In response to Kate Fridkis at Huffington Post – “Why I Don’t Call Myself a Feminist Anymore.”
According to Fridkis, the word “feminist” conjures up a lot of negative images. That I don’t disagree with. (A good way to test this theory is by telling your male boss that you’re a feminist). What I do disagree with is just about everything Ms. Fridkis asserts thereafter. I am a feminist who is offended by a lot of bad behavior – none of them include the shaving or not shaving of armpits, the wearing or not wearing of high heels, or calling god a “he” (as I believe that what we call “god” is both masculine and feminine and both aspects should be appreciated and honored). And, the founder of this here feminist site is an adherent to the regular mani/pedi.
But, the way that Ms. Fridkis dismisses feminism’s validity in this post-modern, “post-feminist” society is offensive. Yes, feminism has some baggage, and yes, it is a fractured movement. It has history. And, the requirement of the movement and the activists in it are always changing. To use feminism to gain a personal sense of freedom, then throw it out and attempt to negate its power and efficacy as a movement and in the lives of others is offensive. To truly be feminist, Ms. Fridkis should have continued the struggle and fought to change the negative connotations that she freely admits are associated with the word.
For most feminists being a feminist is not “an act of defiance” as it was for Kate; it is a self-identification that defines the ways in which they live their lives and informs the way that they struggle for equality along-side activists from every social justice movement be it gay rights or racial equality. It becomes a part of you that could no more easily be extracted than a healthy part of your body.
Feminism’s work is not done. 21.6 Million American Women have an eating disorder; 1.5 Million American Women will be the victim of domestic violence this year; 0.03% of the CEO’s of Fortune 500 company’s are women (that’s 15 of 500); Female members of the United States Military stop drinking water at 7 p.m. to reduce their chances of being raped. And, those are simply a few of the obvious problems HERE. Globally, the work that is to be done to improve the lives of women is limitless. The very least of their concerns is body hair or what to call god.
So, Ms. Fridkis, I don’t really mind if you don’t want to be a feminist, but please don’t continue to disseminate the fallacious message that feminism is dead and expendable. It invalidates the life-altering experiences of your sisters and the work that remains to be done here at home and globally.