“It’s time to stop fighting over [the word “feminist’] and retire it as the historical artifact it seems to have become, because whichever side of the definition-debate you’re on, it’s unlikely you mind will be changed . . . How about we call someone who’s a believer in equal rights and respect for personal choice something like a . . .feminine-ista.
(ELLE‘s Editor-In-Chief, Roberta Myers, September 2011)
Defining a feminist as a woman who wants to advance only the rights of women misses the point because there’s nothing feminine or inherently “feminine-ista” about that. When I was 13-years-old, I asked my older sister what a feminist was. She told me, “A feminist is someone who believes in equal rights for men and women.” Being a feminist is not being pro-woman or woman-above-man, but rather and equality of rights for all humans.
Despite the ever evolving definition of feminist, only 30% of women self identify as such while 80% favor efforts to strengthen and change women’s status in society (Aronson 2003). Are we a nation of closeted feminists? And if we are, why are people so afraid to admit they are feminists?
The bigger question is: Does it matter if someone who believes in equal rights labels themselves as a “feminist”? As we get further away from the feminism of our mother’s era and even our older sisters’ era, is feminism becoming less relevant? Do we need another term for it?
I’d love to hear what you think! Share your thoughts by commenting.
Notes: Photo source