Why we need to stop calling each other "bad feminists"
The Internet is brilliant. It’s easier now than ever to educate yourself about and form your own opinion on the world. Millions of topics are discussed daily on the Internet, specifically social media forums such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. One topic which you can always guarantee will create a stir is *drum roll* feminism. As a teen, and as a woman, I never stop trying to figure out who I am. I will always have questions about myself and who I want to be, but if there is one thing I haven’t questioned for a long time, it’s that I am a feminist
With the constant whirlwind of social media, women have different opinions of feminism being thrown at them left, right and center. Emma Watson’s game-changing #HeForShe speech at the U.N. opened up the door for women everywhere to discuss feminism. She cleared some things up for us and set the record straight on a lot of issues, which in some cases was well over due. In her speech, Emma said, “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.” If you’ve seen the speech (which you probably have — it was amazing and viral), you know she hammers home the point that feminism has evolved into more than just women’s rights: It is about equality. Why can’t people seem to accept that feminism is not about elevating women above men, but rather getting to a point of true equality between the genders?
Feminism means something different to everyone. Every person has their own spin on it and different people identify with different aspects of it. If some people don’t identify as feminist, that’s fine. It doesn’t mean they don’t identify with you, it means they don’t identify with what feminism means to them. However, with all these different ideological interpretations of feminism being thrown around, is it any wonder women everywhere are getting themselves tongue-tied over whether or not they identify with any of it? Recently, the Internet has exploded with articles on cat-calling, stilettos, and name-changing.
It’s making some women question their beliefs. “If I feel flattered when someone cat-calls me, am I a bad feminist?” “If I want to be a housewife and bake cakes, am I a bad feminist?” The answer? No.
The attitude of the majority of the feminist community is, “You like that thing, I don’t like that thing but that’s okay! I’m not going to judge you because of the thing, that’s your choice!” It’s not about beauty, or makeup or skirts; it’s about being the person you feel the most comfortable, and happy being. It’s about being the person that makes you feel that you’re the best version of yourself.
With all the pressure that young women are under, I really don’t think that something as personal and changeable as your own opinions should be getting us all worried about scrutiny. We can all feel it in our bones that the next generation of feminists is going to be a fierce one, as these men and women are growing and learning about themselves, and telling the world what they think. As long as the core belief of feminism — that men and women should be treated equally and afforded equal opportunities — is there, there’s no reason we can’t all live our lives in the way that’s best for us, personally. Other feminists may make choices that you don’t agree with, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t still feminists.
That’s not to say that everyone should just agree with each other, disagreeing is great. Disagreeing is when conversations and debates happen and you can learn from and educate each other. What it does mean is that after these conversations are had, it’s still perfectly okay to then say, “cool, let’s go do something together that we’ll both enjoy and not let our differences in opinion define our relationships.”
When it comes down to it, some feminists will still want to stay at home and focus on caring for their families. Good for you, ladies! Other people want to go out, kick ass in the office and work full-time. Good for you too, ladies! Everyone is different and that’s both inevitable and OKAY. The sooner we all start to embrace and accept each other the way we are, the better. There’s room for lots of different walks of life in feminism.
(Image via iStock.)