New Years Resolution: To use the “F” word.



As a female in society, I’ve always noticed the hesitation to use the F word. Feminism or stating the phrase “I’m a feminist” has become such a feared concept due to the immediate judgment or criticism attached to it. Now, I was pondering about this concept for a while. Despite being a grad student, I still find time to read celebrity news and noticed an abundance of articles of celebs stating they don’t identify with being a feminist. Additionally, I had returned home and noticed my own hesitation to identify as a feminist in front of my tradition family and I wasn’t shocked to hear this same hesitation from my friends. With the New Year, I personally made a New Years Resolution to take the phrase “I’m a feminist” back. I don’t imagine I can do it by myself, but I imagine that I can be a small part in removing the fear and judgment placed on the phrase. In order to remove the fear, we have to understand why the fear exists in society and identify with our own interpretation of feminism.

The dictionary defines feminisms as gender equality between sexes in political, social, and economic environments. As a music buff, this definition can also be heard mid song on Beyonce’s song “Flawless, by talented feminist speaker Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her speech “Why We Should All Be Feminist”. One could wonder under this definition, why is it so hard to identify with being a feminist? Unfortunately, this definition is not the one being propagated by society.

Ferguson (2010) stated that some of the fear attributed by society about feminism include that feminism is too judgmental, radical, and exclusionary.  The radical approach means that feminism is often associated with extreme body positivity movements, sexual freedom, and removal of traditional roles as options for women. The exclusionary approach means that feminism is associated with only White American women. Lastly, the judgmental approach, which personally is the most prominently feared concept in society, is that feminism is associated with women who hate men, hate other women who choose to be a homemaker, and hate the heterosexual lifestyle. Incorporating all three concepts together, stating “I’m a feminist” equals being a middle class white woman, who hate other women for choosing to be homemakers, hate the institution of marriage, and want all men to disappear completely from the earth. The phrase comes with such a loaded judgment; it’s understandable why many hesitate or fear to identify with feminism.

Thus, we have to educate. Regardless of if you’re views include some of the radical, judgmental, or exclusionary approach perceived by society, it’s important to note that the goal of feminism is gender equality.  Thus, don’t be afraid to use the “f” word. State you’re a feminist and be prepared to tell others it doesn’t mean that you hate men, hate institutionalized marriage, or hate the idea of being a homemaker. The phrase “I’m a feminist”, should equal that as a woman, I deserve to have the same equal rights in society, politics, and economic environments as any man.

 

Written by Yvette Gely

 

Ferguson, M. L. (2010). Choice feminism and the fear of politics. Perspectives on politics8(01), 247-253.


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