I don’t consider myself to be a feminist. I understand what feminism is defined as, I know more on the subject than most would assume. I believe in global equality for all people, races, genders. I am socially progressive, yet I am not a feminist.
I refuse to use the title of feminist because of its connotations. Feminism has become a girls club, where women aren’t welcome if they have different political beliefs, or don’t succumb to the subjective ‘good woman’ mold. Conservatives, Republicans, and Traditionalists need not apply to believe in equality for all.
We were told we were not welcome when The Women’s March didn’t allow a pro-life group to participate. We were told we were not welcome when feminists attacked Antonia Okafor, a black woman, and Kimberly Corban, a rape survivor, who both promote women protecting themselves through the second amendment because they did not fit the agenda, despite wanting women to be able to protect themselves.
We were told we were not welcome when the gatekeepers of third-wave feminism refused us a seat at their table.
When feminism is more focused on writing about why the Trump women wear high heels than on the cases of female genital mutilation in Michigan, it is time to disavow and focus on what’s important. When feminism is focused on man-spreading and not on the untested rape kits sitting, waiting in police stations, how can anyone be a feminist, in the American sense? How has feminism become about pussy hats, or anything less than equality?
When women face acid attacks, the constant threats of rape and assault, reading Malala Yousafzai’s book and talking about how emotionally powerful it was doesn’t absolve the responsibility the title ‘feminist’ carries.
So, you so-called ‘feminists’, ask yourself this. While you refuse to wear tampons due to the ‘pink tax’, how are you assuring women in second and third world countries have access to menstrual products? While you don’t attend class on ‘International Day Without Women’, how are you assuring young women receive an education? While you preach on objectification and sexualization of women, how are you preventing young women from forced marriages?
Instead of performative ally-ship, what are you actually doing for women everywhere, and not just for yourself?
When feminism is for everyone, women of color, LGBTQ women, women with different beliefs, women abroad, Republican women, women born and unborn and is no longer an exclusive girls club but a movement for progress for all women, that is when I will be a feminist.
For now, call me what you will. I will continue to fight for the rights of all women, not just women like me. If you want to see real progress for women, tell the gatekeepers of feminism not to open the door, but to knock down the fence.