Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

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“She lost all her innocence / She said ‘I am not a feminist.’”

- Hole, ‘I Think That I Would Die.’

I’ve never been overly concerned with whether people call themselves feministsI’m more interested in debranding feminism than I am in rebranding it.

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.”

But reading this post at Jezebel, and the accompanying, damning first comment (“I mean, Jezebel doesn’t say it’s feminist either. So.”) reminded me that words matter.

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)


  1. scifimagpie reblogged this from rachelhills
  2. mollfie reblogged this from rachelhills
  3. mona-elshimi reblogged this from rachelhills
  4. collapsiblechair reblogged this from rachelhills and added:
    Hell yes to this. I am a feminist, and if you don’t know what that means, look it up, friend.
  5. rlynnpierce reblogged this from rachelhills and added:
    Interesting take on the context of feminism.
  6. zacharykburton said: Feminism in itself is trying to change society from being overly critical of females by being overly critical of males wtf! We, as a sex have great qualities that we should acknowledge and capitilize on. Also weaknesses for which we need assistance.
  7. becauseweshouldallknowfreedom reblogged this from rachelhills