Feminism is about equal rights for everybody, regardless of biological or identified gender. Feminism is also about insisting that every human being is worth more than the genitalia they happened to be born with, and ensuring that our genitalia no longer determines our treatment in society. Men, women, and non-binary people benefit from feminism. Yet, simply the word “feminist” will send some people packing.

While it’d be nice to think the modern hesitation towards feminism is merely a phase of the millennial generation… perhaps we’re afraid to identify as anything, let alone something that may seem extreme. But really, feminism has been avoided by people for as long as it’s been around. Feminists are easily branded as radical man haters. We’re seen as “too aggressive”,  “too liberal” or even just downright “too crazy”.

“Feminist nazi”, “crazy bitch”, or my personal favorite “feminist killjoy” have become just a few of the popular terms used to describe the strong women who believe everyone deserves equal rights, regardless of gender or gender identity. I myself have been called my fair share of names, and I take each one with pride. But, while I’ve learned to turn a blind eye to those who try and shame me, it wasn’t always easy for me to look past people’s apparent disdain of the word “feminist”.

Enjoying lunch with a group of friends one day, a group I was still new to and getting to know, one of the guys in the group turned to me and said “You’re like a huge feminist, aren’t you?” I couldn’t stop myself from just mumbling out “Yeah, but like, not what you usually think of, I’m not like super crazy or anything. I dunno, I guess you could say that.”

What?!? When did I become afraid to say that I wholeheartedly support equal rights for everyone???  My new friend simply shook his head and gave me a simple “that’s cool” before returning to his food. But in that moment I sat there to think: When did I become ashamed of being a feminist? When did my belief that as a woman I am just as capable… just as strong… just as equal as any man become an embarrassment?

While that moment may seem insignificant, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on it. The women I have looked up to my entire life, the ones who taught me the absolute power and strength of women, would be devastated by that one little utterance. Since that one little instance, I’ve reinvigorated my pride in feminism.

Your feminism is NEVER anything to be ashamed of. Despite the recent trend of anti-feminism, you should be proud that despite the hate, you fight and support equal rights for everyone regardless of their gender.  

To those of you who support equal rights for everyone, but are afraid to be labeled a feminist, please feel free to share why. But, in refusing to accept the name of “feminist” despite sharing the beliefs, you risk undermining the power of our movement. Feminism gets its strength from those who are proud to announce their support and beliefs.

If you’re ever with someone whose idea of feminism is “man-hating”, either prove to them that feminism is the exact opposite, spreading the love of women, or send them out the door. This world would be nothing without the grace of women, and you should be damn proud to support that.

Dare to Use The F-Word: Feminist