Demi Lovato says she was a feminist trailblazer: ‘now everyone is claiming it’

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato’s recent Cosmo interview excerpts buried a serious lede. Cosmo promoted excerpts about how the wonderful Wilmer Valderrama always stands by Demi. There was also a bizarre paragraph about how Demi considers herself a major a**-kicking pop star, who will take no crap from anyone (just like Nicki Minaj).

Now the print edition of the magazine has started to circulate, this quote has surfaced: “I considered myself a feminist before it was cool. Now everyone is claiming it.

Bless her heart. I don’t mean to chuckle at Demi’s indignance. We should simply be happy that a pop star is singing feminism’s praises and not bashing it like so many others have done. But Demi discounts all of the feminists that came before her and truly blazed trails. She’s talking about feminism like it’s a fad, when really, the cause is strengthened when other people join up. It doesn’t matter which pop stars were the “first” to shout feminism’s praises because the movement should help everyone in the end.

Demi also Instagrammed some words about how “empowered” she felt to pose in slinky clothing for Cosmo. I guess people gave her a hard time.


A photo posted by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato

Photos courtesy of WENN

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62 Responses to “Demi Lovato says she was a feminist trailblazer: ‘now everyone is claiming it’”

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  1. Lilacflowers says:

    Sure, Demi, you’re right up there with Alice Paul and Betty Friedan.

    • klaas says:

      I guess people can’t wait a moment to put someone down. She was referring to todays popstars, probably TS and Beyonce ( I hope)

      • Lilacflowers says:

        None of whom are feminist trailblazers.

      • Tarsha says:

        noun: trailblazer;
        a person who makes a new track through wild country.
        •a person who is the first to do something; an innovator.
        Sorry, but Demi Lovato, who I have never heard of until recently, and only through here, fails on both counts. It isn’t about putting her down, rather it is about her putting OTHERS down; those true feminist trailblazers singers and groups from the sixties onwards, who were the trailblazers. I feel she is being very disrespectful, and she really needs to be called out. On point: Aretha Franklin, an elder pioneer of feminism, tells Demi she needs some R.E.S.P.E.C.T for her elders.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Her comment was so childish, regardless of whom she was referring to. Everybody’s copying me! Please. Grow the f up.

      • Anna says:

        Beyoncé “claimed” feminism before Demi probably even knew what it was.

        Demi is such a feminist though, especially when she says Eminem’s lyrics are genius (even the bad ones about rape and abuse) because we probably just don’t understand what he’s trying to say!!!

    • MMRB says:

      i wonder if she’s ever heard of gloria steinem

  2. Bluebell says:

    I like Demi, but sometimes she’s a bit much.

    • Christo says:

      I think this was a guarded slight at Taylor Swift. I disagree with what she considers feminism, though. I believe that she feels that her weight, depression and image issues, as serious as they were a few years ago, make her feel more in tune with acceptance of all female body types and not simply those that the industry had forced her into being in her Disney years. Taylor, by contrast, has coopted the feminist label to embrace a girl clique-mindset. This, however, is not necessarilyy feminist because it caters to a particular type of woman—not all women. In that vein, Taylor’s viewpoint is rather singular when one looks at her posse. Granted, Lena Dunham and Lorde defy the mold to some extent.

  3. Shambles says:

    I genuinely like Demi. I really do. But this new sound bite is just as bizarre as the last one. She just comes of kind of… Strange in this interview. I hope she’s alright.

    I did really like what she had to say about the journey to embracing your body, though.

    • Melymori says:

      It’s easy to “embrace your body” when you have a full team doing photoshop to your cover… I like her but, bitch please lol

      • Alex says:

        Or you know because she’s actually healthy instead of binging and purging to stay skinny like she was before.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        She puts up un-photoshopped images of her body too.

      • Shambles says:

        I won’t deny the photoshop- but I think that’s more on the magazine. But, like Alex said, I complimented her on the “embracing your body” stuff because I know she struggled with eating disorders and self-harm. I think anyone who has come to love themselves and their bodies after struggling in such a profound way deserves all the encouragement in the world.

  4. lisa2 says:

    When I see her she makes me think of a 3rd party candidate. She is trying to find a spot for herself in a Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Beyonce, Nikki world.. not to mention all the other women artist that are more popular than she is.

    She is screaming from a corner saying HEY LOOK OVER HERE AT ME.. LOOK, LOOK, LOOK..

  5. MrsBPitt says:

    Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinham, and Demi Lovato are who I always think of, when discussing feminist trailblazers….

  6. LAK says:

    Bless her heart!

  7. Kiki says:

    What Demi Lovato should do is write more meaningful songs and step out of her comfort zone so she can be more relevant. If it can work for Adele, it can work for her.

  8. Astrid says:

    Sit down and learn your feminist history girl!

  9. Dani L. says:

    Oh shut it, Demi. We get it, you need attention!

