We spoke to girls who don’t identify as feminists
‘Stop whining about everything’
When Beyonce is standing in front of twenty foot neon letters of the word “feminism” and it seems like everyone has embraced the power of the girl squad, girls who are reluctant to identify themselves as “feminists” seem harder to find. But they do exist – so we found some and asked them to explain why they distance themselves from the movement.
Gigi, 20, University of Maryland
“I don’t identify with what society has created the word “feminism” to mean. I believe a lot of people see it as special treatment for women and an excuse for them to act whatever way they want with no consequences. A girl can’t be a ‘feminist’ but then expect a guy to pay for everything and call him a pig if he doesn’t. Instead of making a whole movement and protesting women should work as hard as they can do achieve their goals and get good careers.
“It’s 2016 and it’s perfectly possible for women to get good careers. The problem with why women aren’t gaining equality is because a lot of them self-objectify themselves and still make their main objective to gain the approval of men. That’s whats holding us back as women, not just men. We have to show that we are strong ourselves.”
Ellie, age 17, college student in Nottingham
“I think modern day feminism is defined by silly things that are actually in our genetics and do make us different to being a male. I think lots of girls try to be too much like a man to support it but then still expect men to look after them, by opening doors, paying for dates, asking them to marry them, stuff like that. The movement is quite annoying to me at the moment as I think a lot of people who do it do it for the wrong reasons, like because it’s fashionable.
I also don’t believe in labelling things, or putting a label on who you are, so I guess this reflects my opinion on people constantly banging on about how they’re a feminist. I disagree mainly with how it’s a fashion trend, and not people’s genuine opinions. I also don’t agree with people who take it over the top by doing things like shaving their head, wearing male clothes and things like that, just to ‘be a feminist’. Like, fair enough, if you like to wear men’s clothes or have short hair or grow your armpit hair out – do it – but don’t just do it for a fashion trend or to be ‘edgy’ or to tell people you are something.”
Liat, 20, Cambridge
“I don’t identify with feminism because the movement it’s now become doesn’t represent my views. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be a woman and I do agree with a lot of what feminism has to say; I agree men and women should have equal rights, that violence against women is bad and all the other stuff they say that should be common fucking sense. I have in the past felt empowered by it. Unfortunately, much of this is now coupled with mindless male-bashing, female entitlement, over-labelling everything as rape (among other things), while at the same time dismissing very real issues faced by men, “because privilege”.
“I just can’t advocate a movement that supports these ridiculous notions. I know that there are many facets of feminism and ‘not every feminist is like that’. I’m all for breaking stereotypes, so why not act like a strong independent woman and stop whining about everything?”
Riska, 18, Born in Indonesia and attending University of Kent
“Yes, feminism at its core is about equality and not hating men, but after seeing what people who identify as feminists do, I think they’ve moved far past what their original intention should be. I believe that there are still people who want to highlight the important gender inequalities in certain, less privileged parts of the world. Feminism on its own is also problematic because the feminists can’t be on the same page about what they want to achieve, some women saying ‘real feminists don’t hate men’ and them saying ‘real feminists hate men’.
“A lot of feminists still dwell on the problems they no longer suffer from too, like a real wage gap or discrimination in parliament and academia. British and American people have actual Equality laws to protect them from being paid less than male co-workers for doing the same job! And men in parliament and professors that are hated for not representing women work their asses off to get to their position. It just doesn’t make sense to substitute men who are credible enough to hold their position with women, just for equal representation.
“It seems like they’re not fighting for issues which actually matter, and instead they’re doing things like “slut-walks”. What do these women and men actually do to help end rape culture by marching naked on the street? There are so many other women’s issues that they could address, such as the rising number of child marriages in Jordan and abortion being illegal and considered as punishable act in the Philippines. This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in gender equality, I do – it’s just so hard to see people who have achieved equality focusing on wanting more less important rights, while ignoring women in other countries who still face prejudice based on their gender as a part of their daily life.”
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