Social Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

Is it necessary to use the feminist label to support gender equality?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5489points) December 5th, 2016

I’m asking this because I’ve discussed feminism before on other forums and Q&A sites. I’ve found that when I have mentioned that I don’t identify as a feminist, it is automatically assumed by some that I don’t support gender equality. Well I do support gender equality, very much so.

I just feel, so many people these days get so caught up with labels and such. That a lot of the time people identifying with a label don’t always promote what said label is supposed to be representing. I personally feel it is best to actually go out and speak out against gender discrimination and sexist behaviour. Rather than becoming obsessed with a label.

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11 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

From my view feminism is being overrated and misused these days. The original idea behind feminism was to make females equal to males, to earn them the same rights as males. Some people just don’t get it. They think of it as bringing females to the golden plate and earning them “priviledge”. So it’s not so surprising that you got labeled for not identifying with feminism. The “feminists” were just thinking of getting special treatment over men. This is not true feminism, just reverse racism going on.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

No, it’s not necessary. I was raised to assume gender equality was a given, not a binary choice where being on the other side was an option. But the use as a personal title has always seemed odd to me. Like declaring, “something you should know about me, I’m an an anti-racist.”

It was assumed that misogyny (and racism) were going away as the older generations disappeared.

Of course, now I know that was a pipe dream, and we can’t stop working for the better.

On the other hand, I also hate to hear women outright say “I am not a feminist” because the word has been claimed by the right as a pejorative.

They don’t mean “I don’t believe in equal opportunity” or “women must be submissive to men”. They do believe in feminism. But they’re afraid to be the cartoon feminist that conservatives sneer at.

Mariah's avatar

Well, you can say “I’m pink, have four legs, and oink, but I’m not a pig, because I object to that title,” but that doesn’t make it true. If you support the things that are part of the feminist platform then you are a feminist. Doesn’t mean you have to run around declaring it, but the difference is only semantics at this point.

zenvelo's avatar

No, you don’t have to use the label. You can just say, “I support gender equality.”

A lot of patriarchal anti-equality people (like Rush Limbaugh) tried to scare the mainstream women out of using it by saying feminists were all lesbians, at a time when most of middle-America was not open to LGBTQ equality.

Then the anti-equality people started using the term “femi-Nazi” as a way of saying feminists wanted to destroy men.

I have no problem saying I am a feminist, and if someone asks me why, I say I support equal rights.

But if someone asks you, “are you feminist?” then just answer, “I support gender equality.”

cinnamonk's avatar

I call myself a feminist because women are still oppressed.

The fact that I support equal rights for both genders needs no explanation, because I use the feminist label.

What have you done to support the equal rights of women in your country, where women still cannot obtain legal abortions, @NerdyKeith?

Sneki95's avatar

No. Fuck labels.
If people focused more on doing stuff rather than on how to describe themselves, we’d have a better place to live in.
You can call yourself however you want, it doesn’t matter; the important thing is what you do, not what you are.

canidmajor's avatar

@Mariah has it.
The pop culture attitude of “fuck labels” is waaaay too simplistic. The label “feminist” covers a multi-word (sentence) definition as is useful for economy of language.
@NerdyKeith, I think you would find this discussion of labels interesting, it is a comprehensive and intelligent (mostly) analysis of the word and its (mis)interpretation in popular culture.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Not at all.

I’m a humanist, if that’s the term. My view is that all people – women, men, black, white, brown, yellow,old,young – have rights and autonomy for themselves. Feminism, is usually defined, tends to push the rights of women to the exclusion of other groups and subgroups.

I’m not so sure about the ‘labels” argument above; that seems awfully simplistic.

Equality and autonomy for all – that’s the goal.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Not only is it unnecessary.

It’s impossible.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@AnonymousAccount8 I support the Appeal the 8th movement

cinnamonk's avatar

@NerdyKeith, that’s a good start.

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