photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

I Hate the Word “Feminist”

I’ve been reading a boatload of crap lately, online. A lot of what I’m reading are women who claim to be “feminists” but yet, they’re the very people who are perpetuating gender inequality!

Take for example the multi-billion dollar cosmetic industries: Maybeline, Cover Girl, Max Factor. The majority of the people I see who claim to be staunch feminists are caked in heavy make-up, but yet they say that they want to be treated with the same respect as men. (And stuff.) If you really want to be treated like a man, or- at least be in the same ball park– ditch the heavy make-up. (Heavy is the key word here.) At least to a high degree- for starters. And, go au naturale in the shaving department. Yep. Believe me…you’ll be treated like a man!

And while we’re on the subject…using words like “feminist” is sexist.

It kind of defeats the whole purpose of “being treated equally”, doesn’t it? I mean, there’s no equal male counterpart for the word. At all. Masculist? Masculinist? Interesting.

So, as long as we continue favouring, preferring, and using strong words like “feminism”, especially in 2015- I don’t think we can expect to be treated anything differently than “just a woman”.

I can back my talk up, by the way. I neither shave my legs nor wear more than blush and sheer lipgloss. I may end up going “full commando” at some point (and by that I mean, ditching the lipgloss and blush altogether- but don’t count on it) but I feel it’s so minimal that it doesn’t hinder me at all in feeling “natural”.

While it seems like I’m slamming “feminists”, I’m really not. I just hate the word. I hate that we, as females, have to even use a word so that we can “feel equal”. I say we destroy the word altogether and be independent agents– representing our souls and spirits and inner beauty– not our genders. As long as we’re “pointing out that there’s an elephant in the room”- there’s going to be an elephant in the room.

My 2 cents.

Rant out- on to the midterms!

And on that note, here’s a self portrait- caked in heavy makeup for the camera. 🙂 Circa: 2007
BirgittaMJ

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16 responses

  1. I hear you, and understand what you mean. Hopefully someday we can indeed drop the word all together and just be human beings, but I think you also need to understand that as of right now it’s a necessary mean. The word exists due to the necessity there is of it, and I don’t think it can be dropped until that necessity is fulfilled.
    There’s a word, “Machismo”, which means and I quote: “A strong or exaggerated sense of traditional masculinity placing great value on physical courage, virility, domination of women, and aggressiveness.” I think that Feminism was born as a way to rebel to that, kind of like it’s opposite. And because of that there isn’t a “male version of the word”, because feminism is for both genders, it literally means gender equality.
    Regarding the make up, I think that a huge part of being a feminist is not to judge and give everyone the liberty of making their own choices. So if a woman chooses to wear a lot of make up (Maybe she has some kind of insecurity to work through, or just likes how she looks with it), that doesn’t mean she doesn’t believe that women deserve the same rights and to be treated equally to men.
    Personally, it depends on what mood I am. There are weeks were I go without shaving anything or wearing any make up, and there are other times where I feel I wanna do it so I do. The thing is to be able to do whatever you want. If you believe that in order to be treated as men you have to do or be a particular way, how is that different than believing that women have to fit into this mold in order to be considered proper women? The stereotyping might be different but it’s still stereotyping nonetheless.

    March 12, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    • First of all, I applaud you for writing exactly how you feel! People are so scared to speak up any more for fear somebody will judge them- etc. I’m a bit of a mouthy broad so I generally don’t have a problem in that area. 😉 I do agree with much of what you’ve said. I don’t agree with the actual word “feminist” meaning “gender equality” for BOTH genders though- or, perhaps that’s how the initial interpretation was supposed to be taken. Sadly, that’s just not what it represents any more. There are people like you who either straddle the fence- respectively- and have neither a love nor hate for the concept and what it means to today’s women (in general), and then there are the women who I was actually addressing: the staunch feminists who cry out for “equal rights” and literally want to be “treated like men” but continue perpetuating female enslavery by buying into the “I’m a sex kitten” persona. I’ve seen a lot of double-talking and hypocrisy in that area. I want to be clear that I’m a very strong woman and I stand up for other strong women BEING strong women too.

