Lifestyle

I think I might be a feminist… maybe

I’ve always been a fan of labels. I know this isn’t a normal thing to enjoy, but I’ve always liked having a concise way of describing myself. Sometimes I’m a bibliophile, a minimalist, a student, a Christian… whatever, I like labels.
However, one word I was never able to get on board with was ‘feminist’.
To me, I thought feminists were trying to say they were better than men and were using their gender to feel better about themselves, ‘oh, he didn’t give me that job because I’m a woman, he gave it to some man with a PHD and 5 years of experience instead – that’s so sexist’.
I also didn’t like how the label reflected on more traditional women, who wanted to be stay-at-home mum’s and cook for their husbands and work part-time – I had met a few feminists in my time who seemed to degrade these views and made these valid life choices seem worthless.
I guess my opinion started to change as I got older and I started studying English. English is one of those subjects that leaves your brain exhausted at the end of the day from all the thinking you’ve had to do, and for a while, a lot of my time was occupied with thoughts about feminism, and how I felt about it.
Although I still wouldn’t label myself a feminist, I believe my mindset has changed significantly, and I’ve become a lot more aware of the inequality in our world; in our books, in our speech, in our culture. I see all these inequalities now.
Although I’m sure this opinion will be controversial, I do believe that white-women in first world countries are poor advocates for feminism. Forgive me if I don’t feel that sorry that you didn’t get promoted when there’s a girl in Africa forced into a marriage at 12 years old and pregnant for most of her teenage years.
I believe that women are strong, beautiful and independent, but if we approach life assuming that it’s going to be against us, we’re never going to reach our full potential. Every downfall is not because you’re a woman. Every time you’re passed over for a promotion is not because of your gender. Yes, there will be occasions when you feel discriminated against, but knowing when to fight and when to take it in stride is an important skill.
I’m not going to start using unisex pronouns anytime soon, but I would no longer be offended if I was mistaken for being a feminist. I am well aware that many of my thoughts of literature are influenced by my views of women and that my reviews on this blog reflect that.
For me, feminism is standing up for women who are discriminated against and who have no control over their lives, women who have been downtrodden or degraded.
Feminism should not aim to tear men down, but rather to build women up.
Feminism should be united, no matter the choices a woman makes or the path she chooses for herself, whether it’s in the home or in the office – you do you.

I know this isn’t my usual type of post, but it had it be said. Whether you’re a man, a woman, a feminist or a misogynist, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

34 thoughts on “I think I might be a feminist… maybe

  1. I loved your post, very simple and straight forward. I work on women’s rights and most people get lost in fancy words and big statements. The world needs honesty and real reflection. I congratulate you for that. Best.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey! I’m happy that you’re finally coming to terms that you might be a feminist.
    But I believe your concept about feminism isn’t still clear. You see, feminism has never been about tearing men down or making women superior to men. Feminism is about GENDER EQUALITY. All we want is equality, not superiority. So, no, we don’t only fight for women. We fight for men’s right too; the right to cry, the right to like the things that are labeled as girly.
    And no, you don’t have to be deprived to be a true advocate of feminist. Forcing into marriage or not considering your qualifications for a promotion just because you are a woman, are all forms of feminism. You can be white, wealthy and have all comfort in life and yet be a headstrong feminist.
    And the points you noted, playing he gender card for the failures faced, no they are not feminists. They are, what people call, psuedo feminists. Actually, they are not feminists at all. Any person who thinks their gender is or should be superior to the rest is a misogynist, whether male or female.

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    1. I completely understand where you’re coming from. I suppose that’s the problem with labels, they mean something to different to everybody, especially to those from the outside looking in. Thanks for commenting! I love the discussion that’s been going on in these comments!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I guess so! I posted a blog too on my take on feminism. So, if you wish you can read it to understand my view better. I’d love to hear your feedback. 🙂
        Your article was that good that it got so many people involved in it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! You state that feminism should not aim at tearing men down, but rather to build women up– that’s exactly what feminism is! I know that a lot of people out there practice feminism differently, but at its core, feminism is about reaching GENDER equality and giving every human being on this planet the same opportunities.

    Love,
    F.W.A

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I felt the same way when I had my change of heart. I had a friend who was a proud feminist and wore the label on her chest. We would talk a lot about life in general and I hear her many thoughts on different topics. At first I thought we would have nothing in common because she was a feminist. It wasn’t until after we’ve had a couple talks that I saw the similarities in our thinking.

    I think I started identifying myself as a feminist because I figured since we had the same line of thinking. I knew that wasn’t right though because I had to find my reasoning for myself. My feminist out cry began and will always be connected to social media. I hate the way I see women, especially women of color, being harassed online or even sexualized. That’s when I had enough.

