Feminists need not apply

I have to admit during the last week I could find no inspiration for a new post. Nothing sparked my imagination but today something sparked my ire. So the wonderful fan-tabulous QEDcon are hosting this year’s Skeptic Awards in which skeptics of the world can vote for their favourite podcasters, blogs etc.

As I have written about in the past I have not always identified as a feminist. However as I worked through a Masters, which led me to read a lot of scholarly works about feminist theory, and by talked to more people about it my understanding and acceptance of the term has grown. It has also become clear to me that a lot of people fundamentally misunderstand what feminism is.

One tweet started me on this train of thought:

Needless to say I was embroiled in a good few tweets back and forth. His arguments and train of thought felt very familiar – just where I was a few short months ago, but like a great man once said “When my information changes I change my mind. What do you do?” At the time I insisted on saying I was egalitarian, which I still am of course, but that the word feminist did not apply. As with a lot of people this was due to me disliking the use of the word feminism instead of its meaning. Feminism is, by classic definition, a movement that strives for the economic, social and political equality of the genders. Thus the argument follows that it is inherently egalitarian as in an equal society some people cannot (and should not) be “more equal than others.” Feminism, if it is ever fully born out, would ensure equality between all the sexes (male, female, transgendered etc).

Just because some people have misused the term themselves to promote an anti-man agenda or such an agenda has been prescribed to feminists does not invalidate the use of the term feminist. Just as the skeptical community has not handed over the term Skeptic to the climate change deniers, why should some miscommunication allow the word feminism to be so demonised? It stands for decades and decades of campaigning, suffrage, literary thought and critical, rational debate. So along with many others in the skeptical, atheist and rational thinking community I have chosen to take this word back. Just as people judge me if I call myself a goth, a gamer, a nerd or a skeptic if they judge me for calling myself a feminist so be it. They can live in a world of pigeon holes with no shades of grey but they need not drag me into it.

And on that note a plug for the glorious resource that is UK She Talks website. If you’re a woman with an inclination towards rational communication sign up and get some women talking.

Feminists need not apply

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