Rebecca West said, “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.”
We could go on forever debating the true definition of “feminist.” Even within the feminist community there are multiple types of feminisms and multiple definitions. Here are just a few:
- a supporter of feminism
- of or relating to or advocating equal rights for women
- someone who supports a political, cultural or economic movement aimed at establishing equal rights and legal protection for women. Feminism involves political, cultural and sociological theories, as well as philosophies concerned with issues of gender difference.
- a person who supports the equality of women with men; A member of a feminist political movement; One who believes in the social, political, and economical equality of the sexes; Relating to or in accordance with feminism
But regardless of the definition, my experience has been the same as that of Rebecca West so many years ago- when I stand up for my rights, point out discrepancies of treatment between men and women in a given situation, or refuse to use sexist language- I’m called a feminist.
Some people call me a feminist as if it’s an insult, or they sheepishly ask “are you…like…one of those…feminists?”
I am quick to assure all that I would label myself a feminist and that I don’t see it as an insult or anything to be ashamed of.
If being a feminist means I empower my sisters and friends to use their God-given talents, I’m okay with that. If being a feminist means that I help women discard the labels of “irrational” or “weak” that society places on them, I’m good with that. If being a feminist means that I help a woman set boundaries in her life and become a generous giver of self rather than a woman without a self to give, I’m proud of that. And if being a feminist means that I force people to think a little more critically about the views they hold and the language they use, I’m happy to say I am.
I’ve been labeled a feminist since I was in middle school, and I hope I always will be.
Tomorrow’s Women’s History Month Trivia. Who said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”