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Don’t Call Yourself A Feminist if You Do These Five Things

 

Feminism is gaining popularity among us teens, and I have to say, I’m glad. Celebrating women and the achievements we’ve made in history is something I’m proud to be a part of. I am proud to call myself a feminist. However, I’ve seen some extremely odd things within the feminism community, and when I say odd, I mean completely infuriating. Here’s a list of the top five anti-feminist things I’ve seen “feminists” do on social media- if you do any of these things, you need to wake up and do better.

  1. Body-shaming. If you’re on social media calling other women “too big for those clothes” or “so skinny she looks like a skeleton,” you’re not a feminist. I’ve argued with people on social media who, for some reason, were under the impression that feminism doesn’t apply to bigger women, and that is false. Feminism is for every woman, regardless of their weight. Feminism is about us empowering each other, not tearing each other down over something as superficial as body size.
  2. Slut-shaming. I see this from a lot of people who call themselves “feminists”. If your feminism includes demeaning women who are sex workers (or women who are just sexual), take the feminist fist out off your header. Some of the most influential and powerful feminists in history were sex workers, like Maya Angelou, yet here you all are calling women ‘sluts’ and ‘whores’ for having sex or wearing short-shorts. It’s disgraceful.
  3. Tone policing. This is another one I see a lot, yet nobody really seems to touch on it. Tone policing is when a woman is extremely judgmental about how another woman addresses social issues. Take for example, Nicki Minaj calling out the VMAs for their lack of diversity, Taylor Swift’s unnecessary response and Miley Cyrus’s subsequent tone-policing– when asked about Nicki’s anger, she said “…I don’t respect your statement because of the anger that came with it.” That’s bullshit. Nicki was acknowledging the lack of diversity in terms of race and body image, and Miley wasn’t worried about the truth Nicki said, but how she said it. As if that makes a difference. We as women of color have a right to be upset about the lack of diversity in the awards given, and about being used as props in the back of music videos.
  4. Trans-exclusive. Yes, trans women are women. Yes, they deal with hardships that we face as women and more for being trans. Yes, they deserve a safe-space in feminism. If your feminism doesn’t include trans women, you’re not for all women. And you’re not a feminist.
  5. Intersectionality. This widely used term coined by prof. Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 is often ignored. Many feminists I see don’t acknowledge the struggles of other races- they’re what we call ‘white feminists’. Their feminism focuses on changing dress codes and normalizing unshaven armpits (which I agree with) and not on the struggles faced by other groups- like women of colour or LGBTQ women. When called out on it, they become offended and then do nothing to change it. So, if you aren’t intersectional and all you’re doing as a feminist is worrying about your fellow white women and completely cutting us out of your “activism,” you’re no feminist. You just like having it in your bio because you think it’s “edgy” or “cool.” And you need to do better.

Here’s a bonus for the male feminists- if you come into a safe space for women and tell us what feminism is supposed to be and how we’re supposed to act, you’re not really a feminist either. Taking our platforms, talking over us and committing all five of the things I listed isn’t helping us at all. It’s hurting us, and you’re in the way. You guys need to do better too.

All in all, feminism is an amazing thing. I love being a feminist, and I love all of my fellow feminists. I love what we’re doing. But we as a community need to do better. We need to be more inclusive and less judgmental. I can feel us heading in that direction, and for that I’m grateful. But we’re far from where we need to be as a whole. We’ve all got to try harder and improve ourselves- in no time, we can become an all-inclusive group where everyone feels welcome.

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Kaya Blount
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16. St. Louis. LGBTQIA+. vegan. angry feminist. Intersectionality is key. #AllBlackLivesMatter.

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