When Miley Cyrus chooses to wear the label Feminist, it’s not only surprising considering she usually favors pasties and panties–it’s a tad disconcerting.
On the one hand, it’s thrilling when any woman waves the feminist flag without shame, but on the other hand, Miley Cyrus isn’t exactly the Joan of Arc most feminists are looking for. Sure, she’s not ashamed of her sexuality as no woman should be, but she also isn’t doing anything to make women who already consider feminists extreme any more inclined to think otherwise. Some women believe that whether she, or any woman, identifies as a feminist or not is irrelevant so long as they believe in what feminism stands for.
I disagree. It’s important for two reasons:
1. Identifying as a feminist is met with the same disgust as admitting you enjoy molesting little children or running over your neighbor’s noisy dog. Thanks to Rush Limbaugh, “Feminazi” is a thing and we all know there’s nothing like a Hitler association to scare people off. Now while those things are despicable (Hitler and Rush Limbaugh included); feminism is not. Women shouldn’t be afraid of calling themselves feminist, but they are.
2. Most women see feminists as a cult of angry, unshaven lesbians, whose favorite past time involves roasting men over a pyre of their collected bras not without first relieving these male sacrifices of their genitals–to be used as strap-ons during the post-pyre orgy.
Feminism clearly needs a rebranding. After three waves–the first in which we won the vote, the second where we influenced the Roe vs Wade decision, and the third where we’re not only presently fighting against the criminalization of pregnancy, mutilation, and rape, but we’re also questioning inequality and discrimination within our own movements–you’d think feminism would have a better rap and women would be climbing over each other to further the vagenda.
1. Feminists really, really hate men.
Nope, not true. While there are probably some who do–every group has its borderline extremists–most of us don’t. We may dislike certain established patriarchal paradigms, but we certainly don’t hate men. There are a lot of good ones out there like Tom Hiddleston and these guys.
2. Feminists are so negative. All they do is complain and promote a culture of victimization.
It’s great that you get to wake up in the morning and not have to worry that today is the day someone is going to take a machete to your vagina and circumcise you without anesthetic. I’m also happy that you don’t have to worry about being burned by your father for talking to your fiance before your wedding day or being forced into prostitution. The reality, however, is that most women are living in a culture of victimization. If those seem alien and foreign to you, then just take a look at this and this. It’s not about playing the victim. It’s about acknowledging that these abuses exist when they shouldn’t and doing whatever it takes to eradicate them–complaining ’til our voices run dry or otherwise.
3. Feminists look down on women who choose to leave their careers to be a housewife or a stay-at-home mom.
The operative word here is choice. Feminists love having choices. That’s why we’ve fought for longer maternity leaves, better benefits, and flexible work days. Whether you choose to be a working mom or a stay-at-home one, what feminists want to be sure of is that it was YOUR choice and it wasn’t forced upon you by someone else or because you had no other option.
4. Identifying as a feminist infers that equality isn’t a natural state.
Um, in case you hadn’t noticed–IT ISN’T. Scroll back up to #2 and reevaluate. Sure, it’d be fantastic if we lived in a utopia where all men looked and thought like Ryan Gosling and Tom Hiddleston and women could walk through a dark alley alone at night, but instead we live in a world where a 47-year-old teacher who rapes his 14-year-old student only serves a 30 day sentence. By the way, he was also a multiple offender and his 14-year-old victim took her own life. The sad truth is, is that while feminism has come far since women first kicked up their skirts and said enough is enough, we’re still not where we should be.
For all those reasons and more, it is important that women wear the “feminist” label with pride. Whether or not you think Miley Cyrus is the best thing to happen to feminism since free birth control, take the time to sift through all the myths that surround feminism and learn its real meaning.
Feminists are people who believe in equality. Feminists fight against prejudice, oppression, and abuse. A few wayward Christian or Muslim extremists don’t stop most members of those religious groups from identifying themselves proudly as Christians or Muslims and the same should apply here.
I, Michelle Linette Lim, am a proud feminist and I hope you will be too.