to promote The Sound of Change Live concert when he announced: "All men should be feminists. If men care about women's rights the world will be a better place."

He added, "We are better off when women are empowered — it leads to a better society." The concert was a benefit for Chime for Change, a global campaign for women's rights.

It's really just that simple.
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Photo: Ellisa Keller
Ted Leo

Ted Leo isn't just a Pharmacist, he's a feminist. Leo loaned his voice to Rookie mag's very cool theme song, "Go Forth, Feminist Warriors," alongside such feminist luminaries as Carrie Brownstein, Tegan and Sara, and Tavi Gevinson herself. Plus, he's musical BFFs with Aimee Mann and he hangs out with How Was Your Week's Julie Klausner. Basically, he's best friends with the coolest girls in school.

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Photo: Courtesy of Welcoming Committee.

These vegan Canadians rallied against capitalism and conformity like many of their punk rock brethren, but Propagandhi stood out for its pointed take on sexism. Sure, bands like the Dead Kennedys and The Clash were anti-fascist lefties, but they never dismantled gender constructs as thoroughly as Propagandhi did in "Refusing To Be A Man."
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