I know there are a lot of women who do not identify with the word ‘feminist’ because of the negative stigma and controversy that surrounds the word, but I for one do not believe that you can believe in all that feminists believe in and not call yourself a feminist.
I hear a lot of people saying that the word feminism itself is sexist, because it implies that feminism is only for women. This has led to the argument that feminism needs to be changed; effectively, the movement needs to be called something that doesn’t scream the word “females” in order for it to be considered and taken seriously.
I don’t agree with this in the slightest. The word feminism is called feminism because even as the feminist movement focuses on making both sexes equal, the movement is trying to do this by elevating the current status of women in order to be level with the current status of men. The movement is called feminism because the oppressed group are the females. The movement is called feminism because it was first created by women, for women, considering women and their rights.
By changing the word, we’re only suggesting that we can’t possibly take this movement seriously while it is focusing on female oppression. We’re saying that in order to get more men and women to become feminists, we have to censor the blatant link to women in the title of the movement and make it something more ambiguous, something that people claim is working for equality but doesn’t require you to specify equality for who.
Another thing that bothers me about the stigma surrounding feminism is that many people think it should be tailored to appeal to men more. Whilst I agree that feminism needs to be made accessible to men and should take into account that men suffer as a result of the patriarchy too, I do not believe that the value of feminism should be based on it’s ability to appeal to men. This not only defeats the whole movement by demonstrating how sexism and the patriarchy have become so fundamental to everyday life that a movement created to obtain equality for the sexes can be only become valuable once it caters to men, it also shows that people don’t believe that a movement created specifically for women’s elevation can function and achieve viable and authentic change without a man’s approval.
I refuse to censor myself and my beliefs because it makes men uncomfortable. Continue to offend the boys by telling them you’re a feminist. Continue to show these #WomenAgainstFeminism that even though they are lucky to not feel like victims, so many girls around the world may never have the chance to experience safety and security.
Continue to tell people why feminism shouldn’t be changed to equalism just to make uncomfortable critics satisfied. Don’t be afraid to call yourself what you are.