Why Are Women Afraid Of Being Called Feminists?

Why Are Women Afraid Of Being Called Feminists?

It is easier to rest in silence, because silence acts as neutrality, and neutrality is safety.
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I hear many conversations about feminism start with "I'm not a feminist, but…" followed by a wildly reasonable remark or comment about gender equality -- and usually something relatively "feminist" in nature. Feminism, by definition, is simply the advocacy for women's rights and equality to men. Yet, many women cringe and are afraid of calling themselves the ugly F-word: a feminist.

According to a 2013 HuffPost/YouGov poll, “only one-fifth of Americans identify as feminists.” That is 20 percent of the American population who explicitly claim the term, while 63 percent describe themselves as being neither pro nor anti-feminist. When the poll asked responders if men and women should be "social, political and economic" equals, about 83 percent agreed.

Men and women should be granted the same rights and opportunities; this is what feminism means. Yet, we still have people shying away from using the term "feminist" because of the negative connotations that are associated with it. So where is the disconnect? Who wants to be associated with such a "negative” word? It's way easier to say you're not a feminist and still support gender equality rather than use a word that stirs up so much controversy.

The extreme challenge of the ideas feminism represents is threatening to women who just want to be left alone; to all women who believe they can hide from feminist issues by not being feminists, this just creates a bigger divide. It is easier to rest in silence, because silence acts as neutrality, and neutrality is safety.

The term "feminazi" is used by people who view feminists as "angry, frumpy and man-hating lesbians." These images portray feminists as being hysterical and incompetent, which ignores and discredits the true meaning of feminism. Women (and men) are afraid to identify with this crowd either because they feel embarrassed for daring to demand gender equality or to support a movement that makes people feel ashamed for being ignorant.

So why call yourself a feminist? If I don't hate men, enjoy having male friends and view my boyfriend as my equal, what's the point of me even saying I support feminism? Because feminism is not about creating divisions. Feminism at its core is about offering the same opportunities to all people; it emphasizes the right for all people to choose how to live their lives and be flexible about these choices.

This fear of being called a "feminist" really rests in the assumed social consequences and implications of being called one. It is difficult to undertake the personal accountability required to trace out one's own position in the multiple systems of domination and oppression.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Women Aren't As Hard To Please As You Men Think

An open letter to all men.

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Understanding a woman isn't rocket science. Pay attention to what we say and give us a little help around the house and we will be less of a mess.

Women, especially moms, have a million different things running through their heads at any given time. It's easy for us to get flustered and out of sorts when the plans in our head don't work out the way we intended.

If you men see us running about or in a hurry don't just watch us or stand by. Ask how you can help, and then do it. Nothing drives us crazier than someone asking what we need help with and then ignoring it or deciding that it can wait. If you don't plan to follow through, don't bother asking in the first place.

Trust me, if you follow through with helping us out we will definitely be thankful. Pleasing us isn't always about gift giving or taking us places. Simple things can make us happy.

If we're having a hard day offer a foot rub or cuddles on the couch watching our favorite mushy movie. Take the time to listen to us and hear our problems, even if it about the same girl at work that we can't stand and you've heard it before. We don't expect you to be Mr. Fix It, just listen. We just want to be heard by you.

Flowers for no reason other than just because is always a nice gesture. Flowers don't always mean that you're in the doghouse or it's our birthday. We like pretty things.

If we're having a bad week and get grumpy don't get grumpy back. We have millions of hormones float ing around our body and what they make us do or say is not always our fault. Give us chocolate or ice cream and we'll chill out.

Another tip, Most women like to make a list of things that we do during the day just to keep us on task. If you can find the list then take a couple of the tasks and do them. Even if it is as simple as dropping the dog at the vet or picking up a gallon of milk on the way home.

And, say thank you! We like to know that we are appreciated.

I can't stress this enough and it's an important one. If you're one of those men that require praise for every little thing that you do, like taking out the garbage or doing the dishes, get over yourself. Women do enough and we don't expect a thank you for everything. We're adults and taking care of things in everyday life is just natural for us.

If a thank you was given for everything that's all we would ever hear.

So, just to sum up, APPRECIATE your woman, LISTEN to her. HELP her. With all the things that we do for men and our children don't take us for granted, we don't deserve that. A little appreciation goes a long way.

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