Demi Lovato: ‘Don’t call yourself feminist if you don’t do the work’

@refinery29!!!

A photo posted by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on

Demi Lovato is known for saying whatever is on her mind. Sitting down with Refinery29 recently, Demi hit on her usual talking points and also discussed her Twitter feud with Taylor Swift. In February, Demi Twitter-shamed certain celebrities for not sticking up for Kesha after she lost her injunction against Dr. Luke. She didn’t name Taylor specifically, but that’s whom she was blaming. Taylor did not respond to Demi but donated money to a very grateful Kesha for her legal fees. Taylor’s fans came after Demi but she stuck to her assertion that she cared more about Kesha’s plight. Eventually, Demi posted a seemingly apologetic Instagram without the actual apology. In this interview, however, she reiterates that Taylor shouldn’t identify as a feminist and it’s fine with her if they aren’t friends.

On why she’s so candid
I’d rather live my life free and open than closed off, where people like me for something that I’m not.

On how she was before she got sober
Just bitchy, a c-nt… I was one of those people who was like, I don’t give a f-k, whatever. And I used that as an excuse to do whatever I wanted. I was a nightmare to work with.

On adapting after coming out of rehab
I had to learn the hard way that I can’t do parties anymore. Some people can go out and not be triggered, but that’s not the case for me.

She can’t watch movies with drug use, like Amy about Amy Winehouse
To see white powder in a movie? To see someone shooting up? It’s too triggering. If I feel even 1% unsure that I’m in a place where I can watch it, then I just don’t do it.

On if she’s engaged to Wilmer Valderrama
It’s nobody’s business but ours, and when it happens, it happens.

On her Twitter feud calling out Taylor Swift
Listen, there’s nothing positive that comes from pitting women against each other. There are women that I don’t get along with, and that’s fine. My thing is, don’t brand yourself a feminist if you don’t do the work. I have an immense amount of respect for women like Lena Dunham…or Beyoncé, who make amazing political statements through their work.

On her career
I’m still underestimated. I still have more things to prove- not just about the things I can do with my voice. Some people think that because I’m young, I can’t stay sober. But these are things I want to prove to myself.

[From Refinery29]

She has every right to keep her relationship with Valderrama private but it’s an odd quote following her adamancy that she lives her life out in the open. In regards to Taylor, name checking Beyoncé is problematic in that Beyoncé has not publicly spoken about Kesha. I am not making any sort of judgment on Beyoncé; I am just saying that if Demi’s current feud with Taylor stems from Taylor not speaking out, she picked the wrong example.

You can watch Demi and Nick Jonas’ Carpool Karaoke with James Cordon from the other night here. Cordon calls them out on their dating (mainly Nick’s) past, it’s pretty funny.

@refinery29

A photo posted by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on

Photo credit: WENN Photos, Getty Images and Instagram

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

46 Responses to “Demi Lovato: ‘Don’t call yourself feminist if you don’t do the work’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Momoko says:

    Why don’t these people keep their mouth shut?

  2. Pamels says:

    Zzzzz.

  3. tifzlan says:

    “Nothing positive comes from pitting women against each other but let me pit these two women with this one woman who i deem not to be ~feminist enough~ by MY standards, hurr durr durr!!1!!11″

    Shut up.

  4. meme says:

    here we go…this one annoys me. I’m convinced they have no clue about feminism, don’t care and are just jumping on this bandwagon until the next one comes along.

  5. Skins says:

    I still don’t think she know if she wants to be a pop star or a rock chick. I usually like a good girl singer but I just can’t get into her. Too much scream-singing.

  6. L says:

    Why is she always worrying about what others are doing or not doing? Why can’t she just focus on doing her best and supporting the the things she is passionate about. Always just trying to pick fights and be the center of attention. Grow up. So thirsty.

  7. Astrid says:

    And she is who?

  8. lol says:

    Especially these women who defend and support men accused of either sexual abuse or violence. Lots of so called feminists from the film industrty and generally from the show business are like that.

  9. Susan says:

    Go away drama queen. stop picking fights to get attention. Thirsty!

  10. Birdie says:

    Not my cup of tea this girl.

  11. MC2 says:

    Demi may be annoying but she has some good things to say. I appreciate that there is an angsty, sober & honest young woman on the pop scene. I think she has a good message under the gossipy crap that is here and I hope she sticks around.

