I talk a lot about the definition of feminism and I do it for a pretty good reason- I think that once you understand the definition, at it’s most basic, you see how it applies to you and how you apply it to the world around you.
I get so frustrated when people distance themselves from feminism or actively campaign against it. Feminism, as a word, has a definition. It seems ridiculous to reject feminism based on what some think it means as opposed to what it actually does mean- yet it happens all the time.
I can see why this happens; some vocal minorities have hijacked the term and use it to describe activity or beliefs that are anything but feminist, like hating men or seeking to make men subservient to women. There was even recently news of a Cardinal blaming feminism for pedophilia within the church! Seriously! This is me after reading about it:
So I just wanted to remind people of what it actually does mean:
I see the definition of feminism as a starting point. It’s something that colours how you live your life; the way you interact, the way you parent, the dynamics of your relationships, your social conscience. It’s up to each individual to work out how feminism will be part of their world.
I’m no expert. I’m just an ordinary person who happens to believe that women deserve the same rights as men and should not face disadvantage for being female. I’ve had this discussion so many times. Overwhelmingly, in my experience, women that deny being feminists will actually agree with feminism- they just don’t want to use the word.
They way I see it, if you believe women deserve the same rights and opportunities that men already have, you are, by definition, a feminist. Take for example:
“I don’t need feminism because I support equality” See? What you’re supporting, lady from the internet, is feminism! The oppression of men, people speaking for all women and all that other stuff? Not Feminism!
This reminds me of the line I’ve heard so many times in varying forms but basically:
I believe in equality and all that but I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist… that seems too strong a word!
To me, that’s like saying this:
I know, I know- I sound like I’m trying to shove a label on people, and I know that’s not cool. But honestly- I’m not. I’d just like to see feminism treated like the positive thing that it is. It’s been negatively (and unofficially) redefined by people with a completely different agenda and they’ve been so successful with this that there is a whole movement of women against feminism, and I think that is a terrible shame.
I read this quote of Maya Angelou’s and it sums it up perfectly for me:
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