“You’re one of them!’
“One of who?’
“One of those feminists!”
“No I’m a woman!”
“So you’re a feminist!”
“No, I’m a woman. A woman that simply refuses to be your doormat, prostitute or victim to your inequalities formed by sexist, prejudice and sadist determinations and decisions. Anyone can be a feminist, I’m just a woman who has the power to say no. I didn’t earn it, it was always mine to claim.”
I previously wrote an article that was a write up about a lovely event I went to called Alto. In it, I had discussed what feminism (the “F” bomb) means to me and I had decided that feminism means being a human that wants to fight for change (not my exact words but something to that effect). Since then however I have been thinking and the thought has been niggling at me for a long time, I keep asking myself, ‘Do I really like the term Feminism.’ And is it really a term or a label?
For centuries girls and women have been fighting for women’s rights, right from Joan of Ark to Pocahontas, Emmeline Pankhurst to Malala Yousafrai. When Joan of Ark was told she could only wear women’s clothes and said she would rather go naked, the name feminist was not around, the term did originate from France in the 1800’s (as feminisme) however it wasn’t until the 1960’s that it was popularly used. So if it wasn’t used up until the 60’s, can we agree that we did just fine without it?
Unless you’re an extremist feminist – branding all men the same, hating every male specimen that ever existed and wishing you could send them all into a vacuum somewhere in space – then you have a good cause and fighting for equality is a beautiful cause, always. But it seems that the more feminist work that is being done, the feminist name is a labelling of women with bad connotations from anyone that disagrees or dislikes the modern-day feminism movements. Just how the terms racist, fascist, sexist – holds bad relations. I guess it depends what side of the fence you’re on – but you don’t see a racist happily waving a flag saying – ‘I’m a racist!’.
I feel as if the more good women’s rights work that is being done the more the term is being used as a brandish and not a celebration which is a huge shame, because not every feminist does generalise all men and hold sexist views against the male species, as it is a massive contradiction on the fight for gender equality.
The other thing that I think about is whether you can call every female a feminist. I proudly wave a flag for what feminism is supposed to stand for, but I’m not sure I would call myself one; firstly because I don’t like to think of myself as someone who is labelled as something, I already carry enough of those around in everyday life, first being a girl, second being of mixed heritage – they both come with their labels and stereotype prejudices. But what about the women, who simply say ‘No!’? Is it fair to label them as feminists because they recognise that they, as a person not just as a woman, have a right to say no or yes to whatever they like? If they don’t want to be a housewife but a successful business woman? Is that a protest by being a feminist or simply a choice?
Possibly we should think about where we place the name feminist and who we place it onto. You don’t even have to be a woman to be a feminist, you just have to be someone that believes in the fight for women’s rights and equality, so is the name ‘feminist’ really important today and is it right to use it?