  12. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Feminism is a bit of a mess these days, at least in the celebrity world.

    I get where she’s coming from in that you have these privelaged comfortable women who A. Don’t want to claim feminism because they’d rather keep the men who employ them happy (Meryl Streep) or B. Claim feminism only for the sake of deflecting criticism (Taylor Swift).

    Of course you have female celebs who believe in female rights and fight for and publicly discuss it, but tbh its a bit of a shit show.

    What I do know is that the desire and effort to remove and discriminate against women isn’t going away. We have a constant push in legislature to slowly remove more and more of our rights for the sake of appealing to a bible or some antiquated idea of what a woman should be. I’d love it if we could get more focus on what’s effecting us just on a domestic level instead of feminism being portrayed only as girl squads and power selfies.

    • HH says:

      I actually get what she’s saying, although she could elaborate more. I’m sick of the celebrity feminism that is simply “girl power.” It’s the safest kind of feminism and the kind that keeps your image intact without controversy. That is Taylor Swift. Aside from trying to deflect criticism, she wants to get credit for making a statement, without really doing anything noteworthy.

      As far as “pitting herself against Swift,” yes and no. Two women in the industry who have valid differences don’t have to like each other. Calling her out gets murky (especially repeatedly), but someone needs to. People are letting Taylor Swift and others get away with their “feminist-lite” shtick like they’re really out there doing something. Additionally, this sort of feminism seems to be used as a marketing tool, as opposed to really wanting any sort of change.

      • claire says:

        So Demi just ranting and arguing and bullying people on Twitter is doing something, but Taylor Swift assisting Keisha financially, to add to her arsenal of tools to fight her case, is not doing something? Taylor actually does tangible things like that. What’s Demi do besides start fights and make contradictory arguments on Twitter, that she then later backtracks on and blames on her mental health?

      • HH says:

        I don’t think Demi is “bullying” people on Twitter. As far as Swift providing assistance to Kesha, I believe it was done after Demi said something and after quite a slew of celebs came out in support of Kesha. Once again, making it a more “safe” play. No one said that Taylor needs to be a feminist in the same way Demi is, but feminism does require more than “girl squads.”

  13. claire says:

    “Just bitchy, a c-nt… I was one of those people who was like, I don’t give a f-k, whatever. And I used that as an excuse to do whatever I wanted. I was a nightmare to work with.”

    HA! She thinks she’s not like this anymore?! Delusion, thy name is Demi.

    Can’t stand this one anymore. All talk and rage against others. Needs drama and fighting for attention. The lack of self-awareness here is off the charts. Having the nerve to say she doesn’t use her issues as an excuse to be a jerk. Um, does she forget last week’s tweets where she did exactly that?

    Thanks, but Demi is one of the last people I’d go to, to talk about Feminist theory and action.

  14. guest says:

    So you control who can identify as a Feminist or not. There is a difference between being opinionated and being a bully.
    I have seen Demi attempt to start twitter wars with multiple people, no one took the bait.
    Demi has some issues, I just wish the people close to her would take her phone.

    • serena says:

      Yup, maybe she should take an angry management class and learn to respect other people’s opinion, or simply just leave them alone and live her life, without the need to compare her life to others.

  15. FingerBinger says:

    Is Demi Lovato promoting something? She’s been saying alot of words lately.

    • SpunkyMama says:

      I believe her and Nick are on tour right now, so yes, she’s trying to sell tickets.

  16. MarcelMarcel says:

    I’m more interested in discussing topics like rape culture, misogyny and the wage gap than policing self identified feminists.

  17. Alex says:

    I think she meant Beyonce as being a feminist in general not specifically in the Kesha case.
    On the one hand I agree with her. Taylor is typical white feminist and a weak one at that. Inserts herself in conversations not about her and pits women against women unless you’re in her squad. So I agree she’s not a feminist and neither is Tina Fey (yes I said it she is not a feminist icon).
    Where Demi gets it wrong is her constant need to attack other women instead of coming at it from a different light. Look at how Nicki checked Taylor without dragging her and ultimately came out with an interview explaining her point (and she was COMPLETELY right). She didn’t feel the need to yell she came at it with knowledge AND they personally talked. Demi is constantly yelling over twitter trying to start feuds when I’m sure she could’ve made a vague statement and called Taylor personally if she had an issue. And are we going to forget that she tried to start some petty mess with Nicki over an Instagram post?

