Why is ‘Feminism’ such a dirty word?

I don’t really tend to walk around with a placard across my front declaring that I am a feminist, (apart from the bio at the front of this blog) but I am.

I really struggle with understanding why any woman wouldn’t be a feminist.

So when I was out with a relatively new group of friends on Saturday, and we somehow got onto the topic, I was somewhat surprised at the reaction of horror to the word ‘feminist’.

For me, feminism is the push to give women equality in all things, to give them a fair and level playing field with men.   A quick google search confirmed that this was, more or less the general consensus (you know when you doubt yourself, and think, ‘have I been getting this wrong for years?’, but anyway, I hadn’t).

So, why on earth would any woman disagree with being a feminist?  Surely, we’ve had it drummed into us that we can do anything men can, that we have a choice over our lives, bodies and whatever we want to be as women, we can be…?  Well, no, that’s not really true is it?  Because we are given two completely different messages, the one above, and then the implicit one that’s thrown at us from every other angle, I’m not going to go into it, but y’know, the whole objectification of women, that we still be judged on our appearance before anything else, domestic violence, and even the way that our mothers treat our fathers like  children.  So we have two very different messages, and I don’t think it’s hard to figure out which one is dominant.

My friend informed me she wasn’t a feminist because she liked cooking for her husband.  I asked if he made her do it, or assumed that she would do it, or did nothing in return, and she said no.  I asked her if she believed that women should have the same rights as men, that they should be able to do whatever men do, and asked her if she wants a world for her daughters to be fair and for women to not be oppressed in anyway?  And she said yes.  I informed her that she probably was a feminist.

It seems there are such negative connotations with a word, that people don’t realise, or value what it really means.  And as a consequence, we live in a world where women who are proud to be feminists are vilified.

Feminism is not dirty.  It is not women subjugating men (which is a hugely unfunny ironic joke, it’s NEVER going to happen).  It is not women who hate men.  It is fair, it is right and it is how society should be.

We don’t tolerate racism the way we did, look at the reaction to Chelsea fans in Paris, gender is the same as the colour of our skin; irrelevant.  We all deserve to be treated equally.

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