    I want to thank you for this post because it’s stories like these that help me think that everybody is a feminist on the inside, you just need to discover it first.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lovely post!!

    People’s ideas of feminism take on a lot of different forms and stereotypes, but really it just means: I believe in equality for all genders. I personally believe in equality so I am a feminist, but I don’t relate to many many of the versions of ‘feminist’ in the media. No Feminist believes women are better or deserve special treatment either. Equality is for all. Anyone who believes feminism means something else has been misled… I was confused myself for many years because there’s not many places for young women to openly discuss it!

    Unfortunately negative portrayals have led to many feeling awkward about the semantics and language they use when saying they support gender equality which is completely understandable. But most of these portrayals (in the media and news/politics/film industry etcetc) are decided by men and watered down into society which is why I think it is important for many women (and feminist men!) to take ownership of the word Feminism back. If Top Men can’t deal with a word, can we really believe they can deal with what that word stands for?

    Feminists fought hard for my rights historically so I am proud to use this term when I speak up for women’s rights around the world today. I also feel inspired by all women and men eagerly marching for and discussing equal rights (like yourself) ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Amen! This is a really good point. I don’t consider myself to be a feminist but at times I feel that I am mistaken for one. I just believe though that men and women are absolutely equal, though different in roles. We shouldn’t be trampled on but we also should not aim to trample on men. And we should definitely point out inequality so that people understand that it is a very real problem.

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  7. Most of the feminists I’ve known in my life have been Christian, pro-life, often very traditional women (including many stay-at-home moms), so I think I have a vastly different view of feminism. But I agree that defining a term and understanding one’s relation to it is very helpful to understanding oneself.

    In general, I think feminism is intended as a positive term, supporting women whatever their goals and career (at home, work, or school), while for example chauvinism is a very negative term, pushing another group down to climb over them with one’s own group. But I haven’t studied much in this area, so for now I defer to those who are better versed in feminism.

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    1. This is exactly my point! Everybody will have a different view of feminism depending on their own personal experience, by dropping the label and focusing on the message, I find people are much more willing to listen, and that’s how we’re going to see change happen. Thanks so much for your feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. All of the reasons that you don’t like the word feminist are because of things that do not explain feminism. What a lot of people don’t understand is that movements change as time changes. So yes at one point the focus of the movement was to level the playing field specifically for women in terms of men. Part of that was encouraging women to get out of the home and into the workforce. However, that does not mean that we shame men for no reason or look down on women who are housewives or stay at home moms. If the only thing stopping you from calling yourself a feminist are things that 1. are not feminist and 2. backlash from people who don’t know what feminism REALLY is, it ruins the progress that we’ve made. I had a large conversation about this on Twitter with other feminists and this was the result: https://bookmarkchronicles.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/raes-rules-to-remember-69-what-feminism-is-and-what-it-isnt/
    This should hopefully clear most of the misconceptions and stereotypes about “bad” feminism!

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    1. Firstly, thank you for commenting, I love that this post has got people talking.
      However, from my experience, if you’re unwilling to separate your views from the label, you have automatically deafened the people you most want to reach. By choosing to avoid this label and instead focus on spreading the message of equality in my every day life, it normalises the movement, which is surely the ultimate goal of any ‘feminist’.
      I’d like to think that in 50 years no one will have to call themselves a ‘feminist’ because it’ll be the norm. The word will have become a historical term, rather than an ongoing movement.
      I’m sorry that you feel this post has ‘ruined the progress we’ve made’, but I would also like to point out, as I tried to make it clear throughout this post, that I am not condemning feminists or the ultimate goal of feminism, but a select group of people who hide behind the label of ‘feminist’ in order to degrade and ridicule other people.
      Hopefully, you will be able to respect this opinion and see that, although I don’t give myself that label, I fight every day in my lecture theatre, on my social media and here on this blog for equal representation of men and women in literature (as that is my particular sphere of influence), and surely that’s what it’s all about?

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      1. Okay. I’m not saying that you have to take on the label. I actually tell people a lot that as long as we’re fighting for the same thing in the end the title doesn’t matter. But that has to go both ways.
        I wasn’t saying that you or your post ruins progress nor did I think that you were condemning feminist. I am very aware, and have acknowledged on many occasion, that there are definitely people who claim to be feminist and truly are not. Obviously those people are not feminists.
        So yes I respect your opinion and in no way am I saying that you have to call yourself a feminist, but it is important to know what that actually means before writing it off.

