The F word

I am a feminist.

There. I said it. I’m a feminist.

Why did I feel the need to declare that? A lot of reasons. This has been an interesting year for me and my feminism. A person called me their feminist metric. Another person asked me to read a story of theirs and evaluate its portrayal of female characters because they respected me for my feminism. At the same time, one of my critique partners became angry with me and questioned “my brand of feminism” because I didn’t like something one of her female characters did. Recently, a friend called my feminism into question because of a funny meme about Brexit I posted.

But most specifically? I purchased Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley and have been reading it slowly (I’m not much of a non-fic reader). I went out for lunch and noticed that I was folding the cover back so that the people around me couldn’t see what I was reading. And then I got mad at myself, so I posted this picture on all my social media:20160630_125448-1[1]

What is wrong with our world that “feminist” is a bad word? Why should suggesting that women are people who deserve equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunity be something that anyone would be embarrassed by?

Certain right-wing radio hosts hijack the meaning of the word. Self-proclaimed Men’s Rights Activists have turned the word into a pejorative. Certain women, desperate to claim that “cool girl” title or trying to prove their piety disavow feminism. It makes me sad that people feel the need to say, “Well, I’m a feminist, but I don’t hate men or anything like that…” All of these people and more have assigned meaning to “Feminism” that just isn’t there.

I am not a student of gender studies – I’m a student of science and medicine. So if you start talking about “Third-Wave Feminism” or “Intersectional Feminism” I honestly have only the vaguest idea what you mean by that. When I say “feminism” I just mean women are people who deserve equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunity.

So, I’m gonna sit with my copy of Geek Feminist Revolution, drink my coffee, and I am not going to be embarrassed that the “F” word is emblazoned on the front where everyone can see it.

Reclaim our word, people! Feminism is NOT a bad word!


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