This article was originally posted in The Rival DC: GW’s Alternative Source for Alternative News.
Feminism has been a hot button issue lately. From everyone freaking out when Shailene Woodley told Time magazine that she wasn’t a feminist to Beyonce’s latest album being praised as a feminist work of art, feminism is actually pretty cool now. Do you not want everyone to hate you? Then read this handy dandy guide and you won’t turn into Shailene Woodley and receive angry hate mail from feminists.
What exactly is feminism?
Let me answer this by explaining what feminism isn’t. It’s not a forum for man-hating and if you want to be a feminist, you don’t have to stop shaving your pits and throw out all your bras and make-up. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie famously said in Beyonce’s “Flawless” (from this awesome Ted Talk), a feminist is simply “a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” That seems like a pretty simple definition. So why doesn’t everyone identify as feminists? Feminism is one of the most misunderstood words in the dictionary. There are a lot of negative stereotypes that have turned the word into a dirty one. But seriously, if Beyonce identifies as a feminist, than it should be illegal to not identify as one.
Do we really need feminism today?
You might think that feminism was a fight for the 70s. It’s true that the feminists of the 70s did a lot for the feminism movement, but their fight isn’t done. Although the world is not nearly as patriarchal as it was in the 60s, working women still make only 73 cents to the dollar that men make in similar careers. And the numbers for women of color are even worse: African-American women make 64% of what white men make and Hispanic women make just 54%.
Can I be girly and still be a feminist?
Ummm duhhh. Ever heard of girl power? Despite the stereotype, you don’t have to fit a certain mold to be a feminist. One of my favorite magazines is Bust. Despite the title – it is not a porno mag – it’s an awesome ‘zine for feminist women. It encourages women to embrace their femininity while still refusing to take shit from any man.
Can guys be feminists?
Anyone can be a feminist! As I said before, you don’t have to look and act a certain way to be a feminist. Every straight feminist woman dreams of meeting a man wearing a “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt at a knock-off Lilith Fair concert. Feminist guys are sexy. Did you hear that, guys? Say you’re a feminist and you’ll have girls fighting over you.
Why do some celebrities suck at understanding feminism?
Ah, Shailene Woodley. Why you gotta do this to us? We all loved “Divergent” and “The Fault in Our Stars.” We want to like you and forget about your “Secret Life of an American Teenager” days. Feminism simply asks for equality. But alas, she still refuses to identify as one. Thank god for Beyonce though. She knows what’s up. #bowdown