Feminist. It’s no secret there’s a stigma surrounding the word, even since its earliest usage dating back to the 1800s, there has always been a negative connotation that comes along with it. That being said I’d like everyone to just do me a quick favor. Take a moment to locate the nearest phone, laptop or calendar and really quickly take a second to find the date…. okay perfect. So now that we are all on the same page and realizing that we are just a few short months from 2020 I’d also like everyone to WAKE THE HELL UP.
As someone who has identified as a feminist for many years now, I cannot even begin to explain how many times my values and identity as such has been questioned, doubted, or mocked simply because of how I am perceived. If I had $1 for each person that said “but you don’t look like one” or “you don’t even act like one” or “you aren’t suffering or anything why would you be one?” I could probably have enough money to tattoo the actual dictionary definition of a feminist onto each of their foreheads as a daily reminder that their personal definition couldn’t possibly be farther off.
For a long time I would excuse peoples actions for lack of education and brush it off as though it was not their fault, but rather that they just did not know any better. As time has gone on I find it harder and harder to excuse the misconceptions and stereotypes people have surrounding feminism when we live in a world with all of the knowledge to ever exist accessible at our fingertips at all times. Now I see people’s lack of information more as a privilege they should be aiming to recognize because millions of women have no choice but to fight for a feminist world while they are suffering the physical, verbal and emotional traumas of a world without it. If you are lucky enough to live a life unaffected by inequality or racism, then you simply have privilege and should make use of that.
People think that just because one does not fit the drastic stereotype of “man hater who doesn’t shave and dresses like a boy” or the other stereotype of “suffering woman forced into arranged marriage as a child” that they cannot be or should not be identifying as a feminist when in reality, all are equally as important. The whole point of feminism is to be intersectional, inclusive and evolving at all times, otherwise how can you be a feminist at all? I have found the importance of educating people of their privilege and misinformation when my identity is questioned rather than brushing it off or letting the intensity of my emotions get the best of me and push for those around me to do the same. The more people that proudly represent all types of feminism the more impact we can have on changing the stereotype and stigma of a feminist life from negatives to realities and only expand more as a community.