The F word. The worst one around. The one tied with unpleasantly preconceived notions of bra burning and man-hating.
Recently, after overhearing an explosively sexist comment on a lunch break, I asked a friend, “Do you consider yourself a feminist?”
“Oh, NO!” she snapped back with a level of enthusiasm that shocked me, spitting the word out like a worm in an apple, “…no no no.”
Really?, I thought to myself. This friend is a woman who I consider to be kind, strong, and ultimately…a woman’s woman. Not a feminist? I considered it again, and got to thinking…
I know very few women who would openly admit to being a (here comes the F word again) feminist. I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count the number of times that labelling myself with the term has been responded to with an eyeroll or uncomfortable “oh…”
The excuses that I have been expected to throw out for being a feminist who works in the fashion industry? That’s an entirely separate and complex issue on its own.
Frankly, I am over the double standards, the being taken advantage of, the sexist comments…from both sexes. Somewhere between giving the ability to vote and the “Girl World” we saw brought to life in Mean Girls, it has become standard practice to self-loathe as a woman.
Misogyny is no joke, but the utter imbalance that the anger towards it has bred? We’re not just mad at the society anymore, we’re mad that we were born with that unfortunate vagina-giving chromosome in the first place. Feminism scares women. Instead a feminist standing as an advocate for women’s right, we are now labelled as man-haters, angry hippies, or – god forbid – lesbians.
Feminism is about equality….about rights…not a battle of the sexes. Not ‘me’ against ‘you’. It breaks my heart to see that some women can’t see past that, that some women laugh at feminism in spite of the constant conquest of their reproductive, financial, and sexual rights, et al.
Young girls are now growing up in a culture that promotes self-hatred; hate your body (you’re not a Victoria’s Secret model!), hate your boyfriend (a man needs to live at your feet!), hate your friends (because it makes you cool!), hate that you’re a woman (because guys have it easy!) – I could go on and on. If women only start to appreciate what it means to be a woman when they have a child (and hey – that isn’t for everyone)…what the hell are we doing with the rest of our time?
When was the original idea lost? It is not about man-hate, it’s about women-love.
Remember that for yourself and our generation’s daughters will, too.