Aziz Ansari sat for a weirdly not-that-funny interview with David Letterman last night to promote his two — two! — upcoming stand up dates at Madison Square Garden. But he did get in a few decent points about the state of the term “feminist.”
“If you look up feminism in the dictionary,” he says, which is how all good jokes begin, “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 then goes on to make his point more relatable to the kids, by working in a Jay Z and Beyonce analogy. Oddly, his example of Beyonce making Jay a steak had sort of a weird echo back to how he had just said how much he loves it when his chef girlfriend makes him food.
Still, he’s coming from a good place.
“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… 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, not at all.’”
The thing about words though? They can mean almost anything that people want them to mean, and the louder, and stupider, people often can hijack them. It’s good to see decent people pushing back every now and again.