You are a feminist. I swear. If you have even been mildly interested in feminism, or skeptical enough of it to check it out, I’m sure you’ve already heard it argued that all feminism really means (by cold, hard definition) is the belief in social and economic equality between all sexes and genders. It may seem at a glance that there is more to being a feminist then just equality, but that’s just one of the many myths about feminism. Every sect of social justice comes back to the belief in equality.
For instance, body positivity is the belief that everyone has the right to feel good about themselves. And the fight against rape culture is the belief that everyone should be able to walk home in the evening without fear. Feminism means equality in wages, equality in opportunities, equality in respect. For anyone who might still be questioning whether they are a feminist, I have collected three points that you might not have yet heard from a feminist, like myself, who decided to abandon a long time ago my proclamation of “I’m not a feminist, BUT…” Hopefully, they will debunk a few myths about feminism.
1. You’re allowed to still like the same music, TV shows, and video games.
One of the myths about feminism is you can’t like what you like. So you have a guilty pleasure for early 2000’s rap music, or maybe you’ve spent hours at a time organizing and dying your avatar’s revealing armor sets in front of the virtual auction house in World of Warcraft. You know a lot of popular music and most video games have an evident history of objectifying women. Just because I, as a feminist, know there are way more naked girl butts in Game of Thrones then there are naked boy butts, doesn’t mean I’m not going to cozy up on the couch in my favorite Mrs. Jon Snow pajamas and binge watch the hell out of it every Sunday night.
Just because we, as feminists, call the mild (or not so mild) hints of misogyny out in pop culture doesn’t mean that we’re stripping you of your girl power badge because you appreciate a good blonde joke every now and then. I sure do, and I’m a bona fide (blonde) feminist. Indulge in your guilty pleasures. All feminists do, I promise–even the ones you find intimidating!
2. Feminism doesn’t come with a dress code. It’s actually quite the opposite!
I can’t stand those memes that portray all feminists as chubby, short haired, pierced college aged girls with hairy armpits (and I actually am a chubby, pierced, college aged girl with hairy armpits). It doesn’t take much to realize these stereotypes are crafted by the patriarchy to scare girls into thinking if they support feminism, they will also be categorized as the all mighty “unfuckable.”
This is one of the ultimate myths about feminism used to invalidate the message of feminism. As we are offering all women liberation, knowledge, and acceptance, society is whispering in your ear that we have cooties. I have never seen a gaggle of any one type of girl in the feminist community. Feminism at it’s core greatly promotes the idea of NO dress code; you can wear combat boots, 6 inch heels, or no shoes at all. You will never have your feminist views criticized by another feminist because you might like Hollister, or choose to shave your legs.
3. What’s right for all doesn’t have to be right for you.
You don’t have to personally embody all that feminism has to offer just because you are a feminist. Some of my peers have criticized me (not often, but it has happened) for legally marrying and taking my husband’s last name based on the (true) premise that it’s an age old tradition that promotes the idea that wives are owned by their husbands. I have my own reasons for marrying and changing my last name. I’m a sucker for monogamous romance, and my maiden name is Finger. YES, seriously. The thing is, as women, we should be supporting each other. Just because you feel that you personally would not consider an abortion doesn’t mean you can’t–or shouldn’t–support the right for all women to make that choice for themselves. When it doubt, always side with choice.
Now that some of the myths have been dispelled, it’s really your choice, whether you’re a girl, boy, neither or both, to decide if you identify as a feminist. It isn’t a matter of if the lifestyle is right for you, because it isn’t necessarily a lifestyle. It’s about recognizing what is right, and not shying in the face of criticism when your good fight ruffles some feathers. No matter what side of the fence you are on, I can absolutely assure you: feminism is right for you. You’re welcome.