- Hole, ‘I Think That I Would Die.’
It’s not that I don’t want the movement to connect with people, so much as that I want people to connect with feminism for its ideas and insights – not because “OMGZ being a feminist is the coolest thing ever, and you should totally jump on board if you have a vagina.”
As Flavia Dzodan puts it: “I do not conceive feminism as the end in itself. To me, feminism is the vehicle I use for the journey, not the end point where my journey ends.”
Publications like Jezebel don’t take ownership over the “f-word” – despite the fact that feminism flows through the site’s veins – presumably because they are afraid it will put readers off. (And, more cynically, because not being a “feminist site” means you don’t have to answer to “feminist criticism.”) And I think there is a place for “feminism by stealth”: the kind that wins people over through its ideas, without naming itself or worrying about whether people adopt the label. I’ve engaged in plenty of it myself.
But feminism by stealth needs to exist alongside feminism that is named and owned. Fear of feminism isn’t just a fear of “man hating,” “hairy underarms,” and other clichés. It is a fear of being political. A fear that having strong opinions, is not sufficiently agreeable or feminine.
And that (surprise, surprise) is a form of sexism itself.
Related: Does a feminist by any other name smell as sweet?
Ask Rachel: Why do you write for women’s magazines?
Elsewhere: Debranding feminism (Feminist Times)
What does rebranding mean for feminism? (Branch)
Semantics regarding feminism vs feminist critique (Red Light Politics)
The many misguided reasons famous ladies say ‘I’m Not A Feminist’ (Jezebel)