  10. Louise177 says:

    Demi does sound stupid but I thought of Taylor Swift and her fake feminism when I read her quote. I think that was Demi’s point – people who don’t care or think about feminism are saying they are. I don’t follow Demi’s career but I never noticed her becoming an advocate for feminism.

  11. InvaderTak says:

    Well, if she’s saying that she was using the word feminist and being proud about it while the likes of Swift, Perry and Gaga were actively denying it, then yeah she does have a point.

  12. JENNA says:

    The actresses and pop stars who have claimed to be feminist recently have noticed that feminism is now trendy. Calling yourself a feminist will give you lots of good publicity in the media and will broaden your appeal amongst women and young girls. The problem is that their actions often prove that they are not really doing what they preach and are doing nothing for the cause. It’s just PR.

    Also the idea that some celeb should be praised and rewarded for saying “I’m a feminist” is ridiculous. They are far from being role models.

    • platypus says:

      If celebs saying they are feminists makes it less taboo for average women to say they are one, I think it’s fine to praise them for it. I don’t get this popular notion that someone needs to be a perfect rolemodel to deseve acknowledgement for the good they put out there. I live in a country where a lot of people practice feminism, one of the most successful countries in the world when it comes to gender equality. Still, you would be mocked if you called yourself a feminist. I’m torn on whether the word is too tainted to even use anymore.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      Great point, platypus. A lot of people have unrealistic standards for what it means to be a feminist, partially because of internalized ideas about traditional womanhood and respectability, and partially because of general confusion about what the word feminist means. So it leads to any woman who doesn’t present as either a business woman, an Audrey Hepburn, or Lorde being dismissed as “Not A Real Feminist”, when that’s not even what being a feminist means. Based on some feminists’ definition of feminism, a woman like Anne Coutler or Sarah Palin would automatically qualify as feminists simply because they’re college- educated and present in a palatable, ladylike, ‘classy’ (until they open their mouths) way, despite their bigoted views. Meanwhile other celebrities who express more progressive values (like maybe Amber Rose, Pink, Demi, etc.) will automatically be dismissed just because they don’t conform to that outward image of traditional ladylike respectability. It’s a problem, and it’s a double standard to, because feminists don’t hold men to the same standard. No matter how a man presents, he will be accepted by feminists as long as he expresses beliefs about equal rights.

    • India Andrews says:

      You’re right Jenna. All of the feminist declarations from actresses and singers lately just sound like feminism is the new cool thing in LaLa Land. A way to establish your progressive bona fides.

      Most of these women are too young to even have been alive back in the bad old days when women’s career choices were secretary, teacher and nurse, when women were expected to quit working when they had their first child, and when women’s income wasn’t considered toward a home loan offer because banks considered it supplementary income.

      Not to mention the masssive sexual harassment and discrimination women in the sixties nand seventies endured if they wanted to become police officers (male officers grabbing my dad’s partner’s boobs and butt and supervisors wondering what HER problem was when she complained) or doctors (Head of UCLA’s medical school in the late sixties to one of my mom’s friends, “Please pick out a husband soon so we can stop wasting our time on you.”). Keira Knightley, Emma Watson and Demi Lovato haven’t a clue. These young women are standing on these older women’s shoulders.

  13. G says:

    Well feminism has become a thing in the past couple of years – Female celebs were not being asked if they were or weren’t every time they did press. Some, like Katy and Taylor clearly had difficulty understand what it meant – so yeah, amongst her peers, she probably was a trailblazer! People like to get het up over everything..

  14. Tarsha says:

    Oh yes. I can remember her dressing up to mimic Robert Palmer (rest his soul, I so miss his sexy voice) in ‘Man! I feel like a woman!’ – oh, that was Shania Twain. Or ‘I am Woman’ – oh, sorry, that was Helen Reddy. Lmao, feminism has been around for decades, dating back to the 60s. I so love how these new 5 minute wonders think they are the ones who discovered feminism.

  15. platypus says:

    When I was a kid, and trying very hard to be special and unique, I would get SO angry when someone else started liking something I liked. Copying me and getting cred for MY cleverness… Especially if it was one of the more popular kids, and suddenly whatever I liked to identify my “uniqueness” with, became “cool”. Demi, you’re a grown ass woman, it does not matter “who liked it first”, and no, they aren’t copying you.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. If my husband and I do something or go somewhere we think is cool, then a famous person does, we have a joke where we sigh and moan “why does everyone have to copy us?” She needs to grow up. Maybe the other people just learned more about the subject or whatever. She hardly invented feminism. Good Lord.

