Saturday, 18 April 2015

What's Wrong With Identifying As a Feminist?


How are you, my lovely blogging pals? I’ve got another post about Feminism for you, today’s topic is the taboo that surrounds feminists and identifying as one. It’s a topic that I find myself faced with almost every day with my year at school. I do find myself getting worked up about this because it’s so clear cut in my mind but I understand that it’s a confusing topic for others.

So you’ve all probably heard the definitions of a feminist before? If not, I’ll break it down for you, a feminist is someone who believes in gender equality. That’s not “women are better than men”, that’s misandry. It doesn’t just work on issues for women (though it is believed to by some including Wikipedia apparently), feminism is supposed to cater for the whole gender spectrum, men, women, non-binary, everyone is included! So if you want the short answer, then anyone who believes in gender equality is a feminist, no question or exceptions – let’s move on. However for some (okay a lot of people) they can’t just accept this and this is where it gets difficult.

From what I’ve gathered, the problem lies in the “fem” part of the word. To some it implies that feminism only cares about women’s issues (incorrect!). I’ve had someone in my year approach me asking why feminism isn’t just called “equalism”. To be quite honest, I wasn’t entirely sure to start with. I just asked the person why they care so much about the name, not the beliefs and how they can make a change. However I’ve since learned a lot about this from figuring it out in my own head, my fabulous friend, Becca and the good ol’ internet.

The first wave of feminism was focused on getting voting, marriage and property rights for women so it would have been called feminism for that reason. It has since evolved to fight for equal rights for all genders but it’s still the same movement. It’s not as if feminism is an organisation, who would be able to make that decision to change the name? Feminism caters for all genders nowadays but the truth is that the majority of the actions taken to achieve equality are ones that bring women up to the same standing as men.

   What really annoys me about why men won’t identify as feminists is how their excuse is that “no man wants to be a feminist because it’s like the word female”. This is implying that it is bad to be feminine, that they are afraid of being demasculinised. In my mind this is seriously messed up and is simple proof that feminism is sorely needed in today’s society. If a women dresses in a masculine way it is praised as a fashion choice, much of the runways today show off masculine silhouettes etc, however if a man dresses in a feminine way it is written off as weak. These attitudes are why, despite how it may appear, women are still viewed as being the lesser gender. Why is it an insult to throw like a girl? Society is making people have the internalised view that it is bad to be female.

I found this point on the internet (I can’t find the source) and I think it’s so interesting: If it really was called equalism, it may involve bringing women up and men down to reach an equilibrium, rather than just bringing women up to the standard of men.

Another reason why some are reluctant is due to the misconception that feminists “hate men”. This is not feminism, this is misandry. There’s a difference between hating the patriarchy and hating men. The patriarchy is the social system in which men are dominant and hold all the power. The patriarchy is not the male gender but both men and women end up being influenced by it in the form of internalised misogyny.

    What really matters, the name or the message that it spreads? Some people need to get over the name and start focusing on the real issues that need to be tackled.

I hope this cleared a few things up! What do you think about this whole issue?

Picture credits: @cabomba_conversation & @feminism_and_sprinkles on Instagram

Have a wonderful week!
Hattie xo


  1. I think, as a woman who doesn't identify as a feminist, my reasoning for that has nothing to do with the fem part of the word, or internalised misogyny or anything like that. In fact any time I hear the words "internalised misogyny" I think of feminism and I take it as an insult. Like oh you feel this way because it's internal, you've been brought up to think and feel this way, like no.. I have my own options and thoughts and it's nothing to do with any sort of influence on me. I know that's not really your argument but the phrase itself irks me greatly.

    Honestly, no I don't think you must call yourself a feminist if you wish to believe in equal rights for men and woman. I think many people assume this is because of possible bad connotations and stuff but that's not true. I don't identify as a feminist, although I support their views and ideals, because I don't see them as a movement I want to be a part of. The feminist campaign has done some good, I won't argue with that, but I don't think a few hashtags and blog posts an YouTube videos are really going to change the problems that we stand against. If we want greater pay etc we must fight for it properly, and I don't see the feminist movement doing that. (Feel free to point it out to me if you feel there is examples of this)

    Most importantly, there are thousands of people out there, sadly the loudest and most outspoken of them, who call themselves feminists and yet anyone who listens can tell straight away that they're not. I got an email, after publish a post about my reasoning for not identifying as a feminist, and it was from a femininazi. "Dear I don't care who you are because you are a cunt from hell"

    I agree with you that the name doesn't matter but why then are we wasting our time telling people they should identify as a feminist? I know I'm going on and on here but I'm constantly being shouted at by my feminsist friends for not saying I'm a feminist and I feel like this is the kind of the same thing.

    I know the causes and issues that feminism wants to tackle are important- of course they are! But feminism has been trending for years now and for every little step forward it takes two gigantic steps back.

    People don't identify as feminists for hundreds of reasons, mine is not because I disagree with the ideals, but many of the people who represent them.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting! I completely get your point and to be honest, since publishing this post I have seen that feminism is extremely flawed as it is. I probably wouldn't write this post now as I'm not so sure that the movement is united as I previously thought it was. I'll still identify as a feminist but I agree that sometimes this battle to get people to join the movement is sometimes a bit of a waste of effort, when we could actually be trying to make a difference. In other words, in the past 7 months I've changed my view on this, from experience on social media, but I'm still trying to figure out the whole thing! I would still encourage people to identify if they feel it fits them but there are far more important things to focus on than forcing someone to wear a label they don't feel comfortable with.
      Again, thank you so much for commenting, you've made me realise how my view on this has shifted so much since April!
      Hattie xo


Thanks so much for commenting! Expect a reply soon!