Live Through This

This Is How It Feels to Be Free

Feminism can be a prison if it’s all about the anger.

Illustration by Marjainez

When I was younger, maybe 10 or 12 or 15, I used to say I hated men. I probably did. My feminism was born from anger—at them and at a world in which they seemed too powerful and too happy to take advantage of other people’s powerlessness. Second in line for my feminist wrath was women who seemingly made it harder on other women by giving in to men, using their looks and sex appeal to gain a piece of that power.

As I got older, I continued to judge women for being “complicit.” I judged them according to my definition of what being a woman with a full life meant. I judged moms who were “just” homemakers. I judged women who married young. I judged girls I knew who didn’t have any hobbies and just hung around watching boys play video games. I thought that since feminism had bum-rushed the patriarchy, every woman should be striving and fighting and aspiring, and to be a radical feminist meant you had to be at the frontlines of protest, doing clinic defense and giving your male friends a public browbeating if they made a remark that you thought was less than PC. I used feminism as a yardstick to constantly measure whether everyone else was right or wrong. And most of the time, they were wrong.

To me, the one true way to be a feminist was to always be fighting. In some ways I still believe that, though mainly I believe that feminism is an act of resisting a world that tells me women are shit (as are children, the poor, anyone who isn’t white and American, etc.). But the thing about fighting and having an ideology that is rooted in anger is that it’s incredibly exhausting. You constantly feel vulnerable, forever poised for a defensive attack. Being that person isn’t very fun, and it’s not particularly pleasant to be around.

About eight years ago, after I had been on a bell hooks tear—I had read almost all of her old books—I caught up to her new ones. She had just released The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love. There was a line towards the end of the introduction where she wrote about subconsciously waiting for men to die in order to feel like women could live a free life. The line took my breath away. I just started sobbing. I had spent so much time and energy reinforcing this idea in my head that men were my enemy, and it had made me so bitter and mistrusting of them and any woman that I felt was “on their side.” I had so much pain wrapped up in my politics. I knew I couldn’t continue like this any longer.

The rest of the book was a real awakening. I came to realize that for my feminism to sustain me, it needed to be based in love. I had to love men and accept that feminism was not just about liberating women from oppressive roles, but also liberating men and boys from their confines, from a society that tells them not to feel and to be straight and tough and have money and big dicks and to never complain. I also needed to love women and understand that everyone has their struggles, and even if I can’t see them, I needed to appreciate them. And just because you aren’t out busting through glass ceilings and spitting on cops doesn’t mean that you aren’t properly feminist. I needed to be inclusive, because it doesn’t do the cause or women any good to constantly label things “not feminist enough.” If I meet a girl who feels inspired and empowered by Taylor Swift, who thinks she’s the very definition of radical girl power, why not include her definition of girl power in mine? Why not seek solidarity with her instead of pointing out all the ways that Taylor Swift is not a fucking riot grrrl, you know? Why zealously call out other feminist books/bands/Tumblogs for not being perfect enough? We cannot always see the feminist struggle from the outside, but many women may be fighting for parity in their lives, whether they are professionally successful or work at tanning salons and don’t know what Planned Parenthood is.

The embarrassing reality of having had an ultra-dogmatic vision of what a feminist is and how she should look/act/sing/write was that it wasn’t very feminist of me. In fact, it was rather macho to be constantly ranking people according to my internalized hierarchy. The thing we as feminists know to be true is that women and girls (and brothers-in-struggle and other non-female allies) need our support, not our constant policing.

I don’t know exactly at what point I started to rearrange my feminism, to come from a place of love, but I remember how it took root: I saw my male roommates, friends, and bandmates in a different light, rather than thinking of them as variations on a stereotype. I realized that I wasn’t even considering that they might be as burdened by what the world expected of them as I was by what the world expected of me. I stopped assuming motives: “He just wants to sleep with me;” “He is only helping me because he thinks I am stupid.” I had empathy.

This change didn’t mean I stopped viewing the world with a critical eye—it actually made it easier to see the world rather than feel like I was blindly angry and at war with everything. I felt like my heart was still vulnerable to injustice and sadness, but so much more connected to the peace and power that came from having solidarity with other women, other feminists. I was no longer waiting for anyone to die so I could live. I was free. ♦

64 Comments

  • rosiesayrelax July 13th, 2012 3:08 PM

    I love this. Before rookie I admit I thought feminists were just women who hated a lot of stuff like men and bras!

