The Funny Thing About Feminism™

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.

feminism_f5e270_646336But 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.

RosieRosie the Riveter was not a label. She was a cause. She was something to fight for.

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.

41 responses to “The Funny Thing About Feminism™

    • Very well said! I’m glad someone pointed out the hatred part. I like to think that I’m a feminist in the aspect of gender equality, but I’ve never understood why that means I’m supposed to hate men. Being a daughter, granddaughter, niece and the mother of sons, it’s heartbreaking to know that so many amazing men may be looked down upon due to their gender. That’s not equality or progress, that’s an eye-for-an-eye mentality that will never make our world a better place. Thank you Sabrina & Elly!

    • Exactly! Honestly, as Taylor Swift has said, if you’re not a feminist, you’re sexist. Hatred of typically ‘feminine’ things, at least in my book, isn’t feminist in the least. Thanks for the beautiful comment. ❤

  1. THIS. This a wonderful piece. You’ve taken so many of my feelings on labels and pressures and feminism and written about them in such a fantastic way. Thank you. ❤

  2. I agree – although I think the patriarchy has definitely shaped people’s attitudes toward the word “feminist,” which now has a more negative connotation regardless of what it means, and that’s why many people are under the impression that you have to act like a man to be a “real feminist” (absolutely not true, you can act however you want, like you said).

    • Exactly! I mean, calling a man “weaker” because he likes things normally associated with women is sexism as well! (Actually, we shouldn’t have things associated with different sexes because gender roles suck, but that’s another post entirely… But I digress.) DOWN WITH THE PATRIARCHY! (And no, this does NOT mean I want a matriarchy. It just means I want an Equal-Standing-Of-Both-Sexes-Archy.)

  3. That version of “feminism” was constructed by men. Period point blank. Feminists support any choice a woman makes, no matter if it’s to wear pink dresses or green pants. Any choice a woman makes is hers to make. That’s feminism.

    • Yes! Although, I find it really sad, because a lot of girls (especially teenage ones, I’ve noticed at school), have also decided that that is the “correct” definition of feminism. Sadly, some members of the feminist club at my school decided to tell people that the color pink is sexist. I mean, I get what they’re trying to put across, but it just comes off as very degrading and anti-feminist, especially considering that some of my friends do like pink and are also feminists. 😦

  4. I saw Evi reblog this. I see what you’re saying bout feminism and it’s a good message: anyone can be a feminist. I love makeup and dressing up for fancy occasions but am still a feminist. 🙂
    My only quip is, why are you posting about this if you are not a feminist? Do you not stand with feminists, or just do not like the name? Quoth Dumbledore, “Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself.” Not trying to be rude, just wondering. 🙂

    • Thanks for dropping by! 😀 I’m not a fan of dressing up and makeup, but several of my close friends are, and I’m tired of the trope where the girls who wear makeup aren’t feminists, because my friends ARE feminists and they DO like to wear makeup, and I don’t see a problem with that.
      I actually do consider myself a feminist. I just don’t consider myself a “brand-name” feminist, or a “feminist™”, as I represented them in the post. I feel like these are people who just try to make feminism a label, and sadly, that seems to be working in some places in our society. 😦 I think feminism should be whatever you want it to be, and if you want to be a feminist, a feminist is whoever you are. Sorry if that was confusing! 🙂

      • Yeah I kind of get it. Personally, I’m proud to wear the feminist label and when people falsely accuse me of being a man hater or something else along those lines, I happily (and politely) correct them.

        • Yeah what I think I’m trying to say is that it’s important for feminism to not become another sort of stereotype where you HAVE to dress this way, or hold these EXACT views on females to be a feminist. It’s important to remember we’re individuals, too, and “herding” us as feminists (think herding cows; herd mentality) isn’t really representative. I’m doing a bad job explaining this, lol. 😛

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  9. I took a look at your site this morning when I saw you followed me on Twitter, and now I’m sad I didn’t know about you before now! I love that you’re willing to take a critical look at things, even things you support. 🙂

    In terms of feminism, I think a lot of women are also falling into the habit of behavior stereotyping. So often lately, I’ve heard women say, “Women don’t toot their own horns enough. We need to praise ourselves more!” or “Women are too self-sacrificing. We need to put ourselves first!” I know they’re trying to be empowering, but it makes me want to say, “Don’t tell me that! I struggle enough to think about other people’s needs and feelings as it is!” Sure, there are lots of women who struggle with being assertive and taking time for themselves, but pretending one imperfection applies to all of us just perpetuates the false idea that women as a whole are a homogeneous group with the same vices and virtues. Which isn’t feminist at all!

    • Thank you! (I love your Twitter, by the way!)
      And yes! 1000% agree with everything you said. I’ve noticed that there are so many conflicting ‘versions’ of feminism out there, and for some reason, people always seem to be stepping on each other’s toes. And your example is PERFECT. I think that’s the very thing I had in mind while writing the post but didn’t know how to say. I know so many kinds of women and girls and I don’t think any one of us is more or less feminist, although some of us are more or less feminine. And “pretending one imperfection applies to all of us just perpetuates the false idea that women as a whole are a homogeneous group with the same vices and virtues” is an A++++++.

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