Here is a typical snippet of a conversation that I am often engaged in.
Person (could be male or female): “So, what, are you like some sort of feminist or something?”
Person: “Oh… really?”
Why is this so hard to believe? Seriously? Why are feminist and feminism dirty words?
Regardless of whatever TERRIFYING FEMINIST imagery you have in your head, let me explain to you what feminism means to me.
1. Feminism is a part of my identity, not everything about me. I am also Scottish, female, a daughter, a Bob Dylan fan, a sister, a student, a girlfriend, a researcher, a Dog Person, a liberal, a vegetarian, and someone who can lick her own elbow.
2. Feminism means different things to different people. I recognise and respect that there are lots of sub-branches of feminism but I won’t go into them here – I don’t have enough in-depth knowledge on the subject and won’t claim to. The point is, we are not a homogenous group. Not all feminists are the same, just as not all men are the same, not all women are the same, not all liberals are the same, not all tories are the same, not all cat owners are the same.
3. For me, feminism is the strong belief that women should have equal opportunities and rights to men. (FYI, this does not mean that I believe teh menz and teh womenz are EXACTLY THE SAME. If you think that fighting for equal rights means fighting for recognition that males and females are the same, you’re getting it wrong.)
4. I feel very strongly that women should not be treated differently solely on the basis of their ownership of a vagina.
5. **Breaking news** I don’t hate men. Believe it or not, this is not a fundamental rule of feminism. I like men. I love some men. I dislike some men. I dislike some women. I love some women.
6.As shocking as it may seem, males can identify as feminists too, based on my definition stated in #3.
I am a feminist. I am not ashamed of it, and I’m not going to apologise for it.