On Feminism

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Do you believe in the complete equality of men and women?

If you answered yes to that question, then according to AmIAFuckingFeminist.com, you’re a fucking feminist.

This simple question is meant to eradicate the stigma involved with feminism. If you answer “No” to this question, you look pretty stupid.

Last night I was talking to a guy who called me out for being a feminist. I don’t even think I was wearing my “feminist hat” at the time, but I must have said something about not wearing a bra. He asked me why I was “such a feminist,” even though I don’t consider myself to be “such” a feminist. I always thought I was more of just “a” feminist.

My reply: “Do you believe that men and women should have equal rights?” He paused.

“Not really,” he said.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I said. My jaw dropped.

A long conversation ensued. It contained utter disbelief and pure resentment on my part, and strong defense on his. I asked what he thought about a potential female president. I asked him about abortion and birth control. He agreed with me on all of these matters with little to no hesitation whatsoever.

“So… you’re a feminist.” He still insisted he wasn’t.

There is a problem with the definition of feminism and with the idea of what a feminist looks like and what she (or he?) believes in. Traditionally, we believe feminists are 70’s hippies that don’t shave their body hair. We believe feminists think that women are better than men, and that they should reign supreme in what is currently a male-dominated society. The modern movement rooted in websites like Jezebel and in media forms like episodes of Girls attempts to alter this preconceived notion. Now, feminism is all about the idea that everyone should be a feminist, because if you’re not, you sound like a huge asshole. It’s about proving how easy feminism is to understand and believe in as we strip its definition down into its skimpy Victoria’s Secret lingerie.

By doing this–by making feminism relatable–are we devaluing the concept? Should we be changing the ideas of feminism to accommodate a stubborn society, or should we be focusing on changing the stubborn society to legitimize females?

To me, it seems silly to try to encourage people to put a label on themselves that they historically haven’t been comfortable using. Because of websites like Am I A Fucking Feminist, people know what feminism is. But at the same time, I feel like we’re settling.

There’s a pretty good chance I sound really stupid right now. The chance to spread feminism? Why not take that by the reigns and run with it, right?! Any good girl lover would surely do that! It’s just that throughout my entire life, I was under the impression that I should feel proud to be a feminist–to be one of the few who are knowledgable about what women deserve and appreciate my role in society as a female. Maybe I’m being selfish. Maybe I’m just a victim to feminism, which, after all, is really just a word.

This nuanced-feminism would reply to my thoughts by saying that we aren’t changing the movement at all–that the stigma has always existed and has always been incorrect from its inception. But just because the stigma is incorrect does not mean that we cannot ignore it. The argument that movements like Am I A Fucking Feminist are trying to make is that feminism isn’t a “big deal” and it never has been; it simply stands for the respect of women that men typically always receive. I agree with this new perspective on feminism and I think it’s pretty cool. But if you don’t want to be considered a feminist, then I don’t know if I want you to be one, either. Does the point diminish when we have to change the outward nature of the movement to appeal more to the masses?

I also don’t know why we even use the word “feminist” anymore. Isn’t it more of an equal-ist? An everybody-ist?

The guy I was speaking to last night said that there are definite differences between men and women that we can’t ignore. We just aren’t smart enough as a society yet to figure out how to let that respectfully reflect in every day life. Interesting. Interesting, indeed.

Thoughts on feminism? GO!



  • http://poisonedwell.wordpress.com genderneutrallanguage

    Get a dictionary and look up “Feminism”. Every one will say “Advocacy of Women’s Rights”. While women’s rights are an important aspect of gender equality, to argue exclusively for women’s rights as feminism does can never achieve gender equality. Feminism is bogged down with hateful sexist bigoted rhetoric like “The Patriarchy” and “Male Privilege”.

    The gender issues of today are the result of interconnected and interdependent gender roles that are outdated dogmatic regressive and harmful for both women AND MEN. We need an everybody-ism movement to address this. The “only the people with the correct genitalia”-ism of feminism is making the real problems we face worse.

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