The F-Word: SheKnows contest challenges you to call it what it is

Jan 13, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Feminism. It's a word that we're seeing used more and more every day. From Twitter hashtags to front page headlines, you don't have to be a feminist to be talking about it. 

In fact, according to one oft-quoted poll from 2015, just 18 percent of Americans consider themselves to be feminists, even though 85 percent say they believe in "equality for women."

It would seem they'd be one and the same. Feminism, after all, is defined as "the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men," while the dictionary's description of a feminist is "a person who supports feminism."

So what makes some people define themselves as feminists and some steer a wide berth? What does it mean to support equality for women but not be a feminist? And what about the other 15 percent of Americans?

That's what SheKnows wants to know, and we've joined up with the Ms. Foundation to find out. Today we're launching the #TheFWord, a short-form video contest with one mission: to let people from all across North America share what they really think of feminism.

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“Feminism is a highly relevant yet polarizing topic, especially given hot-button issues like this year’s presidential election, pay equity, and gender equality in technology and media," explains Samantha Skey, chief marketing officer of SheKnows Media. "Through visual storytelling and landmark research, our hope is that #TheFWord will shine light on how women of various ages, demographics and political affiliation diverge, but also find common ground, in how they relate to the concept of feminism.” 

Those visual stories will go through a judging process — including a public vote — culminating with a special screening event on April 12, also known as Equal Pay Day in America. #TheFWord winner will also receive a prize package worth $5,000 from SheKnows Media, including $4,000 in cash, while their submission will help ignite a greater discussion of what feminism means to today's changing world.

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“#TheFWord is a unique project that will provide invaluable insight into how a diverse cross section of people identify with the concept of feminism,” said Teresa C. Younger, president and chief executive officer of the Ms. Foundation. Younger will head up a judges panel that includes Nashville star Connie Britton, civil rights activist Michael Skolnik, The Representation Project President Kristen Joiner and a long list of other esteemed panelists.

Judges Panel

  • Laura Benanti, Tony Award-winning Broadway and television actress (Gypsy, Nashville, and Supergirl)
  • Connie Britton, Emmy-nominated actress, with stand-out roles on series such as Nashville, American Horror Story and Friday Night Lights
  • Kristen Joiner, President of The Representation Project
  • Tonya Lewis Lee, producer, entrepreneur and writer
  • Alexandra Posen, artist and co-founder of Zac Posen
  • Franchesca Ramsey, writer, actress and video blogger best known for her Chescaleigh Comedy channel and host of MTV Decoded
  • Michael Skolnik, civil rights activist and former President of Russell Simmons’
  • Jamia Wilson, Executive Director at Women, Action and the Media
  • Teresa C. Younger, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Foundation

Submit your #TheFWord video by February 19 or email for more information.

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