One of my biggest pet peeves is the societal polarization of the word “feminist.” Whenever I tell people that I am a feminist, I get reactions such as “do you hate all guys then?,” or “so you’re one of those women.” While I understand the history of feminism is complex and various waves of radical feminism were isolating, at the root of feminism is the idea that men and women are equal. So what exactly is wrong with that?
Human beings have an inalienable right and responsibility to preserve for ourselves and for others equality. If I am a feminist, it means that I believe that everyone is created on the same terms, and that gender, which Judith Lorber describes as a social construct, does not define whether or not we’re entitled to equality.
The fact alone that feminism is often considered negative is indicative of the gendered hierarchy of our world, and as a feminist I feel an obligation to combat gender inequality. Most people will not identify as feminists, but I do believe that everyone is responsible for protecting and pursuing equal rights for all. Feminism is simply a label for people who openly acknowledge that this responsibility includes gender too.
Lorber, Judith. Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology. Ed. Estelle Disch. 4. 2006.