    Rosie Say Relax

  • clairee July 13th, 2012 3:12 PM

    Thank you for very clearly and non-condescendingly resolving an internal problem that I have always had with saying I am feminist, namely that I never thought I was “angry feminist” enough because I like Taylor Swift and dream of having a family. I am also happy that you talk about the problems gender roles cause for men too, something “men’s rights” people like to use as some kind of ammunition against feminism, when they are both rooted in the same problem, imo. Lovely article.

    http://modalityblog.wordpress.com/

  • EmilyB July 13th, 2012 3:14 PM

    This is so well written, <3
    xx

  • kirsten July 13th, 2012 3:24 PM

    this is such a good post. thanks Jessica and Rookie!

  • mdoodle13 July 13th, 2012 3:46 PM

    This is so beautiful. As long as I’ve been a teenager, I’ve condemned my friends who dream of domestic life and being a stay at home mom. I may not have their same aspirations, but I know I still need to respect their own ideas about women’s roles and empowerment. Thanks, Jessica.

  • thelionheartedgirl July 13th, 2012 3:48 PM

    I looooove this and I feel the exact same way. Still struggling through anger, but I feel like I’m getting there, at the end of the tunnel, when it’s more love and less hate. Great post!

  • Elizabete July 13th, 2012 3:51 PM

    Oh, my i sometimes get confused about this feminism thing too and feel like “not feminist enough”. I find it stupid when women try to find something sexist in everything like teenage pop songs that are totally innocent. I also like it when men open doors to me, OMG WHAT A TRAITOR I AM. But really, the men/boys who open doors or carry bags for girls are usually not sexist and nicer than the ones who don’t.

    http://melodyfairitale.wordpress.com/

    • Pashupati July 15th, 2012 12:50 AM

      In some countries, that’s benevolent sexism and “only” men open doors. It’s not like when they do to help you as a person/because you just open everytime they’re behind you and it can be a problem if you learned to always do that when someone was behind you and it’s a man and they get angry/condescending/felt insulted that a woman opened “their” door (the library door! these doors are public properties, dude) or it’s impolite for you to open the door as a woman. Like when a group call women “bitch” in the streets and won’t hit you if you call them on it while still insulting you, but menace to hit your man friend who didn’t say shit or generally the same idea of not hitting women. So you can insult women randomly using sexist slurs but not hit them as long as you open doors for them as women are physically weak and stuffs.
      Now it also depends on where you live in the country, because when I just change cities it’s not always the same, but clearly I read american more saying it’s helpful to open doors and french saying you have to open doors to women, generally in french books even more recent it’s only about opening doors to women and “man” is also the default there in most idioms, etc, so it’s not an idiom.

      Also, it’s not because something is “totally innocent” that it doesn’t have a cultural weight too, isn’( based on what was before and will not influence people.

  • HollieLillian July 13th, 2012 3:52 PM

    The thing that got me interested in feminism was reading Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth’s seemingly brash attitude (in her times), yet her perseverance being prevalent, so thankfully I was introduced to feminism from the ‘love’ side of things as Elizabeth isn’t about man hating and stuff, just asserting herself as a woman and a person of a lower class and not letting this define her.

    I’ve been reading a lot about feminism recently and this was really interesting, it’s great to see how your views changed :):):)

    http://forthequainthearted.blogspot.co.uk/

  • julalondon July 13th, 2012 3:57 PM

    This is such a great article. I have always considered myself as a feminist, but never as an ‘angry one’ and then i was wondering whether i was one or not… So this is my favourite feminist post here on rookie so far!=) Thank you!

  • andromache July 13th, 2012 4:41 PM

    Great post! I’ve always considered myself a serious (and occasionally angry) feminist but now I’m also a stay-at-home mom to two little kids and sometimes I feel like that makes me some sort of traitor or leaves me out of the cause. I appreciate thoughtful women like you including women and men from all walks of life who are trying to help the cause and improve the world.

  • firstcomestherain July 13th, 2012 4:58 PM

    This is so well written. This article definately helped me think of things through a different persepctive.