      • We Are All Made of Stars says:

        But she didnt claim she invented it, only that she identified as one before every dumb attention seeker realized it was going to be held against them if they didnt (much to their surprise.) Remember now, she became big in the yee olden days of saccharine Disney celebrity, chastity rings, Jonas brothers, choreographed boy band stage humping, and W’s full-throttle evangelical cray. She was also one of the first to talk about bullying and its impact on her as well as cutting and EDs. This while shes supposed to be acting like Annette Funicello and pretending shes perfect for her rodent overlords. I give her some credit.

      • platypus says:

        Yes, sometimes people don’t realize how interesting or important a topic is until someone else shines a light on it. That doesn’t mean they’re just blindly following a trend. I’m sure Demi has been that person to many of her fans, which makes this comment even more odd. She should be happy that feminism is gaining popularity.

        I still kind of like Demi, though. Her music isn’t my style at all, but I actually have her book, and I like the messages she’s putting out there. So I hope she didn’t mean it like that, but I’m not sure what else to make of her comment.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I hear you We Are All Made Of Stars, and maybe I was too harsh. I just think “people are copying me” comes out as childish regardless of your intentions. Maybe people had a change of heart, maybe they are just doing it for the reasons you stated. She has no way of knowing that, so she’s belittling the motives of a whole group of women simply because she feels she did it before they did. I just think it’s sort of silly. And I never say or do anything silly, naturally. Cough, cough…

  16. Naddie says:

    Oh, the old, dated hypocrisy. It’s so easy to “embrace your sexuality” and “love your body” when it’s fitting the superficial standards that are shoved down in women’s throat. Her songs are terrible, her self-acceptance speech sounds fake as hell.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      She’s not obese, but that doesn’t mean her body fits the patriarchal ideal for a beautiful female body. That ideal seems to be big, perky boobs, a perfectly flat (and preferably toned) stomach, an hourglass shape, somewhat tall frame, a big booty, and long, toned, slender, cellulite-free legs. Few women hit all those marks without plastic surgery and a tough diet/exercise routine. I don’t like her trailblazer comment, but as a young woman who grew up in an industry where every woman is pressured to be that, who has struggled with an eating disorder and struggled with being okay with herself, and grew up with pressure to do anything BUT embrace her sexuality since child stars and teen female starlets are expected to be sexless and modestly dressed, I think she’s qualified to talk about loving your body and embracing her sexuality.

      • Naddie says:

        I don’t buy it, not from her. Not that it makes any difference in her life (glad it doesn’t). I somewhat disagree with you about what’s expected from teen female starlets, based on the over sexualized examples we have from now: Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Miley Cirus, Selena Gomez, Chistina Aguilera. But it’s an asseptic, plastic sexuality, so I kinda agree with you on that one, and do think that’s exactly what she’s showing now. Her body is pretty fit in this magazine, way too far from the average woman’s figure, and her stance and outfit are strategically showing her assests. My impression is that it’s all about “now that I’m pretty, I will show off”. Is it a problem? If you advocate for self-acceptance and image issues, it is.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        @Naddie: With teen female starlets, people panic, clutch their pearls, hurl misogynistic slurs and stereotypes, and resort to victim-blaming rhetoric the moment they say or do anything that people think even hints at sexuality, whether it’s PDA with their boyfriend, a revealing or sexy outfit, a dance move, a piercing, a movie role, or getting caught sending sexy pics to their boyfriend. (Like Vanessa Hudgens being made to apologize at 18 for basically being a sexual being). Sometimes it extends past their 18th birthday. A young famous woman’s worth as a role model is judged almost entirely based on how sexually modest she presents, and little else. People thought Taylor Momsen was personally attacking women back in the day when she called it repression, but she had a good point. People often use whether or not they want a 5-year-old doing something as a gauge to measure whether or not it’s okay for these young women to do it. And it’s no coincidence that a lot of them were encouraged by their teams to preach abstinence and wear purity rings only to denounce it later and confirm that that was really about other people’s beleifs. Some of the stars you mentioned chose a sort of ‘rebel against modesty’ type path afterward, partially as a response to the prudish attitude surrounding them. I totally support that. I don’t consider Demi and Selena’s images to be that sexual though.

        I don’t see how Demi dressing sexy from time to time and saying she feels good about herself is contradictory to promoting self-acceptance. It’s not like she only ‘shows off’ when she’s photoshopped on a magazine cover. In real life, and without photoshop, she sometimes ‘shows off’ too.

      • Naddie says:

        @Otaku Fairy, I get your point, it does make sense, but I just can’t believe her. She tries too hard, and it seems like she’s the eternal uncool girl aiming to be popular. You probably don’t see her and Selena as sexual because they can’t pull it off, cause all they do is try. Her immaturity is so obvious that she once said Miley Cyrus made her feel jealous in We can’t stop video… I mean, that video is one of the most eye-rolling thing ever, even racism it spotted there. For her, Miley is cool, Rihanna is badass… It seems she’s still 15.