      But I do want to point out that every time a woman stands behind the shield of the WORD “feminist”- she is in a sense, placing blame on a man- somewhere- some man who at some point has either challenged her, or has taken away her rights. To adhere to the word “feminist” itself with such tunnel vision is to not acknowledge in any way that there are plenty of good men out there who have fought for women’s rights too. Machismo and “feminists” have no connection though. Machismo is- as defined- an “exaggerated” sense of traditional masculinity…” Feminists wouldn’t agree that their sense of femininity or women’s rights are exaggerated in any way. So, I don’t think the two words can be lumped together in the same boat at all.

      I was sort of joking about not shaving your legs if you want to be treated like a man. ;0) (I pepper most of what i say with a bit of sardonic humour. Not unlike a Brit.)

      What all of this boils down to, is that I support fully- what being a feminist “stands for”- to be treated equally and to have the same social and professional rights as men, etc. But I think we need to “rebrand” the word altogether. It was coined over 100 years ago when women truly didn’t have many rights- at all. And, it was actually coined by a man.

      It’s 2015. I think true empowering would be to coin a new word- not for women’s rights solely- but for HUMAN rights- altogether.

      All the best. :0)

      March 12, 2015 at 1:50 pm

  2. I know! Most of the time I post things about controversial issues and no one says anything. (Nevermind I’m relatively new at this blogging thing. lol)

    Thing is, monochromejunkie, that I don’t think it’s a matter of whether or not we agree, it’s a fact, that is the definition regardless. Now, I do agree completely with you about how a lot of women have been hiding behind that word and have completely change it’s perception throughout time. But that’s exactly it, it’s the perception what’s changed, not the true meaning. And think about it, even if the word ‘Feminism’ isn’t directly related meaning-wise to ‘machismo’, it still sounds alike. I do believe that it contributes to the growth of this idea that ‘feminists hate men’ etc., mainly because a lot of people don’t even bother looking up, much less researching, about it and just assume whatever they happen to know already, and best fit themselves and their life styles.

    I do find that the idea that women’s sexuality it has gain freedom now because we’re now able to express it more openly, it’s nothing but a mere illusion. I was talking about it with this girl who has a book coming out called “The Sex Myth”. First we felt like we had to be this virginal portraits of chastity and purity because men would only take as a wife someone who hadn’t been touched by anyone else, but now, we actually felt like being a virgin is this horrible thing and that we have to be seem as tigress or something like that in bed, because we need to keep our man satisfy in order to keep them. So you are right, we are still enslaved to comply with whatever idea of a perfect women men seem to have a particular period in time, which now happens to be that “I’m a sex kitten” persona you refer to.

    Now, with blaming men. I mean, you need to understand that originally it is their fault. lol Okay okay, hear me out. The fact that women started to rebel back in the 1820’s in the first place was because men were repressing them and all of that we already know. And from then on, the movement continued and solidified because the society in general is men-directed and driven, and we are trying to change that. Nowadays yes, there are good men everywhere! But there are still a lot who aren’t, and I’m sorry, but even the ones who are good have many sexists ideologies that need to be surpassed. The tricky thing is how do you address it and how you explain it to them and everyone. Because yes, once you think about it society might be men driven, but is composed of both men and women, and there are still a lot of women too who don’t believe in gender equality. They still believe that men and women have each a role to play in society and home for things to continue to function in the order they’re supposed to. And that is exactly why we need Feminism! I find amazing the fact that we even need to convince women about this. lol

    With the shaving thing, I wasn’t. x)

    And finally, yes, we do need to re-brand! But changing the word altogether isn’t the answer, because the meaning of the word isn’t the same. I think the key to achieve this is to dialogue and educate each other about this. Feminism has become this bad word because we we hear it we immediately think about men-hating women, and it’s because of the kind of women you described. Once we all understand and adjust our definition, I believe we can come to agree that it’s what we are all chasing after.

