Closet Feminists

20 Nov

Recently I’ve become quite close to someone who I’ve started calling a closet feminist. He’s like a young pop star in that he spouts feminist ideals and then in the next breath shuns the F-word. He prefers the dinky ‘humanist’ and says that he doesn’t like the stereotype the label would reflect on him. Apparently he’s afraid that if he uses the word then people will think he’s a dumpy female elementary school teacher. Clearly I disagree. I think he could own the title and be an example of how the word doesn’t imply that stereotype. But I digress.

He doesn’t like the word feminist because apparently it isn’t inclusive enough. Or he doesn’t feel like he owes anyone anything because he doesn’t think being male has been an advantage in his life. Something like that. Digressing. Digressing.

…But what the word “feminist” does do is acknowledge the very long history of the women’s rights movement. I agree with what [Joss Whedon is] saying: It should just be assumed men and women are equally important and equally capable—but it’s not, and it hasn’t been for thousands of years. So, “feminism” and being a “feminist” is an acknowledgement of that history and the culture we’ve lived in for a long time. It’s a reaction to that, but for me, that’s an important acknowledgement to make.

JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT (via carolineeand)

Something I love about the word feminism is that it can encompass so much kyriarchy. It can be a catch all in acknowledging so much privilege.

Having privilege doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean you should feel guilty or that you owe anyone anything.

No, let me amend that, it means you owe the world a little bit of attention. Being a citizen of the world means you owe it consideration. You owe it to yourself and the people around you to be aware and sometimes grateful to those who have set you on your journey. It’s not a big debt, it doesn’t reflect poorly, I just think it’s a small thing we can all do.

One Response to “Closet Feminists”

  1. Keefe November 20, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    I think you bring up some great points about why it’s important to acknowledge feminism where it exists. Part of the problem some people have with the term is that they feel it carries an anti-male connotation that they don’t want to be associated with. The only way to fix that, though, is for more actual feminists to identify as such and serve as examples for what feminism should be. Shunning the word only reinforces the stereotype.

    I used to have a problem with the phrase “check your privilege,” because it seemed to me that it just makes people defensive, which prevents them from actually understanding the message. After some thought, I don’t think there’s really a better way to illustrate the point, and it’s okay if people get defensive about it. If everyone understood what privilege was, there would be no need to talk about it in the first place.

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