  • WitchesRave July 13th, 2012 5:01 PM

    I must admit that mannay of my feminist views and inspiration to be proud to call myself a feminist (equalist) came from reading Tavi’s stylerookie and continued by reading rookiemag, Thanks guys, you rock :)

    witches-rave.tumblr.com

  • Threees July 13th, 2012 5:18 PM

    I really like a lot of the points you make in this article, especially about respecting that all women have a right to be themselves and feel liberated by different stuff! Although I do think you can love individuals who are men while still hating men as a group. Doesn’t necessarily mean your feminism is based on anger. And even if it is, that anger isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re using it constructively and not let it hurt you.

  • tankgrrrl July 13th, 2012 6:08 PM

    This is wonderful. Thank you.

  • JennaF July 13th, 2012 6:57 PM

    Good post. One other thing I came to realize is that a lot of the definitions of “success” come from a male context. Why, exactly, is a woman who is a skilled doctor or lawyer considered more successful than a woman who is a skilled full-time mom?

    Convincing society at large to value traditionally “feminine” attributes (nurturing, teaching, parenting, etc.) is part of feminism too, IMO. It’s because parenting has not been sufficiently valued that we have such a terrible set-up for working parents right now as compared to many other countries. Or for parents who want to take some time out from the workforce, and then return to it.

    This issue doesn’t just apply to women — fathers stand to benefit as well when parenting is valued.

    • Mags July 13th, 2012 10:50 PM

      Very good point. I feel like the whole stay-at-home mom/dad thing has such a bad rep, and it’s like, why?

      Raising kids, keeping the house in order, etc. is a lot of work. That’s why celebrities pay other people to do it. For a parent who does it themselves it’s basically unpaid labor. Sure, it doesn’t exactly bring money into the house to be a stay-at-home parent but I don’t necessarily think it’s better to hire other people to do all the house work/child-raising either.

  • emile July 13th, 2012 7:32 PM

    i love this article and this comment, especially. your observation is spot-on.

  • Rarity July 13th, 2012 7:49 PM

    Taylor Swift… kind of pisses me off. A lot. I know a lot of people connect with her (some of her songs are like, RIGHT ON POINT for me and I jam out to them all the time), but there’s a lot of girl-hate in some songs that really makes me angry.

    One song is about getting revenge because another girl “stole” her boyfriend (basically just calling the other girl a slut). And in another song, she’s in a church asking the groom “You wish it was me, don’t you?” AND THEN RUNNING AWAY WITH HIM???

    It’s as if perfect miss Taylor is always the right girl for the boy (right enough that it’s okay for her to ask him to LEAVE HIS WEDDING/girlfriend because they’re perfect!!!!1111) and all other girls are just wrong for the boys that she likes. Ugh.

    • Mags July 13th, 2012 10:47 PM

      I don’t listen to a lot of her music, but I have to agree that some of her songs are very “I’m awesome and there’s no girl better than me in the whole wide world why can’t you see that you stupid boy??!!”

      Haha.

      That might actually explain why a lot of girls like her music. If they put themselves in her place and imagine that they’re singing that song, I guess it can be sort of cathartic? I don’t know.

      Anyway, just wanted to say that I do see your perspective on the issue.

    • dianeisnotmyname August 11th, 2012 4:26 PM

      I totally agree. I have to admit, there have been certain times when her songs have helped me get over a rough time with a guy, but I’m sick of people calling her a “good influence” for the sole region that she acts virginal. I’m not passing judgment on her for acting that way, don’t get me wrong, but it bugs me when the media touts women as being “good influences for younger girls” for the sole reason that they don’t express their sexuality and sing about fairy tale romance.
      Taylor Swift should be called a good influence because she was ambitious and followed her dreams, not because she is “pure”.

      http://www.autostraddle.com/why-taylor-swift-offends-little-monsters-feminists-and-weirdos-31525/

      this is a really interesting article about her.
      again, I hope I don’t come off as if I am chastising her for being less sexual, I’m more pissed off at our society for acting as though her behavior is the only “right” way for a girl to act.

      http://slinkster-grrrl.tumblr.com

  • Bebe July 13th, 2012 8:00 PM

    Great article! I feel the same way about that hooks book. To play devil’s advocate there is something about anger/hate that can be vindicating and empowering. it’s okay not to love everything that oppresses us, but certainly it’s important to not let that righteous anger turn into some kind of bitter deceitful hate that does more to hurt the cause. Frankly I sometimes find reading things like S.C.U.M. empowering, do I agree? not really, but that commitment and drive of Solanas is inspiring to me.

