I have been blogging every day this month and I thought post exams I’d have all of the time in the world to create brilliant and aesthetically pleasing posts. I… was wrong. Despite still adoring getting my fingers tip-tapping on the keyboard once a day, I am excited to go back to my three-post-a-week unwritten routine I’ve got myself into so I can publish posts without a slight cringe. When I woke up unsure about what to write about today, I thought about that thing I like to talk about pretty often on here: Feminism. I’ve recently had a lot of thoughts, brilliant conversations and researched about the sometimes seen to be controversial, sometimes very celebrated morpheme, “fem” in “feminism.”
Most of us feminists encourage everyone – any gender, any age, any class: everyone – to call themselves a feminist. I promote the feminism so many others and I believe: equality for everyone. The idea that this movement looks out, cares for and supports everyone. A very interested friend asked me, “But why, FEM-inism?” He wasn’t being malicious; he wasn’t angry; he wasn’t anything but interested, wanting to enhance his understanding. And as much as I would love everyone to come together under the label, “feminist”, it doesn’t have to be that way. All we really need is a mutual understanding; labels are by no means everything; sometimes they are limiting- sometimes harmful.
So I said to my friend, while men have by no means had or have it easy, historically – and to this day – women have been dealt a really rough hand. As have transgender people; those who don’t identify. A terrible, terrible hand. So while the world is not directly represented by the word “fem” (men; many transgender people; those who don’t identify), it naturally has stuck from a time when women started to realise – or better, started to voice – the inequality they were facing. And in comes the word, “equalist.”
I have read many convincing (and by no means wrong) arguments that the term “feminism” isn’t needed. Equalism entails everyone – not matter “what” – should be equal. But all in the same token: these two concepts are the same thing. And for this reason, I do support the movement and manifesto attached to “feminism.” Maisie Williams distances herself from feminism and instead suggests everyone who isn’t a feminist, is “sexist.” Emma Watson, one of my feminist heroes, promotes and talks brilliantly about feminism but says that you don’t have to call yourself a feminist, but understand if you believe in its qualities, we are standing together- label or no label.
Feminism is definitely not black and white; with such a difficult past, how could it be clear cut? The “fem” in “feminism” exists because the patriarchy has seen and still does see women as the lesser gender. And I more than accept – I scream it at the top of my lungs that – the patriarchy has limited and terrified men; been more than not accepting of the LBGQT+ community (these groups’ problems are absolutely not “lesser” than womens’); been less than kind to everyone. The patriarchy is a bully. And we are supposed to stand up to bullies, right?
I think peoples’ questions about the make up of the word feminism are more than valid. I do wonder, though, if we spent less time investigating the word (and I’m an English graduate- I adore investigating words), we could get more done. I like Masie Williams’s concept. If you are not one with feminism’s and equalism’s beautifully open guidelines, then you are sexist. It’s an unforgiving statement, but when you think about it, it really is true. More than anything, I do support that if we keep asking questions and keep having equality as a centre to many conversations, things could get a little brighter.
~ Kat ~
P.S. These were thoughts that just spilled out. I think I have a lot more to say on the subject of the morpheme “fem.” It’s an interesting one; one I like hearing different theories, thoughts and questions about. What do you think?