The funny thing about feminism is that the definition of it has grown to be very far from feminist. Girls today are told to not look up to role models like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or like the color pink or love someone or something so much that the world would end if they lost it. Doing so, liking any of these things, would not comply with Feminism™. Feminism™ has somehow become intertwined with our definition of a Strong Female Character™, and now our Feminist™ is someone who is bold, and lives out loud, and is intelligent, and can kick butt, and who climbs the food chain until she is at the very top. She is someone who is flawlessly beautiful and not interested in fashion and if she is, uses her feminity to kick more butt.
But what a Feminist™ is not is a girl who has hopes and dreams and ambitions and achieves them. If you like pink, you are not supporting the Feminist™ cause. Somehow, the moment you say you are a Feminist™, you are worth more, and it makes you stronger.
And maybe that’s all Feminism™ has turned into: another label.
We have the Nerd Girl, the Popular Girl, the Girl Who Tries Too Hard, and the Girl Who Puts On Too Much Makeup. We have the Girl Who Is Perfect and the Girl Who Is Not. We have the Girl Without a Boyfriend Who Is Nothing and the Girl With a Boyfriend Who Is Everything. And maybe my question is… why?
Feminism did not start off as a label. It did not start off as Feminism™, where only a select few could vy to fill the gloried spots and renounce everything womanly.
Somehow, in the fight for women’s equality, Feminism™ has lost its true cause: its fight for individuality.
Now, there is an ideal Feminist™, one who hates pink and fluffy bunnies and ribbons, who carries pepper spray in her back pocket and screams to the world: look at me, I’m a feminist!
By making it a label, feminism has stopped being what it is supposed to be and has started being just that: a label. Something else to look good on your college application, to make you look better in the eyes of society, another hashtag you can paste on your selfies that is no better than #lookatmypromdress.
Of course, not everybody is a Feminist™. Some people are simply feminists, but that is not my point.
Why has Feminism™ turned into another label, another standard to judge women by?
You say, “I’m a Feminist™,” and you’re educated, smart, and domineering.
You say, “I hate Feminism™,” and you are stupid, innocent, and attractive.
And yes, some feminists today are the same.
But some aren’t.
So if a girl wants to wear makeup, if she likes the color pink, if she adores Disney princesses, if she rejects anything and everything to do with feminity, if she likes sports better than anything, if she wants to be a housewife, if she never wants to get married, if she wants to wear red lipstick and short skirts or cover herself up so that only her eyes can be seen, she is as much a feminist as the next girl.
For centuries, there have been double standards for women. Feminism was created to rise above these ideals of “what a woman should be.” And now, a Feminist™ is just another ideal women should run to meet. How’s that for progress?
Note: I do consider myself a feminist, but I am constantly tired and ashamed, not of so-called “feminazis” but of ordinary women who denounce others’ right to be a feminist. There is no one thing that makes you “feminist.” If you want to be a feminist, and you support the social, political, and economic equality of women, you are one. Sometimes, feminism seems as much backward as it is forward, and that, to me, is no kind of progress.