    Anyways-still enjoyed this piece!

  • Eryn July 13th, 2012 9:40 PM

    This article is so fantastic! I think it articulates the hestitance around feminism, but also the resolutions to this and the reassurance needed perfectly. Thank you Jessica!!!

  • Lolly July 13th, 2012 9:46 PM

    I really don’t like the word ‘feminism’. It’s as misleading as if we were to call the struggle for sexual equality ‘masculinism’. I suspect that this is a large part of why feminism is misinterpreted as ‘women are better than men’, or as a women’s concern rather than a people’s concern.

    Thanks for clearing up the difference between equality and gender-bashing. I hope we get to see a society in which personality qualities aren’t gendered at all.

  • lylsoy July 13th, 2012 10:00 PM

    I know this woman/girl and she’s one of the ‘men-are-bad-I-hate-them’ feminists, but same time she wants every guys attention and if she doesn’t get it, she starts talking about how bad and evil men are and that she’s going to turn lesbian and bla AND THIS IS SO ANNOYING! I wish she’d read the book you read! I mean, how can she ‘turn’ lesbian when she is admitting that she wants a guy who loves her and anyway who is going to love her with that attitude.. grr
    Anyway this is a great article and I love that I can be a feminist even if I don’t spit on policemen. Because I am too shy for that!
    x

  • hedonisticYOUTH July 13th, 2012 10:23 PM

    I think that this simplification/generalization of what constitutes as ‘feminism’ is something that is perpetuated in society/’mass culture’ and is a fallacy. The human condition is complex. There is no way that a single solution can resolve the vast and varying issues women encounter in their daily lives. Hence why no single feminist movement exists.

    I think artist Mary Kelly hit the mark when she said that we tend to want to divide women into “us” and “them”. Those who, like us, are “liberated” and the other who still live their lives as “women”. But instead of witnessing this separation/lack of unity as a “loss” we should embrace those different ideas and resolutions and remember that ‘the rewards of historical commemoration do not always take the form of imitation’. Meaning that just because Susan B. Anthony, Simone de Beauvoir, Judy Chicago, Gloria Steinem, and Kathleen Hanna were/are exceptional feminists that the rest of us have to emulate exactly what they did/do in order for us to be good and effective feminists.

    • Pashupati July 15th, 2012 12:12 AM

      I think you forgot a “not” in your last sentence, or I didn’t understand what you quoted; ‘the rewards of historical commemoration do not always take the form of imitation’ would mean to me that you do not need to emulate exactly what they did to be good, effective feminists or women or human beings or donuts.
      I hope it doesn’t bother you if I ask to clarify, because it was interesting but the quote seems to say the opposite of your explanation…

  • Mags July 13th, 2012 10:44 PM

    This is such a great article. I wish it was longer, though. I feel like I could’ve read 10 pages of this with more detail.

    I consider myself a feminist and I cringe when some women say “I’m not a feminist or anything” like it’s a bad thing. I feel like a lot of the anger has made feminism look like this horrible thing, but it’s not at all. We still need feminism. There is so much more work to be done. Just because women are moving up in the corporate world and other places doesn’t mean that the fight for equality is over.

    I’m really glad you wrote this though, because sometimes I get so angry that I feel like I can’t see straight. Sometimes I just want to destroy all the men in the world, and sometimes I can’t even look at a guy without thinking “rapist” or “potential rapist.” It’s extremely exhausting.

    And then on the other hand sometimes I feel like I’m not feminist enough because I love to dress sexy and look cute and I’m really feminine. Sometimes when I dress cute, I wonder, “am I allowing myself to be objectified?” But then it’s like how can you NOT be objectified and just because a man thinks that you’re good-looking does that automatically mean that he’s objectifying you?

    SO MANY QUESTIONS.

    I guess I still have a long way to go before I can answer all of them, but, like you, I really want to be at peace, and I don’t want to hate men or so-called complicit women, because I’m the one who ends up getting extremely emotional and stressed out while everyone else is just going on with their lives.

    Anyway, thank you so much for writing this.