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  9. You just literally spoke my thoughts out loud; I’m still trying to familiarize myself with the concept of “feminism”. I think a lot of people (including myself) misinterpret that word, and it’s so overrated to the point that it’s nearly lost its actual meaning.
    “Forgive me if I don’t feel that sorry that you didn’t get promoted when there’s a girl in Africa forced into a marriage at 12 years old and pregnant for most of her teenage years.”
    I loved what you said there. What I feel is sexist is the fact that some countries still won’t allow women the right to education. And it’s pretty ironic that the women who claim the right for gender equality and feminism are the ones that least need it.
    One thing that has gone wildfire around my country a couple months ago was a Lebanese law that claims that rapists can be excused from any punishment or verdict if they marry their victim; which, believe it or not, is something that parents of the victim agree to just to “make sure their daughter’s reputation is conserved”, which is something totally absurd. They’ve been working on changing this principle for a while now.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I’m really proud of you for taking the time to open your mind to the idea of feminism, and working on unlearning the biases and prejudices that mask inequality in the world. It’s a hard task that takes years, and took me a long time to understand, but now I feel a strong sense of pride and community when I see other people of all genders coming to terms with what feminism means to them, and recognizing that we are all fighting the same fight for equality and human rights around the world.

    I want to clear up a couple misconceptions about feminism before I recommend some books that I think you’d enjoy.
    1. White feminism vs intersectional feminism – there are many feminists out there who abhor white feminism, which is the traditional brand of feminism that white women championed in the early to mid 20th century and while they did make great strides in women’s rights, from the right to vote to legalizing birth control in the 60s, many of their goals excluded women of color, queer women, women with disabilities, non-Christian women, and yes, stay at home mothers or women who preferred to get married and rely on their husbands to be the head of the household. Intersectional feminism is what many modern day feminists champion, feminism that includes women from all walks of life and doesn’t discriminate based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, whether they have 10 kids or no kids or have been divorced 5 times or married their childhood sweetheart – the main messages we have, courtesy of bell hooks and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is that one: feminism is for everybody, and two: we should all be feminists. (These are both book titles! I will include them again at the end.)
    2. Man-haters vs equal opportunists: These are people on both of them extremes of feminism. Think of feminism as a Bell Curve: on the far left (not a political reference) end of the graph is the “man-hating feminazi” which is honestly a majority of the time simply women who get angry when (usually men) tell them things like women who get abortions are murderers, rape jokes are just locker room talk, all feminists are crazy whores, things like that. The reason it’s on the very low end of the curve is because actual Man-haters are very, very few in numbers, and only seem larger because it gets blown out of proportion when people argue on the internet. Equal opportunists are on the far right side of the Bell Curve, and are the kind of people who say “ALL lives matter” or “reverse racism” or “but what about men’s rights?” This is not something that represents feminism because, number one, of course all lives matter – however, the people who need our support the most are marginalized citizens in our community. Think of it like someone telling you their house is on fire, but you spray water on the house next door because ALL houses matter. Yes, all houses matter, but that house isn’t on fire. It will live. These people aren’t. Secondly, men’s rights isn’t something we need as a movement because men already have the most privilege simply for being men. This does not mean that there is nothing for men in tbe feminist movement, and I will talk about that next, but that we need to even out the representation in our government, in our administration in schools, in the group of CEOs and businessmen – groups that are a large majority made up of cisgender heterosexual white men, and places where we need to see more equal representation that gives a voice to minority groups such as people of color or LGBTQ people, etc.
    3. Feminism is about dismantling the patriarchy and introducing equality to society. The patriarchy is what keeps cisgender heterosexual white men in places of power and influence, and limits the amount of representation in those places. It also the reason why men have body image issues, feel like they can’t cry, are more frequently seen as the only ones capable of abuse or domestic violence, etc. Feminism is the fight to remove those societal pressures that contain men and women, and keep us locked in the traditional 1950s lifestyle that we held onto so strongly as a comfort following the chaos of WWII, but soon realized was suffocating our society and keeping us in a rigid supply line that limited advancement and progress. We have the capacity to create a beautiful free world, if we can all work together to be inclusive, understanding, and raise ourselves up above the fear that clouds the eyes of society without many of us even noticing. We need to create the new normal that is equal rights and a life of choices without fear or judgment. Feminism is the fight to make this dream a reality.

    Books that are helpful in learning about this concept:
    Feminism is for everybody by bell hooks
    We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
    Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
    You Don’t Have to Like Me by Alida Nugent
    A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
    Sister Outsider by Audre Lord
    How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

    Best wishes & happy reading! – Diana

    Liked by 2 people

  11. “Feminism should not aim to tear men down, but rather to build women up.”

    Now that is Feminism that I can support. Being a man myself, it is rather hard to support the “man-bashing hatred” that I see in a lot of blogs sporting the “feminism” tag.

    Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

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