These days, well-intentioned suggestions of equality often follow in the footsteps of the phrase “I’m not a feminist, but…”, as if feminism is a disease we want to ensure everyone we don’t have before proceeding. As if feminism and being a feminist is something to be embarrassed about. Perhaps to some it is, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the privileges feminism has granted us, so you understand why I find it agitating to see you denounce the very movement that lets us speak so candidly.
Look, I get it. The “f-word” carries a whole slew of baggage and stigma with it so you just don’t want to be associated with that crap. So when you balk at the idea of calling yourself a feminist, I take a step back and try not to get angry because you’ve internalized that negativity through social conditioning so how can I blame you for that?
But while we’re at it, let me debunk a few myths for you which may help you reexamine your stance:
- “Feminists are misandrists.” Actually, feminism is not anti-men. We love men! We think they’re great. All we’re doing is asking them to give us the same privileges they have. We’re by no means trying to take their rights away.
- You don’t have to be a bra-burning, no-shaving, “unfeminine” girl to be part of the club. In fact, you don’t even have to be a girl. Admission is welcome to one and all.
- “Feminism has an evil and bitter agenda.” We really don’t. It’s just the radical notion that women are people too.
- “Feminism exaggerates the facts and is no longer valid since women have already achieved equal status.” Have they though? Can you think of nothing that suggests otherwise?
- “Feminism is anti-sex.” Trust me honey, it isn’t. We’re all for it so long as it’s always consensual.
- “Feminists are lesbians.” Well, they might be and they might not be.
- “Feminists only care about womens-issues.” Not true. We want equality for all colors under the rainbow.
- “Feminists are pro-abortion.” No, we are pro-choice. Big difference.
- “Feminism demands that women venture outside the realm of housewives.” No, actually we have no issues with stay-at-home moms. It’s your choice to do whatever you want. See how it works?
- “Feminists have no sense of humor.” Again not true. Check out Ellen Page. She’s hilarious!
I hope this helps you reconsider your position. And if not, then don’t adopt a label like “humanist” because:
“I am distrustful of anyone who says they prefer the label “humanist” to “feminist.” You’ve heard the argument before. It’s an attempt to downplay oppression against women and avoid acknowledging male privilege. “Humanist” is taken. It has a definition. It’s a life philosophy that affirms humans’ ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment guided by reason and compassion rather than supernaturalism. Many humanists are feminists and vice versa but “humanist” isn’t just a word you made up, bub.
Co-opting “humanist” is disingenuous and lazy. Not all humans are on a level playing field. There is inequality between men and women (and among women), and the feminist movement seeks to rectify that along with other transgressions. It was called the “feminist” movement for a reason.”
And here’s an an awesome video primer on Why We Still Need Feminism: