This is a brief irreverent post for anyone out there who has ever said anything like, ‘I’m not a feminist but…’ or ‘Equality, yes; feminism, no!’ (saw that one on a forum, read it in my head in a whiny, pouty voice). Here are a few pointers that may help you work out whether or not you are a feminist.
Basically, if you believe that people should be treated equally, and judged on their character, actions and abilities rather than their sex, then you are a feminist. I realise that’s a bit simplistic, so here are some example scenarios that can cause confusion.
Q. I shave my head, wear dungarees, and hate all men. Am I a feminist?
A. No. You are someone who shaves their head, wears dungarees and hates men.
Q. Ok, how about if I shave my head, wear dungarees, and believe in sex equality?
A. Yes, you are a feminist who shaves their head and wears dungarees.
Q. I wear make-up, high heels, and pretty dresses. I can’t possibly be a feminist, can I?
A. Do you wear make-up, high heels, and pretty dresses because someone forced you to?
Q. No, I wear them because I like them. So am I a feminist or not?
A. Do you believe that women are inherently inferior to men?
Q. Of course I don’t! I believe in equal pay, equal rights, and all that. So am I a feminist?
A. Yes, you are a feminist who wears make-up, high heels, and pretty dresses.
Q. I march around in jack boots and PVC hot-pants, force my husband to stay at home, wear dresses and answer to the name of Hilda, while I go out to work for an all-female government committed to subjugating men for all eternity. Am I a feminist?
A. No, you are living in an episode of ‘The Worm That Turned’ by The Two Ronnies. This scenario is the bizarre fantasy/nightmare vision of what the unenlightened 1970s thought would happen if feminism was allowed to exist. Chill out and have a Pa’s Bar.
If, however, you and your partner both consent to and enjoy acting out this scenario in the privacy of your own home, that is your prerogative. And if you both believe in sex equality, then you are indeed feminists.
So, in a nutshell, feminism is about sex equality; no more, no less. All kinds of people are feminists; most have additional views which may be good or bad, and which are largely irrelevant to whether or not they are a feminist.
Hope this helps to clear things up.