Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Bad Feminism

Personally, I object to the label 'bad feminist'. I've noticed an increasing number of women in magazines and on the internet proclaiming themselves 'bad feminists' because they want a husband to take care of them, or a man to hold a door open for them, or they hate opening jars of jam etc etc. In my opinion, a feminist is someone who wants equality for the sexes, better treatment of and respect for women worldwide, and an end to gender-based violence and sexism. A feminist is not, necessarily, a person who has to take care of themselves the whole time, or to open every single jar of jam (my biceps can't take that, I really like jam).

Therefore, surely the concept of 'bad feminism' is redundant. As long as you believe in the aforementioned basics of feminism (which I expanded on in this post), it should not be anyone's place to criticise you for wanting to be supported and cared for and looked after, because that's pretty much a fundamental part of human nature.

It becomes clear, then, that there is still a barrier between feminism and the wider world. Many people find it hard to identify with feminism because they believe it to be for 'perfect' women who are militant in ensuring they need no help from men, in life or otherwise. This barrier needs to be broken down. No person should ever feel like they cannot be included in the 'feminist' category because they want things which the most extreme of feminists do no consider necessary. No woman is a 'bad feminist' because she has hairless legs, just as no woman is a 'perfect feminist' because she can plait her leg hair. 

'Bad feminism' is saying you're a feminist, but then saying the pay gap is a myth and women make terrible bosses anyway. 'Bad feminism' is tearing down other women for their body shape, their clothing, their appearance, their choices, their lifestyle or otherwise. 'Bad feminism' is parading as a feminist whilst attacking the movement from the inside, by actually disagreeing with its core concepts. 'Bad feminism' is not occasionally letting men do things for you or wanting to sit at home and bake all day (otherwise I really am the worst feminist around).

I believe it is time for women, and men, around the world to start declaring themselves to be the best damn feminists ever created, because there is no such thing as a 'perfect' feminist, and anyone who claims to be one is clearly just a little bit deluded. Perfection is impossible, whereas confidence and conviction in your own beliefs can take humanity to brilliant new extremes, extremes where people understand what feminism is, why it is necessary, and potentially to the extreme of gender equality. Anything is possible once the first barrier is breached.

**Disclaimer: none of this is meant to be an attack on Roxane Gay's new book 'Bad Feminist' because she is absolutely awesome and incredible and I love her**