I am a professional feminist. Much to my father’s stated disappointment, I make my living from feminist commentary and advocacy. I write articles, organise marches, host a talkshow, create podcasts, appear on radio and television, raise money for donations, speak at conferences, and intervene in the public sphere in order to promote the cause of feminism. This probably makes me the opposite of “leisure feminists”, as described by Helen Razer last week. The fact that I do this doesn’t make me more or less of a feminist than other people, but it certainly means I’m familiar with the types of criticism feminists receive.
That the censure from Razer and others is equally scathing whether you’re a “leisure feminist” or a “professional feminist” is representative of the fact that feminism will always be dismissed on some grounds, by someone, in particularly vituperative ways. Whether it’s internalised contempt for women’s voices, personal insecurity or something else, feminists are often attacked just for being feminists.
Besides the rape threats and comments on my appearance (“your ugly”, [sic]), I often read comments by people who genuinely think that feminism is bad – or as my grandfather would’ve said, those outside the tent pissing in. They’re the easiest to ignore, because I know they’re wrong. I’m certain that feminism is a noble movement for equality, striving to liberate all people from the tyranny of socially constructed gender roles. So I can look that kind of criticism in the face and say “I feel sorry for you.” Or more often “cool story, bro.” [Rest.]
- 10 Signs that Feminism May Not Be For You (femborg.wordpress.com)
- Being feisty and feminist (fordy95.wordpress.com)
- Feminism can be frivolous fun (teamoyeniyi.com)
- A few thoughts on #IAmNotAProperFeminist (madasthemistandsnow.wordpress.com)
- Feminism: Still an Issue (feministviews.wordpress.com)
- Feminism: I don’t think that word means what you think it means (whoaskedyouanyway.wordpress.com)