I have another one for you:
I am one flippin’ flabbergasted feminist, y’all.
I know, I know. The TIME Magazine annual poll on which word should be eliminated the following year is all in good fun (go to it here). It’s a way to say, “Gee, if I had a dime for every time I heard the word [insert word here] I’d be a billionaire!” So, I get it. I’m sick of hearing “sorry not sorry,” too. “Said no one ever” is high on the list of things that were recently overdone. The difference between those words (phrases, I guess) and the term “feminist,” which is currently winning this horrible poll with 49% of the vote, is that those are just fun, silly things to write on Instagram, or in the comments of your favorite blog, or on Facebook in response to eating too much pie (here’s an example: “I just ate too much pie” – said no one ever. #sorrynotsorry); “feminism” is, well, more meaningful. Love it or hate it, it has more meaning.
Feminist. I guess people are just sick of hearing it because it’s a buzzword. There are lots of people going back and forth on whether they are or are not feminists. There are lots of people saying we don’t need the term anymore. There are lots of other people saying, yes, yes we do. Unlike “sorry not sorry,” the term “feminist” has old and twisted roots. Look up “origin of the term ‘feminist'” and you’ll get 4,350,000 results on Google. Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists the first known use of the word in 1895. Here’s how the same dictionary defines the word: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” But, the dictionary definition of a word is rarely the only definition. We have cultural definitions, too, and they are many and varied for this particular “f” word. Does being a feminist mean hating men? Or having hairy legs? Or burning bras? Does it mean leaving your kids in daycare 40 hours a week while you earn the big bucks? Does it mean you’re just one thing? I have a hard time believing “said no one ever” has the same implications, or the same gravitas.
Can you be a feminist and be a stay-at-home mom? Yes. Can you be a feminist and be a Republican? I think so. Can you be a feminist and wear conservative clothes? Surely. Can you be a feminist and be a man? Yup. Here’s why: there’s more than one way to be a feminist. And just like with everything involving humans, nobody agrees on what exactly feminists should be doing. You know, the nitty-gritty details. Let’s try this game with other groups: do all Christians agree with each other 100% of the time, all the time? No? But the ones who see value in it pursue their faith in the best way they know how. Do all doctors agree with each other? Do all teachers? Are all Republicans alike? I trust that you see where I’m going with this.
Maybe we don’t know if we’re on Team Sandberg or Team Slaughter. Maybe we see the merits of both, or maybe we’re somewhere on the fringes, without much more than a whiff that something is amiss. But if we see value in women being treated fairly and with respect, especially in regards to their careers, their families, and their bodies, then I think we can consider ourselves feminists. I’ll shout that from the rooftops for the rest of my life. At a time when 49% percent of TIME readers think the word should be banned, I think it means the conversation (and the word!) is more relevant than ever.
I’m a feminist, and I think you should be, too. Maybe it’s annoying to say so. Sorry, not sorry.