    • anonymouse July 14th, 2012 11:21 PM

      If a guy is a rapist, then he will rape no matter what a woman wears.

  • sweeteelou July 13th, 2012 11:05 PM

    I read this book about a month ago and I had the same feelings about it. I really loved this article.
    Love, Evan
    Sweeteelou

  • HarrietIsAPirate July 13th, 2012 11:44 PM

    I love this so much! I fit a lot of the angry feminist stereotypes, but I also feel frequently uncomfortable with the dogmatic nature of some of the feminism I encounter. Sometimes I feel as if we are not helping the movement very much if our only tools are rage and hostility.

  • junebug July 14th, 2012 12:42 AM

    This was SO me when I was 13/14. That was when I really discovered feminism and nothing was feminist enough for me, and it kind of just made the world tiring to live in, you know? I’m still guilty of condescending a little bit, especially with girls who say Taylor Swift is their role model in life and that they want to be married before they graduate college. But I’m working on it. I’m trying hard to understand that just because someone doesn’t see the world exactly like me doesn’t mean they’re wrong, per say. And how are women ever going to empower ourselves if we tear down each other, like you said? (Look at all the stuff with Laci Green on YouTube and everything. She wasn’t getting harassed by close-minded conservatives, she was getting harassed by close-minded feminists–and that’s NOT okay.

  • Intangible July 14th, 2012 2:43 AM

    This article is awesome, as I know sometimes I am disappointed with my friends lack of effort at feminist and pro-women’s issues and thoughts. But this reminds me that if we want to make women feel better we must support every woman.
    This article also made me think of my teacher from my Women and Gender class who quoted Hilary Clinton “It’s exhausting to walk around with clenched fists all the time” meaning feminism shouldn’t be combative and hostile all the time because it doesn’t help, it wares you down and leaves you little to enjoy.

  • Lea July 14th, 2012 2:49 AM

    Great article. I’m so happy to read about a person who acknowledges her mistakes of judging people, which very few are ready to do. Although I identify as a feminist, I am not what would be a “radical”.
    I love Rookie, although I don’t share all of your views (I’m still figuring lots of stuff out. Anyway we live in democracies right?). I’m 17 and most of my teenage insecurities (about body image, or social perception) are over (thanks to my mom and thanks to you!). I wish I’d had you at 15 though, because back then you really would have saved my soul ; I was still reading women’s press you see.

    Then I realized that some feminists can go too far and judge people, thus missing the point. I used to think a bit like you did, Jessica, though on a different level (like : “housewife = necessarily a submissive and limited woman”) . Well, I love your article. It is pure intelligence.
    Anyway, I am so happy for this magazine to exist. Your tone is humorous, witty, sometimes angry, loving, and never judging. You are awesome, but you manage to stay humble. I really don’t know how you do this!

    A French Rookie who wants to say you’re the best.

  • Lea July 14th, 2012 3:06 AM

    This is pure intelligence.
    I love how you are so witty and right-on-spot, but manage to stay humble about it, and admit to making mistakes..
    Thanks for being the only girly magazine that actually cares about girls.
    I wish I’d had you at 15 ; I’m 17 now but I love reading you all the same ; just that my “angsty” period is now almost over, and I care a lot less about body image or social pressure.

  • Shanman July 14th, 2012 3:31 AM

    Good Article. Feminism shouldn’t be about fulfilling a certain “feminist role” it should be about not letting gender roles influence you at all and doing whatever the fuck you feel like

    http://hereshannonrambles.blogspot.com

  • Spotty July 14th, 2012 7:36 AM

    love this!

  • joenjwang July 14th, 2012 8:44 AM

    This is exactly it. The reason I felt so angry and vulnerable in front of feminists before was because I always felt that I was doing something wrong. There was always something wrong that I was doing that was too submissive, too too. I felt angry because I saw how confined males were as well. In general, all these constricting gender roles hurt everyone. Not just females.
    idk. This article articulated it pretty well. Thank you.

  • lorobird July 14th, 2012 12:01 PM

    This is a good article, and I agree with it. However, we need to be careful not to mix up empathy and relativism.

    I am not going to slut shame, hate, or judge Taylor Swift or girls who feel ‘empowered’ by her. But I am going to deconstruct Taylor Swift as an icon of capitalist-patriarchal femininity, as a symbol of a system that I oppose.

