HomeOpinionUnderstanding Feminism: A Skeptic’s Guide

Understanding Feminism: A Skeptic’s Guide

So, because I’m protecting my reputation as wannabe social crusader for this issue, let’s talk about feminism.

You guys, I have heard too often the following phrase: “I’m not a feminist, but…(insert something socially observant and usually very smart here).”

What do y’all even think feminism is?

I understand that groups like Femen, a radical feminist group which claims to fight misogyny and homophobia but really just has its members traipse about topless and desecrate religious symbols, make us seem a lot worse than we really are. I know my penchant for being kind of a brat would make the whole concept a bit daunting. But really, guys. What I want you to realize is that feminism is one of the most accepting and accessible groups out there.

Usually, when I ask a CHS student what they think of feminism, they’ll respond with something like “loud,” “aggressive” or “b*tchy.” While I’m not going to throw any of those more assertive ladies under the bus (because goodness knows that I can be very, very forceful when the spirit moves me, which is a lot of the time), I’m just going to tell you this: You can be a feminist if you shave your legs. You can be a feminist if you like pink. You can be a feminist if you don’t identify as a woman. You can be a feminist regardless of your background, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or body type.

To be a feminist, you simply have to maintain the belief that people of all genders are equal and deserve a level playing field in terms of opportunity. When you think feminism, think Frida Kahlo, think Daniel Radcliffe, think Ms. Grummon.

It’s easy today, when people like Victor Sviatsky (note: he is the owner of Femen and is not only a total misogynist who calls women “fundamentally weak,” but also makes women audition for his “feminist” club and picks the most conventionally beautiful ones to stage nude/basically nude rallies in the name of “liberation”) exist and claim to be feminists, to lump true feminism in with radical feminism (which is a serious misnomer because when I think of radical feminists, my brain pictures cool women on trick bikes and surfboards and it’s also the ‘90s and maybe they’re wearing sunglasses, not a bunch of older, white women who think that our trans friends aren’t “actual females,” which is frustrating to me).

It’s easier to say that you’re in favor of equal rights than to say that you identify with a group that has had a bad name since it was named. But I challenge you to challenge simplicity. I challenge you to look at people who don’t call themselves feminists and ask them why, and I challenge you to mess with the stereotype as much as you mess with the patriarchy. Now get out there and be a strong, beautiful human.

-Elizabeth Harrison

Latest comments

  • Response to “Understanding Feminism: A Skeptic’s Guide

    I really think that your article was really informative. Even those who don’t know anything about feminism can really understand exactly what it is and what they say they’re “against”. Yes, there are the strange nudist groups, but feminism really is about equal opportunity for both genders. Really great and powerful article.

  • Dear Editor,
    Re: “Understanding Feminism: A Skeptics Guide,” October 3.
    As I searched through all of the articles, I was surprised to see such a bold topic on a student newspaper’s website. Elizabeth Harrison’s article argues that feminism has more to do with equality than power and that the deception of feminists is quite different than who they truly are. Harrison addresses two types of feminists: those who hold braless rallies and loudly express their hatred towards men and those who believe in gender equality. True, these feminist stereotypes do exist, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of feminists belong in the second category. I strongly agree that more equality articles should be published, especially in school newspapers. As adults in training, we should be exposed to the more hard hitting topics. I hope that there are more opinion pieces of world issues in the future on this website. Especially with this “Common Core” movement hitting the schools, students should practice developing their own opinions and respectfully regarding others’.

    Carmel, C.A.

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