“I’m not a feminist”

This article in Salon is about the trend for women in public life to identify as “not a feminist.” This has led to much controversy, including a feud between Naomi Wolf and Katy Perry. This might be one of those cases in which the parties do not all share the same definition of the word. When i hear a woman say “I’m not a feminist,” first I think, “How could you not be? Do you want to be June Cleaver?” I think it must mean “I’m pretty, I shave my legs, I like men, and I don’t want to wear aviator glasses.” What do you think being a “feminist” means?

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About Maddy Groves

Maddy Groves (host, webmaster and podcast producer) Is a singer, songwriter, editor, writer & publicist. She majored in history in college & worked on Capitol Hill for over 15 years.
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5 Responses to “I’m not a feminist”

  1. Nica NoelleNo Gravatar says:

    To me the word “feminist” has heavy political connotations, and it implies an agenda. I think that’s my biggest turn off and the reason why I cringe when people ask me if I’m a feminist. I don’t have a gender-specific message or agenda. I don’t think women deserve special considerations that men don’t get, and I don’t necessarily appreciate the modern idea that I CAN’T be June Cleaver if I want to be. What’s wrong with staying home and raising your children? Nothing! It’s a noble way to spend your time and spend your life, and it’s great for your kids! Feminism is supposed to be about choices, but I find that’s rarely the way it’s presented. Feminists often exclude homemakers, and also sex workers, from their list of “ways to be a woman.” The word comes with too much baggage and too many negative connotations for me to want to use it to describe myself. I find it’s just a little too heavy-handed, and gives people the wrong idea of what my politics are.

  2. RosalindNo Gravatar says:

    Being a feminist means that you believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. One look at the income gap between men and women in this country (not even to mention the fact that women are incredibly under-represented in our political system) will prove that women have not yet achieved equality with men. Feminism is not about choice – it is about equality for ALL women, including sex workers and home-makers. Fighting for rights for sex workers is being a feminist. Fighting for better child care options is being a feminist. Fighting for reproductive rights is being a feminist. I’m pretty, I shave my legs, I like men, and I don’t wear aviator glasses. I’m a feminist, and until the world starts treating women as equals to men, I will fight for all the vitally important things that being a feminist means.

  3. TorpedoFishNo Gravatar says:

    In what ways are our rights and opportunities unequal?

    • Anita BurkamNo Gravatar says:

      One way is the amount of bullshit women have to put up with that men don’t. Like women politicians whose wardrobes and appearance are critiqued when men’s aren’t. Women construction workers who have to convince every new male who comes on site that they know what they’re doing and deserve to be kept in the loop instead of ignored and marginalized. Girls who like science who don’t get called on in class or whose responses are met with repressive attitudes from the teacher. Yes, women can overcome these obstacles, but it’s like biking against a headwind rather than biking with a tailwind. People with a tailwind (boys/men) more easily achieve their goals with less frustration. People fighting against a headwind (women in non-traditional fields) can only achieve with superhuman effort, and some get discouraged and quit. (Harassment is often a part of this discouragement.) To be fair, men in non-traditional fields also face headwinds, and feminists also fight for their right not to have to face them. Feminists believe that a person’s interests and abilities should determine what they do in life, not their gender.

  4. Nica NoelleNo Gravatar says:

    Men have to put up with a lot women aren’t subjected to, as well. All people should have the same rights, obviously. Women included. but i don’t feel the need to specifically care more for the rights of one gender and define my politics that way.

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