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She appears on the cover of Redbook magazine’s February issue, and while it won’t be available on newsstands until Jan. 6, Redbook has released some key quotes from its interview with her. In it, she discusses the breast augmentation surgery she received as a teenager and touches upon Celebgate, where she was among the celebrities whose nude photos were stolen and posted online. At one point, she—like many celebrities—were asked about her thoughts on feminism and whether she considered herself a feminist.
She seemed to hesitate before answering, perhaps aware of the impending backlash she would get from fans for expressing her opinion.
Is it bad if I say no? It’s not really something I think about. Things are different now, and I know a lot of the work that paved the way for women happened before I was around… I was never that feminist girl demanding inequality, but maybe that’s because I’ve never really faced inequality. I cook for Ryan [Sweeting, her husband] five nights a week: It makes me feel like a housewife; I love that. I know it sounds old-fashioned, but I like the idea of women taking care of their men. I’m so in control of my work that I like coming home and serving him. My mom was like that, so I think it kind of rubbed off.
Cuoco-Sweeting joins celebrities like Shailene Woodley and British Prime Minister David Cameron who believe in equality between the sexes but don’t consider themselves to be feminists. As many feminists will tell you, that’s the very embodiment of feminism.
People online were quick to tell her that you can be a feminist and still want to cook for your husband everyday. It’s a choice.
Kaley Cuoco says she’s not a feminist because she enjoys being a housewife when feminism is all about giving women the CHOICE
— ♡ (@alicehockney) December 31, 2014
I can’t believe Kaley Cuoco says she’s not a feminist when feminists worked for years to win her the right to that dumb haircut.
— Erin Gloria Ryan (@morninggloria) December 31, 2014
Just because Cuoco-Sweeting has “never experienced inequality,” people argued, doesn’t mean that others haven’t.
Kaley Cuoco isn’t a feminist because she’s “never experienced inequality”. Erm it’s not just about your soul experience you know.
— Seaside Longing (@Puzzledbyadream) December 31, 2014
Er, I also think it’s entirely possible for someone like Kaley Cuoco to have experienced institutionalized sexism and not be aware of it.
— Toni McIntyre (@ToniMacAttack) December 31, 2014
Kaley Cuoco says she isn’t a feminist because she has “never experienced inequality”
My respect for her has just wavered rather a lot.
— Laura (@elderpr1ce) December 31, 2014
kaley cuoco says she’s not a feminist bc she’s never experienced inequality but she was a part of big bang theory and that show is so sexist
— diana (@teenwolfsugg) December 31, 2014
But others were quick to stand up for Cuoco-Sweeting’s right to not declare herself a feminist.
People complaining about Kaley Cuoco make me confused. Doesn’t consider herself a feminist, therefore she’s an awful person?
— Alan McInnes (@Ironshroom) December 31, 2014
Cuoco-Sweeting currently stars on The Big Bang Theory, one of the most popular shows on television and often a polarizing one. It’s been criticized for years for its portrayal of women and nerd culture, usually at the expense of Cuoco-Sweeting’s character Penny.
Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.