I identify as a feminist. I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t. Many people have an issue with the term feminist itself as they feel threatened by it. They think that feminism campaigns for women to become the superior gender simply due to their irrational fear of the prefix “fem”. This is not the case. Feminism is about giving women a choice, it’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, but most importantly it’s about equality for all.
Sadly, while the world needs as many feminists as possible, we seem to be facing an issue that the internet has defined as “white feminists”. Now, white feminism isn’t meant as a prejudiced phrase, it’s just used as a descriptor for feminists who only advocate for the rights of cissexual, straight, white women. These so-called feminists are diluting the meaning of the word, some famous examples being Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham. They are doing this through using their voice to raise awareness of issues concerning straight, white women, but holding their silence when an issue arises concerning other women. This is why intersectional feminists are needed, who advocate for equality for everyone, regardless of gender, race, sexuality or religion. Surprisingly to many, this includes men. Feminism has always been concerned with gaining equality for all genders. This goes as far as trying to reduce the stigma surrounding men wearing makeup or men who are more emotional than is deemed socially acceptable. Feminism is not about knocking men down and raising women up, it is about establishing a balance where we have equality and less stereotypes.
What truly infuriates me is when people who live under the misguided conception that feminism breeds “man-hating lesbians”, start preaching when women choose to explore their sexuality in a way that is different to the usual male voyeuristic experience. Recently, Emma Watson posed for the cover of Vanity Fair in just a crochet open top and a lace skirt and received significant backlash. After scrolling through some of the comments she summarised “they were saying that I couldn’t be a feminist and have boobs.” Stunned, she continued: “[feminism] it’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my t*** have to do with it.” She makes a valid point. If she feels comfortable doing something, who has the right to judge her? During her introductory speech for her UN Women campaign HeForShe, she stated that “feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women”. I wholeheartedly agree.
To truly achieve equality we need more intersectional feminists and fewer women using this metaphorical stick to beat other women. I identify as an intersectional feminist. How about you?