  17. Skins says:

    Still B-List despite her empowerment

  18. lavender blue says:

    The real pioneers were the suffragettes of the late 19th, early 20th century. These woman were beaten, jailed, humiliated and force fed because of their fight to gain the vote and have equality for woman recognized. A fight that has been partially won but has still some way to go, being a feminist is not about wearing skimpy clothes and feeling empowered because a superficial mag photographs you for the gratification of pervy men and teenage girls who have a confused idea of body image..being a feminist is about standing up and fighting for your basic rights of equality, for yourself and other women.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      I partially agree with you, but I think you kind of missed the point of what she said. She’s not saying you have to wear revealing clothes to be a feminist or be photographed by cosmo in order to be one. I actually suspect that between the two of you, she’s the one less likely to try to tell another woman how she should or shouldn’t be dressing. She’s saying she feels empowered by celebrating her body and she’s feeling good about herself right now.

      By the way, when we jump to equate the tiniest bit of female immodesty with perversion, we kind of contradict our claims that men are not beasts who can’t control themselves and that it’s not women’s responsibility (or within their ability) to make men act like normal human beings by covering up, as well as the ideas about sexuality not automatically being a bad, immoral, oppressive, or as some feminists say, ‘rapey’ thing.

  19. Godhateswolverine says:

    If she was an actual feminist then she wouldn’t have anything to do with Cosmo.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      It’s been a while since I’ve read or bought cosmo, but last time I checked, cosmo isn’t any sort of hate group.

      • Godhateswolverine says:

        There was an article about two years ago, the Q&A. A reader asked what she should do about a cheating significant other. The reply was that she either needed to just accept that he wouldn’t ever be faithful and deal with it or to change things about herself to suit her cheating other. I feel that’s the very opposite of feminism.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        I agree that that response isn’t feminist at all. They should have told her to either dump him, or decide whether or not it was something they can forgive and work past. I still don’t think that article means that no feminist can ever pose for and interview for cosmo. It doesn’t mean they have to have read and been in agreement with every cosmo article/opinion ever written.

    • honeybunchesofsarcasm says:

      Good god people, REAL feminism supports ALL women. It may not agree with them but it does support and respect them no matter how much their choices conflict with you high “feminist” standards. For gods sake, its about damn time these pop stars claim the feminist name. Get off your high horse.

  20. Nina says:

    This is what I hate about this tumblr/instagram generation. These young pups who pat themselves on the back for latching onto some damn hashtag for a day on twitter from the comfort of their homes because it’s “trending”, instead of actually educating themselves on things like social justice and feminism and civil rights. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people who do use social media for good and do actively make changes. But this whole idea that Generation Z is going to change the world because of their presence on social media, and ability to get the word out on social issues is such b.s. The viral nature of Internet activism speaks more to the fact that most of these kids are jumping on a bandwagon just to be cool, from a laptop or phone that their parents paid for, rather than getting out there and being involved in making changes. They end up with a bloated sense of entitlement for “doing their part” when they’ve done nothing but turned something important, something with a complicated history that warrants more than 140 characters, into something trendy for a day.

  21. Otaku Fairy says:

    I don’t like the ‘trailblazer’ comment. Even if she doesn’t mean it in a bad way, and is just trying to say that she was a feminist before the topic of feminism became such a popular talking point in the media, the way she words it here does make it sound like she’s elevating herself, because of her using the word trailblazer in her description. I’m fine with the rest of her point though.

  22. b says:

    I love how they put that quote over a picture of her in a bra.

  23. Colleen says:

    Child, have a seat.

  24. Moxie Remon says:

    I think she has good intentions, but God, this girl’s tiresome!

  25. EN says:

    I don’t know what it is about her, but just looking at her face irritates me. Something is not right with this girl.

  26. Vampi says:

    Where did she say she was a trailblazer?
    Serious question, because I don’t see where she said that word.

  27. Emily C. says:

    Gah! Feminist hipster! I was a feminist before she was even born, so what do I win?

    Dear Demi: feminism is not like a cool shirt or a new band. The more people who are feminists, the better. You are supposed to be happy that the stigma of being a feminist is being slowly removed, and that more people are joining this club. The more exclusive this particular club is, the worse it is for the entire world. And by the way, feminism wasn’t invented in the 21st century. Read a book.

  28. parissucksliterally says:

    This girl really needs to stop talking.

  29. India Andrews says:

    LMAO. The first women joining police departments like my dad’s partner, back in the seventies were feminist trailblazers. My mom’s friend who was told to hurry up and pick out a husband because UCLA didn’t want to waste it’s time on her back in the 1960’s is a trailblazer. That woman became an OB/GYN and didn’t marry for decades because she couldn’t find the right man. All of these silly singers and actresses have nothing on the women forty-fifty years ago who broke into male dominated fields and dealt with the sexual harassment and discrimination without giving up. They’re the trailblazers. Not some pampered entertainer.