On being a Modern Feminist

7 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

This week I've been thinking about being a modern feminist; obviously I'm not first or second wave, but I'm really not third wave so where does that leave me? As far as I know there hasn't been any academic discussion of a fourth wave so I'll go with modern feminist, which I'm stealing fromCaitlin Moran. I don't know much about her, but from an article I read in Stylist, How to Be a Modern Feminist, I like her.

I completely agree with her on Lady Gaga, fashion and bitching.  Have you ever seen Gloria Steinem up close and personal? I have and she is stunning; immaculately stylish with long, manicured nails.  Does that make her less of a feminist? Does that change the amazing writing she's done or devalue her activist activities? No.  You can be a feminist and get manicures. Hell you can be a feminist and wear short pink dresses and heels; I personally prefer flip-flops for most occasions but I just bought a pair of amazing Steve Madden nude wedges today.

I think for me a large part of being a modern feminist is tackling the image the general public has of feminists. The de-feminization of feminists is clearly part of the backlash and tackling that is one of the much needed steps to turn the "F-word" into a title young women and girls want to claim.  I think many women are hesitant to claim their feminist identity because they are worried of what people will think of them.

I went out to happy hour in DC one night in my "This is What a Feminist Looks Like" fitted t-shirt and I had some guy come up to me and say "So do you shave your armpits?" Much to my friend's dismay I rolled up my shirt and said "Yes I do, you want to see my legs, too?"  I'm not sure where this "hairy-legged women's liber" stereotype has come from but if we aren't eschewing hair removal then we are butch lesbians. 

Feminists can be pretty. Feminists can wear pink. We can wear dresses and hell, even ribbons in our hair if we so choose. Feminists can come in every shape, colour, size, style, age and sexuality. Do some feminists not shave their legs? Probably. Are some feminists lesbians? Yes. Note the wordsome. Vast generalizations do not do any movement good and the sooner we cast off these generalizations clearly put upon us to scare off women who like being feminine the better it will be.

I hate when I hear women say they aren't feminists. (So what are they then? Masochists?) Maybe it's just me, but I think a lot of them are just afraid of the label. This feminist is proud to wear the label and I'll do so while wearing a pale pink dress and fabulous wedges.

You can read more posts like this on my weekly Feminist Friday Link Up.

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