The F Word

Feminism: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

I want to talk about the word “feminism” in this post–what I know about it, at least, which isn’t much. Obviously, the word came to use long before I had anything to do with feminism (or life, for that matter), but it is now currently lost in a sea of exaggerated stereotypes and false preconceptions. 

Many celebrities (Katy Perry, Lady Gaga) claim they couldn’t possibly be feminists because they love men too much and they think women and men are equal. To that I say, all you have to do is Google what feminism is to know that you just defined it. These particular incidents bother me because young girls, young women look up to these people–hearing celebrities spout this incorrect information simply aids in keeping them from fighting for their equality. 

Many other celebrities (Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham) have talked about feminism in a wonderful light, which restores my faith in humanity and keeps me sane. Thanks guys.

People that know a bit more about the movement sometimes have a problem with the root of the word, “feminine”. These people (a lot of times men, sometimes women, in my own experience) say that it is exclusionary to men. Wouldn’t “humanism” be better? We’re all human, right?

Right. However, humanism is already taken. Also, feminism’s terminology, in how I personally interpret it, deals with the work to redefine what it means to be “feminine”. Changing the perception of women as weak, subordinate, ditzy, etc. to women as strong, as fighters, as multi-dimensional humans.

As for the exclusionary bit, it kind of annoys me to be told men must be included in a term defining a movement to include women in the basic human rights and privileges. But that is a bit radical, and I do understand the sentiment behind wanting a more inclusive term. However, that’s the term we’ve had for ages to define a movement for women’s rights.

Sidenote: feminism is for everyone–men, women, trans, or whatever gender with which you identify. 

My beef: Feminism has always been associated with a radical movement. Bra burning, man-hating, not-shaving. This is not what real feminism looks like. Feminism is about inclusiveness. All genders, all sexual orientations or lack thereof, feminine, masculine, everyone. Feminism benefits everyone. A movement towards a world in which women are encouraged to be body positive and men are encouraged to embrace emotions and in which men and women and trans and EVERYONE are all equal. Truly equal. No one calls anyone “fag” or “pussy”. No one victim-blames, no one slut-shames, women are equally represented in politics and science/math fields, equally paid, and not viewed as dainty, weak, etc. No one says “like a girl” meaning an insult.

That is what I envision. That is feminism. And I embrace that movement and its label wholeheartedly. 

That is all.

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