Should there be a “fem” in Feminist?

This is a piece I wrote on my Tumblr last year, but I still think it’s relevant, so I thought I would post it here, where I keep the majority of my writing lately:

I just read this piece from huffington post that has quotes from various female celebrities that all have one thing in common: they state that they are not feminists essentially because they don’t want to be associated with the word “feminist”.

I have always called myself a feminist, because I want people to understand that I will call out inequality if I see it, and the way I view the world tends to be a little cynical, I’ll admit that.

I call myself a feminist because I want people who know me to know that I am not a radical person who hates men, so I can be over here like, “Hey, see how reasonable I am? Did I mention I’m a feminist?”

In Caitlin Moran‘s book, How to Be a Woman(great book by the way) she states that,

“We need the only word we have ever had to describe “making the world equal for men and women. Women’s reluctance to use it sends out a really bad signal. […] But then, I do understand why women started to reject the word “feminism”. It ended up being invoked in so many bafflingly innappropriate contexts that—if you weren’t actually aware of the core aims of feminism and were trying to work it out simply from the surrounding conversation—you’d presume it was some spectacular unappealing combination of misandry, misery, and hypocrisy, which stood for ugly clothes, constant anger, and, let’s face it, no fucking” (76-77).

So there you have it. However, having had some conversations with others about the label “feminist”, I have found that (as quoted by a few in the huffington post article) it is perhaps more accurate to identify oneself as “humanist” if they are indeed in favor for equal treatment of all people, because the ‘fem’ in ‘feminist’ seems too exclusive.

Side note: the word “humanism” has its own connotations.

Then again, throwing away the word feminism is not only throwing away the negative connotations of the word, it is also throwing away the connotations of the very important history behind the word.

Please reply, I am interested in what you think. (‘you’ being whomever is reading this)


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