I have a theory: America is full of feminists. They just don’t know it yet.
According to a 2013 poll conducted by the Huffington Post and YouGov, only one fifth, that is 20% of the American population, identifies as a feminist. Allow me to quote author and femme maven Caitlin Moran, whose response to this poll is just about the best thing I have ever heard:
“What do you think feminism IS ladies? What part of liberation for women is not for you? IS it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? Did all that good shit get on your nerves? Or were you just drunk at the time of the survey?”
HOWEVER….in that same survey, 82% of those surveyed claimed that they believed that men and women should be social, political, and economic equals.
I’ll take a moment and let those numbers sink in………good? OK.
So only 20% of the population would call themselves a feminist (come on ladies), yet 82% believes that men and women should be equal. I know what you are thinking. Yes, the definition of feminism IS equal rights for men and women. So why did so few people define themselves as a feminist? Because of the word feminist. Because of the negative connotation associated with the word. Because of the confusion about what it means to be a feminist. They see radicalism and they miss the reality. They believe in all of the core pillars of the movement, they just don’t want the label. But if they just knew what that label truly meant, they would wear it just as proudly and prominently as the labels they wear on their clothes. I want a day where wearing the label ‘feminist’ is as desired as wearing the label ‘Chanel’ or ‘Louis Vuitton.”
Let me throw an example at you to really show you what I mean. Emily Shire of The Daily Beast discussed the confusion that surrounds feminism in her article, “You Don’t Hate Feminism. You Just Don’t Understand It.” In her article, she sites one of the most notorious examples of ignorant anti-feminist sentiments: Women Against Feminism. According to the group’s mission statement located on their Facebook page, the group represents “women’s voices against modern feminism and its toxic culture….judging feminism by its actions not by dictionary definitions. The group encourages anti-feminist women to post pictures to social media holding signs explaining why they don’t need feminism. Reasons for not needing feminism range from “loving masculine men like Christian Grey,” to the even more upsetting response, “I don’t need feminism because I believe that men and women are equal, not that women should belittle men.”
Whoever posted this response, I thank you for proving my point. You are among the countless individuals who don’t understand what the hell feminism really is. Now I could go on and on and on about why women should not take to social media making statements that are rooted in blatant ignorance and misinformation or why forming an organization around a false premise is both enraging and irresponsible, but that rant is something I don’t want to subject you, my lovely readers, to. But it does lead me to stress the importance of educating the public about the premise of feminism. This person just defined the word feminism in the same sentence that she dismissed it. My fellow female, brace yourself, but if you believe men and women should be equal, then you are a feminist! Welcome to the dark side my friend.
Whether you are willing to accept it or not ladies, we still need feminism. Despite the fact that we have come a long way in the way of equal rights, there is still work to be done. So long as there are glass ceilings left to shatter, so long as women are cat called, so long as there is a 22% pay gap between men and women as of 2013, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, there is still work to be done. Ladies, lets embrace feminism. It never hurts to be on your own team.
Photo credit: everydayfeminism.com