Some time ago I was told to write about the stigmatisation of feminism. It has taken me a while because I'm lazy, but also because I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to spend ages writing about how feminism is stigmatised because that's exactly what they want. It's a ploy to distract us from our movement. It works as discrediting us and also adds more to our workload, as we have to fight the stigma as well as for equality. Anyway, I solved this internal conflict by writing about feminism, which I hope inspires people to identify with the cause, before giving everyday examples of my encounters with the stigmatisation of feminism.
In my humble opinion, feminism is a fight for equality - simple. But apparently it's not that simple. The conception of feminism and the behaviour of feminists seem to be more relevant than the movement itself. Anti-feminist media focuses on "stigmatising [feminists] as opposed to voicing the characteristics of the movement" (words from my cousin). These silly people, who either benefit from the perpetuation of misogyny or don't understand that feminism simply fights for the realisation of gender equality, stigmatise feminism in an attempt to cripple our movement; I will not give into that. I will talk about feminism and recruit as many people as I can, because I don't dare give the anti-feminists the satisfaction of letting our movement diminish cos of their FAKE NEWS.
FEMINISM is no dirty word. The movement is about female empowerment, nothing more radical, nothing less revolutionary. The very word, 'feminism', emphasises women by highlighting which gender needs to be recognised in the fight for equality! As you can see, there is no mention of men. Feminism isn't man hating, nor is it advocating for the superiority of women over men (unlike how our current society advocates for the superiority of men over women), feminism is simply "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities". With this in mind, we can even appreciate the fact that feminism can also be liberating to men, for example by defeating gender stereotypes.
There is a popular argument that feminism is bad because it has led to more women being unhappy, but is that not the point? In school when I realised I was being treated unfairly by my matron, I got upset and that called me to action, which resulted in me getting the fair treatment I deserved. What we learn is a trigger to us trying to change our realities, so my logic goes as follows: sure, more women are unhappy but that is because more women are realising that they deserve better, and feminism is our call to action, the means by which we hope to achieve the fair treatment we deserve. So i think it's okay that more women are upset or angry,
Although feminism advocates for the equality of women, it is not a gated community of women doing radical things here and there. We should all be feminists isn't just a slogan on a t-shirt or a quote from an author, it is a fact. Every single one of us should believe in equality for all, and every one that does is inherently a feminist! As Bridget Graf put it "I don’t believe every woman should be a feminist; I believe every person should be. Feminism is not anti-man; it is pro-equality."
The most important part of my research is usually google, but this time everyday life has informed me so well about the stigmatisation of the feminist movement that I'm just gonna ignore the numerous the journal, news and blog articles that I found, and focus on my own experiences.
1) Like the man that accused feminists of having an inferiority complex, this 'Man Up' recruitment video from 'Solasta Finance' (which is apparently a fictional firm from the BBC, confusing I know) is an example of the condescending manner in which some people/organisations look at feminism.
Here's a tweet that reiterates the stupid narrative that, as a woman, being a feminist makes you undesirable to men. Newsflash!: if you don't believe in equality, then you, my friend, are the undesirable. This tweet is yet another example of people disregarding feminism by passing it off as women causing trouble in their marital homes. Based on who you follow, that might be the bulk of what you see, but the same way that I took what I learned in assembly and built my knowledge on feminism, grow up, be an adult, learn and find out also! As opposed to criticising people for the way they choose to interact with feminism, why not actually do something for the cause yourself? The tweet was brought to my attention as I was stalking a friend of mine on the gram. Here is her response, which I loved:
3) In Fike's post we see feminism being stigmatised yet again, not only by the men who tweeted @ her, but also by her mother. Oh our mothers... I told you guys how my mother is so concerned about me because I am a feminist. She has explicitly asked me to stop this 'radical feminist nonsense', I don't know what exactly is radical about a pink feminist blog with a bra on the logo, but it deeply bothers her. I asked her why and she replied saying, "all these feminists that will be burning bra and all that, I don't like it". Firstly, I need to find out more about this bra burning thing, because I honestly thought it was just a metaphor, like I have literally never ever in my 20 years on this planet ever seeeen or heeaard of a bra bonfire. Once I research environmentally sound ways to burn bras I will host one, so take this as your invitation to BRAg's Bra Bonfire (coming one day)... Ok back to topic, umm... secondly, why do she and so many others, associate feminism with bra burning?? If it isn't violence, it's girls whining or girls being too liberal with their bodies, or, THE WORST OF ALL, girls wanting to be on trend.
The Feminism Trend
I had never thought of feminism as a trend, until I was at dinner with a lovely lady companion who was complaining about Dior. She asked "what has Dior ever really done for feminism? Apart from print $170 t-shirts?" and went on to say "Dior, you're literally pulling your little chiffon skirt down and shitting on the movement that is feminism" #micdrop
The message I get from this popular line of thought is that feminism is being treated as a trend. Brands are exploiting on the movement and using it as a marketing strategy, 'everyone wants to be a feminist now cos it's in, so let's print articles of clothing that mean people can ostentatiously identify as feminists.' But to me, this is just awareness. I don't see this jumper, Dior's campaign or my FEMINISM is the new BLACK t-shirt and think 'oh that feminist trend' (even though that is essentially the message of my t-shirt lol), I see it as a display of the fact that I am a proud feminist, and you should be too. I think it is really fun that we get to incorporate our social movement into clothing! Identifying as a feminist isn't an attempt to be trendy, dead that stigma and KILL that narrative, thanks!
Of course I fully understand where they are coming from, because treating feminism like the new off-shoulder depreciates from the actual social movement but at the same time this whole debate regarding the commercialisation of feminism also steers away from the actual topic... so let's get back on topic:
Feminism is synonymous with equality, and that is just that!