Why I don’t say that I’m a feminist
There are just as many suffragettes rejoicing from beyond the grave as there are ones who are turning. Being a feminist is in trend, and to an extent has become one of the many identifiable characteristics of a modern liberal mind.
So why is it that I don’t tell people that I’m a feminist? It’s for the same reason that I don’t admit that I own a 1960s soviet film camera. A camera that I love despite the lack of lenses that I could buy for it and it’s sub-par quality of the photos it takes.
Because it’s in.
(I can hear your eyes rolling)
Yes, I am one of “those who hates something because is popular” and for a good reason.
See I had my camera way before the hipster trend of analog photography but my camera isn’t some kind of yearning for nostalgia or the ‘good old days’. It’s a mechanical machine that I managed to put together with a lot (A LOT) of effort, time, and a lack of a user’s manual. It’s a sense of an achievement. It’s the camera that my dad used when he was young and lastly, there is something about its imperfection that connects to the very core of my being. But I can’t take it out with me because half the town’s youth are out there with their replicas, snapping away like the cool hipsters they are.
It’s a front. It’ s an icon. A symbol of “Look at me, I’m want to be cool”
Thus I’m afraid of the judgment from like-minded people, who look down on this generation’s shallow facade of nostalgia-driven trends. They consume meaningful, sentimental and functional objects and through popularity make them not only meaningless but also brandish them as symbols of their Hipster clan.
So speaking of trends — Feminism is in. There is even a word for advertising for women who seek empowerment “femvertising” You know something is trending if advertisers create a genre for it. And yes it is nostalgic too. There has always been an ongoing feminist agenda until the 90s and 00s cast it further in the shadows of “whiny girls who can’t take a joke” or “raging lesbians who want to dominate the world”
So when I, at an adolescent age, labeled myself as a feminist, the typical barrage of negative comments and exclusion ensued.
As an insecure oddball of a teen yearning for social acceptance, I was quick to drop the subject. However, I persisted in my “male majority” career interests, as ever changing as they were — from lawyer to surgeon to physicist to architect to automotive designer to filmmaker — I never stopped, even when the countless opinionated minds told me that it’s a “men’s industry — don’t do it. It won’t be easy for a girl”
Luckily I never saw myself as a “girl” (or at least their definition of one) but a person in pursuit of multiple dreams. I made sure there was no excuse that I could be any lesser than my male counterparts so no one could question my belonging to any industry of my choice.
Still, along the way, I learned NOT to call myself a feminist, but BE one instead.
Educating people when I witnessed them objectifying women; standing up for both my female and male friends in times of gender adversity, and most importantly upholding a standard of equality in any working place I found myself in, despite the threat of becoming even more unpopular and “uncool” than I already was.
I’d love to tell you that despite all my efforts nothing worked because it would make this story more exciting… but it did.
After a while you start to notice the changes in those around you — they started to think before they talked, even if it was purely not to offend me. Some have even admitted to asking themselves the following “Am I offering her help because I can afford to, or because I don’t think a woman could handle it?”
My techniques refined refined as time passed. I used to be sharp and defensive at first with my notorious phrase “Is it because I’m a woman that you think I can’t do this?” Over the years my softening my approach to “No thank you, but you should ask yourself whether you would’ve said the same thing to a man.”
Too many of the self-labelled feminist would not commit the same social sacrifice however small it is in fear of becoming uncool, or the one who spoils the fun, or the dreaded feminazi. So I applaud all who quietly stand up for the cause without expecting a round of applause, or likes, or retweets.
No suffragette stood up for women’s right because imprisonment was all the rage in their time. Some gave their lives for our freedom and equality.
Feminism should not be a trend, because all trends, sooner or later, come to an end. This isn’t a case where you can exchange you skinny jeans for next years full flare fashion. We can’t put our pink hats away when it stops trending on twitter, and go back to “you know some women just don’t get office banter.”
Everything I’ve babbled on about can really be summed up with the following quote from Jane Austen:
“What defines you isn’t what you say or think, but what you do”
I won’t call myself a feminist but I will never cease to promote the cause until there is equality. So to all men and women out there, I urge you, don’t call yourselves feminists — be feminists.