    We need to be careful about mixing stuff up. We must love everyone and not hate on men (well, obviously), but that does not mean that Beyoncé is empowering (Anyone seen the ‘Run the world’ video commentary by Nineteen Percent on youtube? I recommend it).

    It is different to be angry and defensive all the time, than to actually be critical of capitalism and patriarchy as systems that fuck us up internally so we feel we are gross unless we shave and diet. I don’t hate on anyone, but man, do I disagree that Taylor Swift is empowering.

    And I won’t bring it up unless asked, but man do I want to have that conversation (respectfully, patiently, listening) with every single young woman who feels empowered by her ‘erotic capital’.

    Focus and perspective, man. Otherwise, good article.

    • missmadness July 14th, 2012 12:51 PM

      My life motto is “live everyday like you’re Beyonce.” And patriarchy aside, I think it’s pretty damn empowering–for me, at least. And that would be my response, I guess: empowerment comes in different forms for different folks.

    • Pashupati July 15th, 2012 12:02 AM

      I don’t know about either Taylor Swift (never even knew her name before reading about her from Rookie!) or Beyonce (her I knew before), but IMO nothing is empowering by itself and alone… you need someone to care about it to be, someone who “need” it and is in the right context and see the right stuffs in it…
      You can name anything or anyone and it’ll be problematic and reinforce bad stuffs somehow, fashion, computing, Judit Polgar, riot grrrl, name a feminist association. There’ll be issues around it or in the societal stuffs based on/built around it, or in what they do/say or what they represent even if by error.
      It’s just some persons may ignore the biggest problems or/and want to fix these (not necessarily on their own) and the thing may be empowering to them because of their context (current feelings and happenings and stuffs), personality or life story. There is always a way this is not gonna be empowering, even if it is meant to be.
      It can also be empowering because, despite it being problematic in some way, it’s not in a way/regarding subjects that touch the individual more, in spite of other individuals.
      I hope what I mean makes sense. I have lots of trouble with making sentences these days even more in english as I caught a fever (shouldn’t use the computer!)

  • Coco Jane July 14th, 2012 12:50 PM

    Thanks for this great essay! I have been on both sides of this myself, both as the harsh judge and the unfairly judged. I love how Rookie isn’t afraid to tackle thorny subjects surrounding feminism!!

  • Emmy July 14th, 2012 5:39 PM

    This is why I love Rookie. Sometimes, when I am reading other websites (cough, cough, Jezebel) I feel like the writers want you to hate men…the politicians trying to get rid of birth control, the politicians trying to get rid of abortion, etc. But I love how Rookie is spreading the “don’t hate the player” message. I think that most people associate feminists as sort of anarchists or just angry people or this exclusive bunch of people that decides what other women support. Thank you Rookie for spreading a more accurate image and also educating me more on feminism.

    http://chanelandsaddleshoes.tumblr.com

  • anonymouse July 14th, 2012 11:44 PM

    This is a very good article, glad that you wrote it. I follow many feminist blogs, and while they inform me, they can make me very angry, because they are reporting on things that I believe in, and the people who are very combative and belittle feminism (and all that encompasses, along with the women and men, that that believe in it, and practice it) are the ones that anger me.

    I don’t hate men, I never have, I do however hate Conservatives… ugh. I have to remind myself all the time, that they have a different viewpoint, and different reasons for that viewpoint. Many of them were born privileged and will die in the lap of luxury. There isn’t anything I can do about it.

    But just remember, that like with politics, the person who yells the loudest gets the most coverage. There are plenty of quiet feminists just behind the ones screaming into megaphones for change, and without someone to back them up they would just be hot air.

  • Yayo July 15th, 2012 4:24 PM

    Thank you, for this. I feel like I can sort of relate. I’m not exactly an ‘angry’ feminist in a sense of activism, although I have so so much anger inside, mainly towards my friends and family, actually, who *just* don’t get it; To quote one of my closest friend ‘Feminists are just idiots complaining about nothing. Sexism doesn’t even exist any more!’. This is a friend who I think of as a well-educated and good person.
    My family always totally undermine any opinion I have about equality, and pass it off as simply a PC phase I’m going through. It’s a lonely place to be, I’m telling you.