    March 12, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    • Well here’s to hoping that you stay as fresh and as outspoken (as the years go on in Bloggie-land) as you are now! The interwbebs has a way of jading people: but I say “cheers” to standing your ground and being able to defend what you believe in. Great to meet you, by the way. ;0) Call me Birgitta. x

      March 12, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      • Thanks a lot, I hope so too! Yeah, I’ve been down that road for sometime already, definitely not something I wanna go back to. lol
        Hi Birgitta, I’m Dennisse!
        It has been an awesome experience to have a debate with someone that cares enough to be informed, has a clear understanding on where they stand in the matter, and yet don’t disrespect others for to sharing the exact spot. Lately every time I try to talk to someone about things like this they just get upset or immediately try to dismiss the subject. It’s quite frustrating.

        Lovely to meet you! You have a new follower and fan on your blog!!

        March 12, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      • Like wise. 🙂 Hope you have a great afternoon, and it’s been a great pleasure debating the matter with you as well! Heheh…really though. We have to learn how to keep our emotions “in check” and deconstruct the matter- turning it and spinning it- searching out all of the various facets. If we think only “our truth” matters, then we’re holding a lump of coal when we could be admiring the diamond. I appreciate all of your views, and thanks for sharing them! Hope your day is a great one. x

        March 12, 2015 at 5:54 pm

  3. ‘And while we’re on the subject…using words like “feminist” is sexist.’

    i agree.

    March 13, 2015 at 12:01 am

  4. i so hear you
    I wonder if there is a term called ‘Post Feminism’
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postfeminism
    looks like there is…but i have not read it. G.

    March 13, 2015 at 12:07 am

    • My daughter and I were talking yesterday, and I clarified (to her) that the meaning of the words “feminist” and “feminism” don’t mean what the general consensus believes it means. Any feminist will tell you that the word means “equal rights for both genders”- but that’s not what the word means at all! (For starters, they more than likely learned that word from the media, or another feminist- and we both know how that goes…heheh.) The word actually means “advocating women’s rights so that it rivals that of their male counterparts.” There’s nothing about the word “feminist” that is FOR the man.

      I believe using words like “feminism” is so separatist- and even elitist- it’s not an advocacy to be freed from the oppression of “mankind”- I would support that- but it’s an advocacy to be freed from MEN. There’s a big difference. Men aren’t the enemy! Oppressive groups that play their role in separating one person from another ARE.

      For me, life is, “if you believe it, then it is so.” We’re already all equal: we all have equal opportunity to strive for anything we want! It’s not 1905 any more, when that term was coined. But again, this is what happens when one person teaches another- rather than him or her discovering their own truth (on their own).

      March 13, 2015 at 8:08 am

      • Very well said.

        March 13, 2015 at 10:07 am

  5. elmediat

    Word change meaning. Girls once meant young people and dogge (dog) meant a hound. As Wittgenstein put it – the meaning of a word is its use. It does not help when politics, social change and wealth generating capital get into the mix and a word can be co-opted to mean whatever the person who controls the message wants it to mean.

    Western society is full of social inequality – it can be broken down according to groups, racial, ethnic, cultural, class, age, gender and social orientation, disability challenges ( physical, neurological processing) and ones I missed and new ones waiting to be applied by those with wealth and power.

    To combat social inequality includes controlling the message – branding and the naming of terms. If you do not control the message you end up fighting over the terms rather than fighting the inequality,…………. and those in power much prefer to fight over terms because then nothing gets done. Climate change or global warming ? Oh, I left out environmental inequality.

    If you get rid of the word feminism because they muddied the waters of intended meaning, then you have to come up with a new term to replace it. The social inequality did not go away and action has to be taken to try and correct it. It would be nice to just go with social activist brand, but humans being a contrary lot can be socially progressive in one area and down right knuckles dragging on the ground when it comes to another area.

    The solution is to let all the correct minded blogging photographers be in charge and we would put everything in the proper focus & perspective. 😀

    Remember – plenty of fresh fruit and real deli sandwiches. 🙂

    March 16, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    • I don’t know…I think we DO need to be mindful of the terms we use; I don’t think that people who tend to focus on semantics, etc. don’t get as much done as you referenced. Think of the “N” word: how many wars could be started over just one word?! Words and their meanings are important. I want to point out that this great “inequality” of the sexes isn’t what it was in the early 1900’s. There are those who want to cling to a dead horse rather than seeing the great changes that have already been made toward equality of (for, and between) the sexes already. I will always hate the word feminist- even WITH deli sandwiches. 🙂

      I do agree with the bit about letting photographers rule the world and stuff…heheh.

