Readers of this blog will know that there is little that I find more tedious (and inaccurate) than the “I’m not a feminist because…” trope. Often it’s followed by “I don’t hate men,” or “Men have problems too”. Guess what? Feminists don’t hate men. Also, they know that men have problems too. Indeed, problematic and pervasive masculinity as the basis of patriarchy is very much the stuff of feminism and its critiques.
Below is another great post about feminism and using the word rather than decrying it.
There is a mainstream feminist movement that is very much alive and well, but because we’ve become tangled up in semantics many fail to recognize it. Or as Kathy Griffin said at that same event, “Let’s talk about feminism. I’m sick and tired of these young girls not owning this word!”
The word itself, if not the concepts, became toxic even as women and men have continued to reap the benefits of the feminist movement. After great progress in the ‘60s and ‘70sbelieve there was backlash in the 1980’s against “2nd Wave” feminism. The defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment and the rise of corporate and religious conservatives are used as examples of this. Although, it’s important to point out that conservative women also fought for and benefitted from an expansion of women’s rights. Perhaps it’s time for women and men who simply believe in gender equality to reclaim the word – to “own it” as Griffin said.
Feminism is a movement. It’s a philosophy. It’s not a hierarchical organization with a specific set of policies or beliefs. There are all sorts of feminists just like there are all sorts of Christians. There may be feminist organizations with a hierarchy that advocate for specific policies or causes, but whether it’s the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Mormon group Ordain Women, the , Lean In, or the Malala Fund - there are many shades of feminism. One group does not speak for the other, but they are all feminist organizations because they uphold the basic tenets of feminism – equality and opportunity for men and women.[…] If you’re a parent whose daughter benefits from Title IX, the 1972 law that requires schools provide equally for girls and boys sports — that’s the direct result of feminism.
If you’re concerned about your daughter’s body image — that’s feminism at work.
If your daughter wants to be an Air Force fighter pilot, which is now a realistic goal — thank feminism.
If you’re a stay-at-home dad whose wife is the breadwinner — your family is benefitting from feminism.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom who made the choice to stay home and it wasn’t automatically expected of you — that’s because of feminism.
If you take your daughter hunting and you don’t care that your ‘hunting buddy’ is a girl and not a boy — feminism.
If you allow your little boy to play with princess tiaras and Barbies and you don’t shame him for it — that’s feminism working with overlapping equality movements.
If your minister is a woman — feminism.
If a husband and wife trade off shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, doing dishes and putting the kids to bed — that equity in household chores and child rearing is the result of feminism.
If you’re tired of toys being labeled “girl toys” and “boy toys” — feminism.
If your company has a woman in a senior leadership position (mine does) — that’s feminism.
If you’re a single woman who has a mortgage or business loan and you didn’t have to have a male family member co-sign for that loan — you are benefitting from the work of feminists.
If you believe that women shouldn’t be judged for their sexual choices, whether that means having multiple partners, same sex partners or no partners at all — that’s feminism.