    From ANYONE else I would be applauding but Demi girl you messy

  18. JenniferJustice says:

    Girl, sit down…and stay down. Any woman with the likes of Valderama isn’t feminist in my book.

  19. Lex says:

    I see why she doesn’t want to speak about her relationship…

    I don’t know much about her but I saw one interview where the interviewer was all “you’ve been together 5 years – is this the year for the engagement?!?!” like what the hell is the answer to that? Genuinely – what do they think you’re going to say?

    Perhaps she is insecure about him ever asking her to get married, perhaps they don’t want to marry but don’t want judgement, perhaps they’re in a rough patch, perhaps they are already married. Like geeez leave it alone!

  20. themummy says:

    Wow…so now, according to Demi, I cannot be a feminist if I believe in gender equality? I have to also do “the work”? Ugh. This bish.

    • HH says:

      But, I mean, can you? Is feminism *simply* believing in gender equality? Maybe it’s because I’ve had personal experience with people that are “backseat feminists” that I take this issue to heart. For example, a colleague–who I know to believe in feminism– were at a bar with our male friends and one of them said something sexist. Instead of saying something to the tune of “why would you say that” or “that’s wrong,” she said “wow, way to say that with the gender studies person here (i.e. me) and then looked to me to supposedly fight that battle. It wasn’t anything that required and in-depth feminist analysis, it was just flat out sexist. There are women that believe in feminism but don’t want to be controversial or they still want to be the “cool girl,” or whatever. Yet, when feminists are making gains, they will be the first one’s out of the shadows to reap the rewards. One doesn’t need to be at marches or posting blogs left and right, but being a feminist does require making attempts to fight the status quo in the ways that you can, no? I think it’s a worthy debate to have.

  21. Amandahugandkiss says:

    Um, surely the bigger problem is women who disavow feminism while being happy to enjoy the benefits of it?

  22. Jess says:

    I love that Swifty is completely ignoring her existence. It’s a one-sided feud, Demi is too irrelevant for Taylor to care about her lol

  23. CK says:

    Insufferable.

  24. rahrahrooey says:

    She WAS a c*nt? Okay…

  25. MSat says:

    Can anyone point me to any work Demi herself has done to further equality for women? Any charities that she supports, etc.? Because I looked and couldn’t find one. I saw that she supports several children’s charities, which is great, but nothing specifically for women or girls.

  26. Meh says:

    Taylor Swift’s body of work is very patriarchal, conservative, and slut shamey. She should either denounce her early work or stop calling herself a feminist.

    On the other hand, Demi Lovato should stop pretending she’s the feminism police 🙄

  27. Otaku Fairy says:

    There’s got to be some specific, private reason why Demi has an issue with Taylor (I’m kind of curious about what the real problem is) and it’s okay to not get along with every single woman, but Demi is really self-righteous and Kesha’s problem shouldn’t have been used for whatever issue she has with her. Her overall message on that day would have been fine without the uncalled for jab at Taylor.

    • Ican't says:

      I don’t think a private reason behind it. Fact is Deming likes attention and drama two weeks ago it easy Nikki now it’s Taylor. Name dropping Taylor gets her the attention that she wants that’s why she keeps taking about her.

  28. princessbuttercup says:

    I’m so sick of this No-I’m-The-REAL-Feminist attitude. Whether anyone likes it or not, if you believe in gender equality then you’re a feminist. You might not be a “good” one, you might not be an active one, you might not act in accordance with whatever dogma people in random corners of the internet have come up with and not proclaim as gospel, but you’re a feminist. That much we should be able to agree on because it’s basic logic, AND YET…

    Maybe I was blind or lucky (probably both), but up until the past year I’ve had the pleasure of almost exclusively dealing with feminists who 1) value critical thinking, and 2) manage to be passionate without getting combatively sanctimonious and making it more about egos than issues. Feminism has enough needless bad PR already, so it isn’t really helping when the most ignorant and arrogant crown themselves the voices of gender equality and spray their stink everywhere.

  29. serena says:

    She seems really judgy and stuck-up, get off your high horse Demi.