Sunday 30 May 2021

Why do so many Women refuse to call themselves Feminists?


While researching for this article, I learned that less than 1 out of 5 women like to call themselves ‘feminists' in the USA. I have often seen my closest friends and acquaintances shy away from calling themselves a feminist. When I ask them if they support the equality of men and women, they reply in the affirmative but they do not want to be labeled as feminists.

The Cambridge dictionary meaning of ‘feminism’ is the belief that women should be allowed the same rightspower, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way.

Then why do so many women refuse to call themselves feminists? The nagging question in my mind made me find out all the probable reasons why most women support equality and yet stay away from the term ‘feminism’. Let’s take a look at all the reasons:

1.     Wrong or Inadequate knowledge


Some women believe that feminism is all about hating men. Wrong or inadequate knowledge is one of the reasons women refuse to call themselves feminists. They think that feminism is only restricted to women which is not the case. Feminism is not against men. It is against inequality and against patriarchy. Every woman should read about the movement called ‘feminism’ and educate herself before taking a decision.


2.     ‘Feminism’ is confused with ‘Feminazi’


Feminism is about the equality of men and women. Feminazi is about the superiority of women. A feminazi can be violent towards men. They blame men for everything and also blame women who disagree with their ideals. Feminism has nothing to do with Feminazi. Often women get confused and think ‘feminazi’ to be ‘feminism’ and therefore, they do not want to call themselves feminists.


3.     Internalizing patriarchy


Some women have internalized patriarchy so deeply that the concept of equality of men and women seems ridiculous to them. Simone de Beauvoir in her book ‘TheSecond Sex’ explained it beautifully why sometimes women trade freedom for security and are comfortable being the second sex.


4.     Competitiveness among women


The first rule of feminism is women should help and empower other women. Simone de Beauvoir has talked about the importance of gender loyalty in order to dismantle patriarchy. Some women simply cannot tolerate the success of other women. There is so much jealousy and competitiveness. They would rather celebrate the success of a man than someone who belongs to the same gender. 


5.     Feminist is often confused with ‘careerist’


Many women feel that in order to be feminists, they have to be career women. They think that stay-at-home mothers and homemakers cannot be feminists. This is not true at all. Feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights. Anyone supporting that belief is a feminist. It is not limited to working women.


6.     Stereotypes associated with ‘Feminist’


Sadly, feminists are labeled with a lot of stereotypes by the patriarchal society. Feminists are often thought of as spinsters, men-hating women, lesbians, women lacking femininity, women not wearing makeup and shaving legs and so much more. These stereotypes often repel many women from calling themselves, feminists.

So, these are the reasons why so many women refuse to call themselves feminists. I hope awareness of these reasons helps women change their minds and make them embrace the term ‘feminist’ without any shame or guilt. 

"This post is part of Blogchatter's CauseAChatter"