The Dirty 'F' Word

“Let’s talk about feminism...” Cringe. Eye-roll. Evacuate the premises.

Why has ‘feminist’ become the new filthy ‘F’ word? Why do women not want to be called feminists? When did it become so shameful to be associated with the movement?

I was shocked that so many of my girlfriends feel this way. When I asked them why they were so opposed to the word, their responses were varied but all came back to the same basic answer: FEMINISM DOESN’T MEAN FEMINISM ANYMORE!

Now obviously, I call "Bullshit!” to this, but it would appear that in today’s society, the definition of the word “feminism” has become so warped and skewed that women actually refuse to be associated with an ideal that in actuality strives to achieve the equality of all people. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Some people assume that because “feminism” has the word “feminine” in it, that it must be a rally to promote women’s superiority to men, and therefore many people believe it is synonymous with man-hating. And why would people who believe in equality want to be associated with something that implies they hate their boyfriend, husband, father, brother etc? But, how does a movement for women become so misunderstood and to such an extent that it is still all about men?


Feminism is like ‘veganism’; it comes with a shit load of stereotypes attached to it. Apparently feminists don’t shave, they don’t wear pink and they all hate men. Apparently vegans have dreadlocks, smoke dope, and hate meat eaters. I shave nearly everywhere on my body except my eyebrows, I love pink and I love a lot of men. I am a feminist. I don’t have dreadlocks, I prefer martinis and I used to love my steak blue. I am a vegan. Since when have people become so scared of activism? Since when has it become un-cool to stand up for what you believe in? Many people think that feminism has lost its meaning because of massive double-standards; others suggest that activism, whilst doing wonderful things to create the more equal society we have today, has gone too far.

Some people suggest changing the name from “feminism” to “equalism” (seeing as that’s what it really means...?) which would be fine, except that seems to suggest that anything that is female-led is negative, and it disregards the persistence of the feminists who have fought so hard to get us to the point we are at now. Why can’t people recognise the strength and pride in the word “feminine” rather than wince at it? Why is it so awful to be pro-woman, to be on your own side?

Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams said in an interview with Entertainment Today recently that “we should stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminists ‘sexist’. You are either a normal person or a sexist.” This makes total sense right? I mean, you’re a person or a racist, right? You’re a person or a bully. The only problem is, I am proud to be labelled as someone who stands up for her rights, defends the rights of others and supports her sisters. I AM PROUD TO BE CALLED A FEMINIST BECAUSE I AM PROUD TO STAND UP FOR ALL PEOPLE. IN FACT, ‘FEMINISM’ IS MY NEW FAVOURITE ‘F’ WORD. 


Article by Sophie Mansergh