Updated: Oct 16, 2018
I point blank REFUSE to sit here and recoil all the common misconceptions about what it means to be a feminist because that achieves nothing but reinforcement. Reinforcement of boring and tired ways of thinking, that cynics cling to purely for the fact that even in 2018, rejecting feminism is still easier than identifying with it. While people may agree with the concept - fear is still attached to the word itself. I am instead going to explain to you exactly what feminism means to me.
Feminism isn’t static or formulaic. It’s not a set of guidelines or rules that everyone must agree with and adhere to. Nor is it something threatening or dogmatic. It’s a movement. It’s about change and progression and personal as well as collective experience. It’s adaptable and evolutionary, meaning different things to different people.
Feminism to me is a reaction. A reaction to misogyny, to sexism, to inequality – in all forms. When I think of feminism, I think of the future. A future where parliament is more representative; where people that do the same job are paid the same wage; where education is used effectively to better shape attitudes regarding relationships and sexual health; where maternity and paternity rights are equal; where everybody has the same access to mental health services; where discrimination is prevented rather than appealed.
Freedom and choice and empowerment. That's what feminism means to me - so far removed from the negative connotations it’s still clouded with. A movement about everybody, for everybody.
So be a feminist or don’t be a feminist. But don’t be scared of the word. Don't be scared to call yourself a feminist. As J K Rowling wrote "Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself." The sooner society embraces the movement, the sooner we will progress.
Don't be fooled - feminism might derive from the word feminine but it doesn't simply concern women.
I haven’t used the word woman to explain it once.