      March 16, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      • elmediat

        Have you noticed how the correct race term keeps shifting – this is a huge American thing – coloured, black, Negro , African American, ….. . The Canadian novel “Book of Negroes”, In the United States, Australia and New Zealand, the novel was published under the title “Someone Knows My Name.”

        It has that title because “it derives from a historical document of the same name kept by British naval officers at the tail end of the American Revolutionary War” ( author – Lawrence Hill). ……… ” When I began touring with the novel in some of the major US cities, literary African-Americans kept approaching me and telling me it was a good thing indeed that the title had changed, because they would never have touched the book with its Canadian title. ”

        As an old guy, my parents grew up in the Dirty Thirties , I have lived long enough to see both the advances in social change and the erosion of some rights. The biggest problem is a complacency sets in for some as they achieve success within the system. They assume that since they made it on their hard work that the system is adequate or has come a long way. My mother told me of what it was like as a student, first generation Canadian of Eastern European descent. She failed grade 8 – if you had a ski on the end of your last name they held you back.

        When I became a secondary school teacher, I could see things were not that blatant as they were in my mother’s day a few things had changed from my high school days, but the treatment/expectations for some students because they were First Nations or Special Needs or low income could be subtly different and self-fulfilling. For me, teaching wasn’t a means to support the status quo – in the words of Neil Postman , Teaching as a Subversive Activity.

        Explore, Innovate , Communicate, ………………………… and hold the Mayo. 😀

        March 16, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      • I know! I remember growing up when the word “negro” was “politically correct. Damn, I’m old. 🙂

        I’m betting 2015 will see a world where African American will be “out” and colour will be distinguished by a digit or statistic on a greyscale chart. (i.e., “He or she is #3240- shade= mild sepia version 22- or some crazy crap.) Dirty Thirties, eh? My Mom told me only yesterday that she remember there not even being public restrooms for black people- at all, and the water fountains specified “white” and “colored”. I can’t believe how little we’ve evolved in less than a century. Or maybe I can. :-/

        March 16, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      • elmediat

        Back when I was a kid i remember taking a couple of trips to the States and saw my mom in action. We went to Buffalo N.Y. for some shopping with a neighbour. I remember being on the street and we needed some information about the Buffalo Zoo. My mom turned ans asked a lady walking past, ” Excuse me , would you know….” . The lady was about the same height as my mom, I think. A bit plumper and a bit younger than mom,… and black – she was at first startled and then over joyed. A white woman had addressed her as if she was a regular person and had politely asked for help. I never saw anyone so happy before, she practically danced. She didn’t have the information, but offered to take us home and get it .

        We politely declined and thanked her. She kept asking where we were from – well Canada. She could not get over it.

        A few years later we went to Connecticut to visit relatives. We got lost. As I remember it, we were in a lovely looking part of the city , beautiful old homes and large park with big tree. Mom said we need to ask for directions. Mom rolls down the car window and asks a young black man walking along the sidewalk if he knew the way to insert address.
        His response was even more remarkable to me.

        With tears in his eyes and a bit of a shaky voice responds with ” Sorry mam, I don’t know where it is, but I wish to God I did.” I remember us pulling away and he just kept staring at the back of the car.

        Keep in mind, at this time we had a neighbour, Mr. Smith. His Ukrainian accent was more pronounced than either of my parents. He had changed his name so that he could get a position of foreman at the steel factory. There were several neighbours who had “Angleeski “names – changed by parents or grandparents so they could blend in to Anglophone – Canada. It was a different world. 🙂

        March 16, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      • Wow, no doubt. My family comes from Texas; big time segregation going in the the dirty South! Even to this day, there are (KKK and race-related) lynchings- just because of differences in skin colours. (We still have such a long way to go…)

        March 16, 2015 at 10:08 pm

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