8 thoughts on “You’re a Feminist if…

  1. Miss Melony¬†There are negative connotations with many identities – they reflect ignorance, not a problem with the identity or values of a community. There’s a lot of stigma put on me for being a woman of colour who speaks out on social justice ¬†– yet here I am, proudly a feminist Latina! Other people’s ideas about what’s wrong with my femininity and feminism do not invalidate the need to fight racism and sexism. ¬†

    Without feminism, society would still require a woman to prove her husband was at fault in order to get divorced, which before the 1970s made it very difficult to leave a difficult, unhappy or abusive marriage. Women would not have wide access to education, birth control, or paid employment. Misconceptions of feminism exist because people do not want women to have equal rights. Anyone buying into this negative connotation is, unfortunately, allowing sexism to frame how they think about women’s history and achievements.

    I suggest you read bell hooks’ Feminism is for Everybody (freebie PDF with a couple of chapters here:¬†http://goo.gl/BFfjsr). It’s also worth watching Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, Why We Should All Be Feminists, where she talks about how she too struggled with the negative connotations of embracing feminism, even calling herself a “happy feminist” because, being Nigerian, she did not want to be perceived as “angry” (http://goo.gl/ps7mbu). She came to see that neither position was correct – feminism isn’t about reflecting what others want to hear and see. Society already imposes too many ideals on women. We are routinely asked to suppress our emotions, concerns and desires.¬†Adichie shows why feminism is important, and why it’s not enough to say you support equality or human rights. Feminism ensures gender and power discussions are not silenced. She says:

    “I was once talking about gender and a man said to me, “Why does it have to be you as a woman? Why not you as a human being?” This type of question is a way of silencing a person’s specific experiences. Of course I am a human being, but there are particular things that happen to me in the world because I am a woman. This same man, by the way, would often talk about his experience as a black man. (To which I should probably have responded, “Why not your experiences as a man or as a human being? Why a black man?”)”

    Miss Melony, you may not want to call yourself a feminist, and that’s fine, but given you state the reason is about the negative perception, I would urge you to critically think about what you’re rejecting and whom this serves. Too much of women’s history is shaped by what others want us to think about ourselves. Feminism says we don’t have to take this, and that our bodies, our histories, our futures and our self narratives are ours to claim.


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