My name is Emma. This is my feminism.

The F Word: Who Wants to be a Feminist? – 2011

on February 24, 2012

I do!  But it took me a while to get here.  I think we all know women who embrace ideas about equality and women’s rights in particular, but avoid using the word ‘feminist.’  It’s a little sad I think.  Part of what this documentary talked about was whether or not that label is important.  If you are embracing the message, do you really need the label?  I don’t know.  The point was made though, that a bunch of individuals will not have the power of a unified group who all identify themselves as part of the movement.

Who gets to call themselves a feminist?  One woman in this film identifies herself as a ‘conservative feminist.’  Is that a thing?  Is Sarah Palin really a feminist?  Can I believe in strict gender roles and conservative values and still call myself a feminist?  Who owns the word ‘feminist?’ 

Well, no one.  It’s interesting though, as this film pointed out, that young women who embrace feminist values reject the label, but Sarah Palin and Christina Hoff Sommers (the conservative feminist) reject the traditional values of feminism, but embrace the label.   Apparently, there are political and financial incentives for conservative women to publicly call themselves feminists while simultaneously saying that women have it all and there is no need for feminism anymore.  But that’s a scary, depressing thought that makes me kinda angry, so I’ll try to avoid thinking too much about it. 

One thing I am just starting to understand and appreciate about feminism is that you can do it your own way.  You can wear a mini dress or a burqa, lots of makeup or no makeup, shave your legs or not, be a politician or a housewife, date men or women, be a man or a woman, it doesn’t matter. You make your own meaning of these things.  If you feel empowered by what you’re doing, like you’re in control of yourself, your life, and your choices, then really, that’s all that matters.  (Well, if you wanted to support other women, and men, and women’s rights in general that wouldn’t hurt either…)

I was a little worried for a while that I’d hafta stop wearing makeup, liking pink, wearing heels and shaving my legs in order to be a feminist.  But feminism is not sposta suck…  So I decided that as long as I’m not judgmental of non-conforming women, realize that not all girls like pink, and am not disgusted by my own leg hair, then it’s all good.  Maybe if we allowed a more free definition of feminism, more people would want to be a feminist. 

The F Word: Who Wants to be a Feminist?


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