Do you have to be a feminist to stand for gender equality? Not many women agree. There is growing number of women who believe in equal opportunities for men and women, but do not want to wear the “feminist tag”.
What does this mean for us all? In a series of tweet, a twitter user, Ruby Kay shares why women who do not want to be associated with feminism should own who and what they are.
WHY YOU “NON-FEMINIST” THE WAY YOU DO. This is for the specific (and growing) group of “non-feminists” who make statements like these:
“I believe in equality but I’m not a feminist.” “I used to be a feminist but not anymore because feminists these days are giving it a bad name.” “I just don’t want to identify by the tag, it now has a negative connotation.”
For starters, it’s not by force to be a feminist, so this is not me attacking you for the labels you choose or choose not to go by. This is a call for introspection, to be sure that your choices are truly yours and not shaped by decades of patriarchal conditioning.
Feminism, like every other ideology, has its extremists. Islamic extremists kill people. Christian extremists kill people. Feminist extremists insult people on Facebook and Twitter. So why are you so uncomfortable with the feminist tag, yet wear your religion with pride?
I’ll tell you why. Misogyny seeps into language. Almost every word related to women takes on a negative or inferior connotation over time. Compare these masculine and feminine words which ordinarily, should mean the exact same thing-
Governor: an official appointed to govern a town or institution. Governess: a woman employed to teach children in a private household. Master: A man who has people working for him, especially servants or slaves. Mistress: A woman having a sexual relationship with a married man.
Bachelor: A man who has not, and has never been married. Spinster: an unmarried woman who is past the usual age for marrying and is considered unlikely to marry.
Even colloquial terms pertaining to women end up being twisted into derogatory references: Slay queen: a woman who dresses to kill (ie a fashionable woman). Now implies: a loose woman or an airhead.
Small girl, big God: a popular social media caption for girls trying to show gratitude to God for their blessings. Now implies: a girl with a sugar daddy (or something like that).
Feminist: A person who believes that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Now implies: an ugly, bitter, lonely, angry woman who hates men and wants to see society crash and burn.
So, you’re a woman who delights in always looking your best, but you’re afraid to call yourself a Slay Queen because you don’t want people to think you’re wayward.
You’re living and loving the single life but can’t call yourself a spinster because you’re not some unmarriageable old maid. Bachelorette it is.
You’re feeling particularly strong and powerful so you call yourself a King, because Queen just doesn’t convey how strong and powerful you feel.
You even try to empower yourself economically but jokes are already springing up about makeup artists and IG models. So maybe call yourself a technician or a vendor.
You believe that women deserve to be treated fairly and equally with men, but you don’t want to be called a feminist because you don’t want people to think you hate men and fight all the time.
Your choosing to drop the feminist tag is neither new nor singular. You’re simply part of a dance that has been going on for decades.
Misogyny touches a word that pertains to women and twists it into something ugly, so women dance away from the word to something new, something less feminine (eg humanist).It is a dance that will continue until women learn to own their labels.
Until then, many women will continue to tone down and whittle away aspects of themselves, trying to fit into society’s little box of what is acceptable and likeable.
If you are something, be it with pride, and don’t let anybody shame you or insist that you are something else. Be feminist. Be a slay queen. Be a girly-girl. Be a tomboy. Be a diva. Be a small girl with a big God.
Be unapologetically you, because in the famous words of Dr. Seuss, those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.