Speaking with Ellen DeGeneres on her daytime talk show recently, the "Inception" star noted the extremely influential roles women have played in his life. Even at a young age, he said, his mother instilled within him a deep awareness of feminist issues.
"That was something that my mom would always point out to my brother and me, that our culture does often portray women especially … like objects," he said. "She wanted me and my brother to be aware of it because we see these images on TV, in the movies, and on magazines all the time. And if you don't stop and think about it, it just sort of seeps into your brain and that becomes the way you perceive reality."
When DeGeneres asked if Gordon-Levitt would ever classify himself as a feminist, he didn't hesitate to answer.
"I do call myself a feminist. Absolutely!" he told the host. "It's worth paying attention to the roles that are sort of dictated to us and that we don't have to fit into those roles. We can be anybody we wanna be."
The star's comments are in line with remarks he's made in past interviews, including a September Q&A with Details magazine in which the "Don Jon" director explained how his porn-drenched flick received the mom stamp of approval.
"You see a woman on a screen, and you reduce her to a thing -- a sex object," Gordon-Levitt told the magazine. "And that's something I've been aware of my whole life. My mom was very active in the feminist movement in the '60s and '70s, and she was always very keen to let my brother and me know that this is a very common thing that happens in the media. So in a lot of ways 'Don Jon' is an homage to my mom ... And she really loves the movie. She was one of the first ones to read the script and it's been great getting to talk with her about it."