International Women’s Day: What is feminism?

It’s that time of the year again, where we celebrate our sisters all over the world and embrace the gal power. For all this day can totally be fun and empowering for women, it’s important to remember the serious stuff too, and what better day to give the feminist movement a huge shoutout! I’ve identified with feminism since I first learnt about it and, to be honest, I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t. The word ‘feminism’ seems to stir up a whole load of controversy, but all it truly is is a call for equality. Yes, it is focused more on women, which is because there is simply more work to do on behalf of women when it comes to equality. Having said that, a true feminist is all about equality for everyone; the battle does not stop at females. The hatred there is out there towards the feminist movement both angers and upsets me, as I know that this hatred comes solely from misinformation on what feminism really is.  So if you’re reading this and are already seething, please take a minute or so to read what a feminist is and isn’t, and at least consider that we might not be so bad after all.


What a feminist is:

  • About equality of all genders.
  • Inclusive of all women – whether you be black, white, Asian, cis, trans, gay, straight or anything in between, a true feminist will fight for your rights and work to understand the unique challenges different communities face.
  • Peaceful. Yes, were are passionate and yes, we stand up for what we believe in, and yes, sometimes we are angry, but only when it’s deserved. We aren’t ‘crazy’, we simply care about our cause.


What a feminist isn’t:

  • A man-hater.
  • Disincluding of men – we recognise and fight for men’s issues such as stigma around sexual violence.
  • A female supremacist.
  • Fuming because a man held a door open for her.
  • An ‘angry lesbian’. Ok, some of us are lesbians, and some of us are angry, but let’s take the negative connotations away from that phrase, please. It’s just all-round insulting.
  • Necessarily a women; anyone could and, in my opinion, should, be a feminist.


The amount of ridiculous stories floating around about what feminists are is unbelievable, but unfortunately as human beings, we are drawn to focus on the extremes. Remember this – every cause, community and religion has extremists, but extremists do not represent the majority. Yes, there are people who identify as ‘feminists’ who are in truth misandrists. Yes, there are ‘feminists’ out there who will quite frankly get pissed off at anything other than the real issues. Neither of these things is what feminism is about. Don’t tar everyone with the same brush; give us a chance. If people were to actually listen to the points a true feminist would make, rather than having made their mind up before the conversation begins, I honestly do think that views would change.


In short, if you are a person who believes in equality of all genders, you are a feminist. Congratulations!


If you would like to read more on this, check out my post from last year, ‘Why we need to stop arguing over why feminism is called feminism’.

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