My best friend and fellow feminist hates folk music. I’ve always said to her, “If you don’t like Ani DiFranco, you’re a bad feminist!” We joke about it, but as a feminist I sometimes find myself wondering if some of the things I do, think and like make me a bad feminist.
It seems like there are rules to being a feminist; you must be pro-choice, you shouldn’t wear too much makeup and you better not read glossy magazines. But these aren’t rules, they’re stereotypes. And the first thing you should know about feminism is that it’s an extremely diverse movement full of different people and conflicting ideas. For example, some feminists are vehemently against porn, while others strongly support it. Feminists, and the issues we’re passionate about, are extremely complex and diverse. You seriously can’t expect us to all be the same.
None the less, I regularly question whether certain thoughts that pop into my head or things that I enjoy are anti-feminist. I laugh at sexist jokes, judge women who dress slutty and do the majority of household chores even though I live with a perfectly capable man. Yikes… maybe I am a bad feminist!
So I did a quick search on Twitter to see if other women are worried about being bad feminists too. Turns out, it’s pretty damn common. Here are just a few examples of what I found.
It seems that questioning the legitimacy of our feminism is a common experience. But is this just an extension of the guilt that us women are so prone to feeling about everything? We feel bad about eating fast food, not exercising, not spending enough time with our kids and pretty much everything else.
I’ve decided that we need to stop worrying about being bad feminists. We’ve got enough shit to feel guilty about – let’s not let feminism make us feel that way too. As long as you’re openly calling yourself a feminist, you believe in equality and you support the empowerment of women, you’re fightin’ the good fight and you’re part of the team. If you laugh at a sexist joke, so what? Feminists have a sense of humour, and we’re smart enough to know the difference between a joke and something malicious.
As long as you’re not spewing shit like, “It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact” as Ann Coulture famously said, then you’re probably OK. Pat yourself on the back for being part of Team Feminism and quit feeling so damn guilty!