Gina Mei
May 06, 2015 3:10 pm

Earlier this week, conservative radio host Doc Thompson posed a question on Twitter to promote an upcoming episode of his show, The Morning Blaze.

“Any tips on #HowToSpotAFeminist?” he asked — and the Internet responded in kind.

Of course, the tweet was intended to mock and shame feminists, turning the label into a joke and #HowToSpotAFeminist into a trending topic. Unsurprisingly, a majority of the responses heavily relied on tired stereotypes, and portrayed feminists as ugly, bra-burning misandrists who are as unlikable as they are horrible to look at. It was disappointing, to say the least, and perpetuated the idea that feminism is anything other than the belief that men and women should have equal rights. The hashtag got very sexist, very fast, and people were quick to tear down any woman who would dare to identify herself with the word or the movement. Brace yourself, ’cause here are the bad ones, but we promise it’s about to get better.

But then, something absolutely brilliant happened: Feminists took to Twitter to reclaim the hashtag — and, in the process, reclaimed the word itself. Jokes were made, camaraderie abounded, and the tides began to shift. What had started as a low-blow attempt to takedown feminism ended up as a positive display of how wonderful and obvious the movement should be. The tweets were all kinds of rad — and most notably, they gave a helpful reminder that anyone who believes in equal rights is, by definition, a feminist. (We know, this should be common knowledge by now, but it definitely still isn’t.)

To top it all off, even a few celebrities joined in on the conversation.

The hashtag quickly became an empowering reminder of just how important (and contentious) gender equality continues to be, and it was wonderful to see so many women (and men!) stand up for something that should be so obvious. Hopefully the conversation surrounding the #HowToSpotAFeminist hashtag helps to shed light on what the movement stands for — and helps make it easier for people to finally own the “f-word.”

(Images via Twitter, via.)