By Gemma Garner
‘I think men and women should be treated equally… but I’m not a feminist!’
At the ripe age of 14, I liked to seem controversial, smart and in the know. ‘I don’t get feminists,’ I’d say ‘why not just be a humanist?’. Of course, I was blissfully unaware that humanism was already, in fact, a thing. Still, I’d feel quite satisfied with myself and my new word, and continue on with my day, making sexist, racist, and homophobic remarks in order to fit in. Because I was a ‘humanist’, of course.
In the 4 years it took me to truly understand what feminism is about, I came across people who were on the same journey as me. And yet, no matter how far they got in understanding the injustices women face on a regular basis in our society, they still struggled to really cross the finish line and gladly call themselves ‘a feminist’.
What does this mean? Mostly good things, actually. The majority of young women are beginning to take the time to understand their rights and have a voice, have independence, and speak up. Despite their hesitance to label themselves as a dreaded ‘feminist’, I still find myself overcome with joy when I see women everywhere take a stand and defend women worldwide. There’s hope!
I’ve heard many, many reasons as to why women and men can’t be associated with feminism. It still shocks me when I see women in the spotlight further create misconceptions about feminism… whilst still being incredible role models. Shailene Woodley, for example, is a very powerful, independent, confident woman, who’s taken a stand for women everywhere with her own little (undeclared) forms of activism. She proves that beauty does not have to be accentuated with makeup, by baring her makeup-less face on the red carpet on a regular basis. But still she insists that she is not a feminist, because she ‘loves men’ and thinks we ‘need balance’. Oh, Shailene. What you’re thinking of is misandry, not feminism. By believing in equality you aren’t required to hate men, or to believe women should be the superior gender… that’s an entirely different matter.
I know feminism can be complex, and not all feminists have the same opinion on certain things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a feminist you’re proud of. So, to all out there who believe in equality, even those who insist they aren’t a feminist (I’m talking to you, Shailene), I give you this, the ‘Am I the F word?’ quiz. You’re welcome.