Feminism Isn’t a Dirty Word … So Why Are We Still Treating It Like One?

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If you scroll through my Goodreads account (yes I’m a book nerd, and proud), you’ll find lengths of classic feminist books listed on my page. Classics like The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer, and A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, and several volumes of Sylvia Plath. If you’ve ever had a lengthy conversation with me, I have probably, at some point, went off on a feminist tangent. If you have disagreed with me on the subject, I have probably berated you until you admitted defeat. Then I probably ended the conversation with a smug look on my face. Yeah, I’m also kind of an asshole.

I’m the girl who runs around saying things like “Free the Nipple” and “Fuck the Patriarchy” at parties. I once named my Beer Pong team ‘Team Estrogen’ to pay homage to the beauty of females. In fact, during a conversation with someone I had never met, I watched as a look took over their face as if they’d discovered how electricity works. They said “Oh, You’re the ‘Fuck the Patriarchy’ girl!”

Yes, yes I am.

And, I’m not the least bit ashamed of it.

My love for feminism didn’t come about with the goal of being able to berate people how wrong they were about their sexist predispositions. Nor did it develop because of the ruthless bombarding of sexualized images, aimed at selling products through my childhood and formative teenage years. To me, my love, interest in, and passion for feminism developed because it seemed like a natural progression: I am a woman. I believe women should be treated as equals. I am a feminist.


In the early years of identifying as a feminist at an all girls high school (surprisingly, the there were very few of us), I either didn’t realize how I was labeled as being ‘radical’ and an ‘outsider’ or, more likely, didn’t care. I was, still am, and always will be very proud of being a feminist.

I recall that people would often dance around the subject during class discussions, like it was the kind of word that should be whispered behind palms, like ‘abortion’ in a 1950s, WASP-y community.

What I never understood, and still don’t, is why? Many pretend like this word is bad and almost contagious, and much too radical. When we adopt the identity of ‘feminist’ we are apparently also signing up to be labeled as: “femi-nazis”, ‘Man-haters’, radicals, or just crazy. This is, in essence, where most of my anger is centered. Why does enjoying one thing mean you have to hate everything else? Why is a love of feminism also connotative with female domination and men-hating? That is not, in my understanding, the definition of the word, yet people still believe it is. Just because I don’t enjoy eating salad doesn’t mean that I will go off on a tangent about how salads are the bane of my existence and the root of all evil. In the same way, enjoying feminism and the freedom of women does not mean that I despise men.

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Although, yes I do say ‘fuck the patriarchy’ pretty regularly, this is more of a criticism of the society we have built, over thousands of years, which often pushes women aside, like moldy-leftovers in the fridge. It does not detract from the achievements of man, but fights for a greater recognition of the achievements of women.

Feminism isn’t about breeding hate, between other women or men. Feminism is a positive outlook which celebrates the equality of both sexes, rather than the superiority of either. Let’s stop criticizing people for being feminists. Let’s stop being ashamed to let our feminist flags fly. Let’s stop the stereotyping here. It’s time to stop treating feminism like a nuclear bomb that might explode if we pay attention to it. Let’s celebrate it, and let’s celebrate equality in all it’s forms.

NOTE: Photos are not mine!


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