Feminist: A Dirty Word?

In short, no. Well, it shouldn’t be.

To be a feminist means that you advocate that all humans have the right to direct their own life. With that, comes an awareness that for women, and for some males (of colour or alternative lifestyles) this has not always been the case (and in a lot of places, still isn’t).

To be a feminist means that you care about others with an awareness of how the political and social structures in society can sometimes (often) erode the rights of ‘minorities’ or anyone that doesn’t fit the status quo or toe the party line.

To be a feminist means that you will advocate for the rights of yourself and others, giving permission for all people to make the choices that best fit their quests in life, free from judgement and/or persecution.

To be a feminist means that you are aware that being alive is sometimes hard for others because of ignorance and stupidity, and you will try to create a safer and more equitable world.

Some will argue that I have really oversimplified what being a feminist is. But I will disagree.

Feminism started with the suffragettes who fought for women to have the right to vote, equal to men, because women are just as smart and just as capable as men. It then evolved into criticism and looking at the power structures within society as they are reflected in social artefacts. But at its core, feminism is simply the striving or belief in a society where all voices are heard equally and all people have the right to choose their paths.

To be a feminist is not to hate men, nor is it to judge others for choices that are different to yours. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t wear a bra or shave your arms and/or legs. To be a feminist has nothing to do with the way that those who are intimidated by strong women  or alternative lifestyles depict them.

Feminism is not a dirty word. And I cannot believe how far Australian society has moved to demonise the word as well as to demonise women who speak out. And when I hear young women saying that they don’t believe in feminism, I shudder.

To move to a time when I cannot exercise my right to think, to speak, to feel, to choose, ohhhhh, kills my soul. Many women before me fought hard and sacrificed much for me to be able to have an opinion, to be educated, to be free. I honour them every day by living my life my way.

Before we demonise feminism and feminists, we need to think of the alternative society that would exist if we could not make our own choices and speak our mind.

Do we really want that.




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