reclaiming the F word
I have always been “for women” and “pro equality” but have fervently shied away from identifying myself as a feminist.
To me feminism has always suggested women who are angry man haters; who believe that they are superior, leaving men inferior. A woman who degrades a man at any opportunity, and often publicly. A woman who is abrasive, harsh and completely and ironically unfeminine.
The word feminism left a bad taste in my mouth.
When I would tell people about my instagram account, or what I was blogging about, I would share my message for people to love themselves and accept who they are. But I would immediately follow with a long-winded monologue about how “I’m not one of those man haters, or women who can’t take a joke.” Which is totally at odds with my passionate position of self-love that I should be proud of rather than feel I have to defend.
In my life I have been drawn to those areas where I can support women, even in some small way. I have worked in a number of woman-centric fields. I did youth work, gave talks to groups of girls about self-esteem, and went to uni to train as a midwife. I have always had a passion for empowering and advocating for women. But I have unknowingly been living the life of a feminist and simultaneously being repelled and ashamed of that label.
I remember talking to my mum when I first started this journey to self-love that I’m on, telling her about the #effyourbeautystandards movement. Telling her that there is an uprising of women that believe they deserve to be seen as beautiful, sexy and desired even if they’re above a size 10. She likened it to women’s liberation in the 60’s. That idea really resonated with me.
But the oppressors of women are not only men these days: they are women, like me.
Women who have found the word itself derogatory.
When actually it’s about equality, about equal rights, not pushing one gender down to raise the other up.
So I’ve decided to reclaim the F word for myself. To be a proud, grounded, intelligent, warm, feminine, prissy, sassy, tender feminist.
I watched a video of Emma Watson addressing the UN for their ‘He for She’ campaign. Reminding us that feminism is not solely a women’s issue, it’s an equality issue, a human issue. It’s a poignant and powerful speech I’d encourage everyone to listen to. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-iFl4qhBsE
If you are like me and believe that men and women deserve equality in our societies, man or woman, I urge you to reclaim feminism for what it is.
A basic human right.