The “F” Word

The following paragraphs contain some of my own thoughts on feminism.  Enjoy.
I’ve noticed quite a lot of debate on the use of the “f” word recently.  There are many a strident feminist fighting for our equal rights and condemning various misogynies on the old web.  This makes for inspirational reading of a slow afternoon at work (thanks Vagenda Magazine). It also provides hope that there are other reasonably intelligent people out there fighting against some of the things we are exposed to daily in the media.  But there are also people, particularly some ladies, who have come forward to say that they are categorically NOT a feminist.   Some actress recently made this statement, adding that women have their place, as do men and the natural order of things shouldn’t be upset (or something to that effect).
So, if feminism according to the very wise Caitlin Moran is accurate, (that all those with a vagina and all those who have a vagina and want to be in charge of said vagina, are feminist) then surely every woman on planet earth is a feminist?   I would second this Ms Moran.  What self-respecting woman does want to outsource the admin of her lady bits?  So why is there such a hoo ha about the word feminism?
Feminism has become the social equivalent of marmite.  You love it or you hate it; you are or you are not.  For some reason, there are those ladies that feel it would tar them to be associated with the word “feminism”.  Everyone, male or female, is entitled to their own opinion.  I am no expert and I certainly do not take kindly to people telling me what to do or think or believe.  I don’t want to cause offence, but maybe those particular individuals who categorically say they are not feminists just aren’t educated enough about what feminism actually is??
Its about freedom, equality, choices.  Feminists are not bra-burning, men haters.  Sure, those people exist but they are mis-using the word feminist just as many religious extremists mis-use their religion for terrorism.  Ok, maybe not to such an extreme but you get my point.  There has been a lot of talk about reclaiming the word “feminist” and “feminism” and rightly so.
To all those ladies who do not want to be branded a feminist, I say this:  Do you want equal rights?  gender equality in all forms?  the right to make your own choices?  follow any career path that you want irrespective of “gender specific roles”? equal pay? be in charge of your own life?  So, what’s the problem?  You’re kicking up a fuss about a word and nothing more.
Of course, men can be feminists too.  There are lots of men who are feminists who probably don’t even realise that they are.  Maybe we should change feminism to “peopleism”. We could be “peopleists”.  Much more inclusive. This might encourage more people to start talking about the equality issues rather than going on about how they don’t want to be feminists because feminists are those angry women who don’t wash and have shaven heads a la Britney in the dark days.
Just a thought.
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4 thoughts on “The “F” Word

  1. My issue with “feminism” lies not in the concept, but in the word itself. In general I support ideas and causes that would traditionally be termed feminist, yet I’m reluctant to identify myself as a feminist because of what the word implies. Regardless of its actual dictionary definition, to the world at large, the term “feminism” suggests “pro-women.” And I am not pro-women, I am pro-equality. So I agree with you – we need a new word for advocates of equal rights for women. If we take away the cultural and historical associations of the term feminism, I think we’ll find that there are many more true feminists out there then we had ever believed.

    • Thank you. Exactly, feminism shouldn’t be, and isn’t, anti-men as is so often implied. Its equal rights for women, which means just that – equal. I don’t think feminism is about proving that we’re the better sex. I think its about having equal opportunities.

      I agree that the word can seem a little exclusive. Let’s just all be peopleists and get along with each other nicely 🙂

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