We should all be feminists. Along with that statement, I’d like to define feminism quickly. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, it is defined as the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes or, organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests. Knowing the definition of what feminism is intended to be, I think we, as a society, have failed Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton; they’d be rolling in their graves if they could see what feminism has evolved into.
Women like Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer are considered the champions of modern, third wave feminism. Society views them as ‘path pavers’ and ‘ceiling shatterers’. However, I disagree. As a Jewish woman, Lena Dunham has no role speaking for me after she published an essay titled ‘Dog or Jewish Boyfriend- A Quiz’, in which she compares the behavior of her (noted, as in the title) Jewish boyfriend to an animal. These comments included statements such as, ‘He doesn’t tip’, ‘he never brings his wallet anywhere’ and ‘he has hair all over his body, like most males who share his background.’ Not only is that disgusting in it’s own right, it’s extremely anti-Semitic and offensive to the entirety of the Jewish race. Why celebrate a woman who said she wishes she had had an abortion? Why hail this woman as some sort of feminist messiah?
Amy Schumer falls in the same boat, if not a worse one, with many of her tweets and comments. For example, in 2013 she asked Twitter if ‘half black face’ was acceptable. However, Schumer’s racism didn’t stop there. In 2009, she tweeted this quote: ‘Which part of that South African chick crossed the finish line first? Her d*ck or her adam’s apple?’ During one of her first stand up specials she said, “Take, for example, a bit where she says, ‘I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual!’ No matter how you attempt to rationalize this ‘joke’, it’s racist and awful. It’s not a smart critique of rape culture. It’s a white woman who claims to be a feminist blithely saying that all Latino men are rapists. This is not humor, nor is it feminism. This is sophomoric and shameful racism hiding under the title of humor and feminism… Why do we allow a racist, vulgar woman who thanked her dad for not molesting her on Father’s Day to be a champion of a movement that is supposed to be about equality?
We need to celebrate the actual breakers of glass ceilings and reclaim the title and label of feminist, as women like Dunham and Schumer have deeply tarnished the word. We should celebrate Kellyanne Conway, the first woman ever to run a successful presidential campaign. We should celebrate Tammy Duckworth, the Senator Elect in Illinois who was the first Senator ever born in Thailand, who lost her legs and damaged her right arm in combat with the U.S. Army. We should celebrate Kimberly Corban, a sexual assault survivor who advocates for women to protect themselves using firearms and stood up to Obama, defending the 2nd Amendment on CNN. Feminism shouldn’t be about wearing your Nasty Woman t-shirt, making racist jokes, or degrading men; it should be about lifting yourself up and creating something for young women to aspire to. It’s time to reclaim that, one strong woman at a time, and start a positive, productive fourth wave.