So many people often ask why I’m a feminist. It’s a question I’ve answered so many times (I Don’t Need Feminism andReasons Why We Need the Feminist Movement) before, so I’ll not get into that again.

However, the idea that I’m a feminist comes with “shame”. Like, you should be shamed for believing in equality. You should be shamed because you’re a feminist. Feminism is wrong. You are wrong. You’re a silly, little feminist nazi because you’re a feminist.

It’s not either or. I shave my legs and I don’t hate men. Simple. 

 

When I do get to explain why I’m a feminist and what I stand for, and how I fight for gender equality (and that, for me, it’s not just about women’s equality – it’s about supporting men’s rights and intersectional rights, too) a lot of people respond with, “Oh, so you’re a humanist.

Or:

“So, what you really mean to say is that you’re an egalitarian.”

No – that’s not what I mean to say at all. I do understand the definition of boththose words, and while I understand why many people – both male and female – choose to identify or label themselves with said words, I choose to label myself as a feminist.

And I absolutely cannot stand it when someone tries to dismiss my label. Or mentions someone, somewhere (about some woman “feminist nazi”, usually) describes how feminism is toxic.

Firstly, no, it’s not. Like I’ve said before, in any group – even your “humanist” group – you will find radicals. I do not associate with those people – and honestly, the only times I’ve seen anything linked to the idea that feminism is toxic usually created through some men’s group, reinforcing predominantly false stereotypes about feminists.

The sad thing is … some people actually believe this.

To be clear: I’m not doubting there are crazy man-hating radical feminists that believe women are superior to men.

I’ve just never encountered one. Not in real life, and so far not on in the internet. The only thing I’ve encountered is people – more often than not, men – telling me why feminism is wrong and toxic and how I shouldn’t be a feminist. More often than not, these so-called “humanists” spend more time trying to shame me than they do promoting what they say their label is about: gender equality. Or equality for everyone.

In their mind, I should be a humanist.

Or a different term, that someone else wants to label me because that makesthem feel more comfortable.

Secondly, the third wave of feminism deals with a lot of intersectionality topics – so a lot of feminists, like myself, fight for causes that aren’t gender-related (again, many of which I mentioned in my Reasons Why post). And, if you are a regular follower of my blog, you’ll know I don’t just say I support men’s rights (as well as other people’s rights), I actually do.

This is because, through feminism, women have achieved a lot in the way of equality.

However, sexism still exists and women are still the underprivileged sex, which is why I’m a feminist. I’m fighting, mainly, for my rights – for the rights of women. So other women are equal to men. I do this because I am a woman.That does not mean I don’t recognise the rights of men and the sexism thatthey face daily (About A BoyStuff Mum Never Told You and Do Women Take Everything?). It doesn’t mean I don’t fight for same-sex marriage (I Do) or for refugees seeking asylum (Go Back To Where You Came From and Truth, or Consequences?)

I fight for all of these issues, and more. I fight for Aboriginal people (Privilege)and African-Americans (All Lives Matter). I enjoy speaking out because I have white privilege (which is a thing and means I actually do have more privileges than others just because I was born white). I was born in Australia and I’m middle working class.

While some try to take my voice (She’s A Bitch and Dear Facebook) I always get to use it. People may dismiss me, insult me, or humiliate me, but because I live in Australia, it’s highly unlikely I’m going to be killed for having said opinion.

And I can see what some of you may be thinking: “So … you fight for equality? Doesn’t that make you more of a humanist?”

Like I said at the beginning, no.

There are several reasons why I call myself a feminist, which I will now list, so it’s clear for the next person who asks me, and then dismisses me, because I’m not fitting into their labelled conventions:

  1. Because so few people are willing to admit that women still face inequalities. If this can’t even be admitted, we need feminism.
  2. Because so many people are uncomfortable with me (and others) labelling themselves as feminists.
  3. Because if I say I’m a feminist, some people automatically assume I hate men, blame men for everything, and I can’t do anything other than cry about how men have ruined women’s lives. (Seriously … egos, much!?)
  4. Because feminism does actually fight for gender equality.
  5. The only way women can achieve said equality (because while men face sexism, too, women face it more and face a lot more discrimination as well) is by actively advocating for equality.
  6. It’s like the #Blacklivesmatter movement. Saying black lives matter doesn’t mean you hate white people, or think white people should die, or other lives matter less – it just means that in the US a #blacklivesmatter movement is soimportant because of the inherent racism that African-Americans are currently facing. After all, a twelve-year-old African-American boy was killed by a police officer just recently (said officer is receiving no charges) and a lot of white people are responding with, “Well, he shouldn’t have had a fake gun.” If we’re being realistic, if the child was white, no one would have called 911 and the child would still be alive. This is the same (or similar to) the feminist movement. I know men face sexism. But right now, I’m part of a group that faces sexism and serious discrimination. Being a feminist does not mean I think less of any other gender. It just means I’m fighting for gender equality(something some people just don’t understand no matter how much I say it).
  7. Because many of the people who say they are humanists and that feminism is wrong are not necessarily advocating for the rights of men. Often, it is done to silence women from speaking out. (Note: not all “humanists” behave this way, just like not all feminists are toxic and man-hating. See? Double standards.)
  8. Because some men, some members of the LGBTT community, and people of different races and colour like to be labelled as feminists, too. And while you may think that feminism can’t be “intersectional”, don’t you think that otherpeople get to decide how they want to be labelled?
  9. You can be a feminist and a something else ist (like a humanist). That is perfectly fine. It’s not either or – it’s simply how you wish to identify yourself.

Now, with my finishing point, I want to make something clear: this post is not about bashing people who label themselves as a humanist (or something else). I’m fine if you want to label yourself as a humanist, or an egalitarian, or something else – but the reality is, whether you like it or not, most humanists and feminists fight for the same rights.

We just choose different labels.

Whatever your label, whatever your reasoning, I’m genuinely okay with it – as long as we’re trying to work towards the same goal (which, for me, is equality).

However, as I don’t judge you for your label and how you choose to identify yourself, please don’t judge me or try to re-label me with a definition that youare more comfortable with.

Please don’t try and silence my legitimate cause to combat sexism, misogyny and discrimination against women (as well as others) because you are misinformed and have this misconception that feminism is toxic.

I’ve not spread a word of hate. I’m actively involved in fighting for equality. I certainly don’t hate men.

And I don’t deserve to be stereotyped.

Originally published on The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise.

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Published by Carla Louise