  • moonflower July 15th, 2012 4:25 PM

    I’m glad someone put this across. Feminism isn’t about being superior to men or competitive in any way. A lady on this reality show in England called ‘Come dine with me’ described her self as being a proud feminist, and later went on to argue about how ‘women are far better than men’. NO.

    http://ultravioletpixiedust.blogspot.com

  • youngfridays July 16th, 2012 5:05 AM

    I think my version of feminism is “Just do whatever the hell you want”

    • anonymouse July 17th, 2012 4:37 AM

      “Do what you will, but harm none,” is basically my thoughts on life.

  • wissycosh July 16th, 2012 12:17 PM

    FINALLY!!!!
    Throughout my time as a feminist, changes occurred and I no longer attach myself to any ideology. I think it exposed me to too much judgement. I was upset when I read a comment on a post a while back about men yelling out to chicks whenever they wanted and thus “DON’T TELL ME WE DON’T NEED FEMINISM” was stated. I think it’s valid to get mad at them (Men) if they’re threatening, sleezey and straight up hurtful, degrading, inhumane (you know all the traits of the declaration of human rights). But we all learned at school that boys will be boys and sometimes you can get over it…(SOMETIMES, like it MIGHT be innate in them, evolutionarily, biologically and/OR gentetically to hinder women) I don’t know, it’s just a discussion but I agree that men, universally, don’t leave women alone and it’s a constant reminder that we are objects, but when a young boy makes a harmless pass at a women you could just laugh. I watched the Indian public molestation tape on the news and thought “YEAH, DON’T TELL ME WE DON’T NEED FEMINISM’.

  • SonjaHenie July 16th, 2012 5:12 PM

    “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

    x

  • Suburban StateofMom July 17th, 2012 3:09 PM

    Thank you, Jessica. You helped me unclog some emotional plumbing.
    I salute and hug you.
    xo
    http://www.asuburbanstateofmom.com/angels-the-xx

  • heatherjoy July 18th, 2012 1:59 PM

    Just heard of your site through the new Bust. Wow. I am almost 30 and read this and it was VERY close to what happened to me the past couple of years. I grew up, as a sort of feminist-y teen, went to punk shows, got pregnant as a teen, was in a shitty relationship with my babydaddy (he was abusive), left him in my early 20s, set out on single motherhood alone, and went back to school. I started to HATE MEN (except you know, of course the ones who were my friends … I guess). I was angry I wasn’t a lesbian and I could never laugh at anything. Everything was offensive, men were the problem and fuck them! Thank you for posting this. My daughter will be a teen in a couple of years and I will be showing her this website. Keep rockin’.

    • heatherjoy July 18th, 2012 2:00 PM

      also. I don’t hate men. They’re not the problem. It’s a societal and structural problem. Everyone is oppressed. Not one group is the problem. I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing. I felt like dying and was super unhappy. Anyway … needed to add that.

  • heatherjoy July 18th, 2012 2:04 PM

    Oh yeah … I like Taylor Swift, too. As much as some feminists don’t say, I find feminism in her music.

  • neenah July 19th, 2012 5:17 PM

    yes, Yes, YES!!!!

  • schattenmalen July 23rd, 2012 3:23 PM

    all those intangible thoughts circling through my messy brain being put together in a very lovely and humorous text.
    i enjoyed reading this so much !
    xx

  • stellar August 2nd, 2012 4:32 PM

    the only thing that bothers me about the so-called ‘post-feminist’ movement is that it seems to be in denial about superficial representations of women…i mean, how come ‘the Goddess’ is always represented as this physically flawless person? how can a physically imperfect woman relate to that? it feels alienating

  • KatyKamikaze August 29th, 2012 6:21 AM

    LOVE this article.. I had no idea about what feminism really was until my twenties. I assumed it was all aggression and had a particularly crappy view of ‘feminists’ because young girls who identified themselves as such were constantly giving me grief for my dream of being a wife and mother one day.
    Articles like this are good, I now regard myself as a feminist, but all that means is I want all women (and men!) to have the same freedom to choose what they would like out of their lives.

  • TessaTheTeenageWitch August 29th, 2012 7:00 AM

    People called me a whore when I sent in my post to whoneedsfeminsm.tumblr.com. I guess that’s just what happens when you are all-for feminsm at the age of 13? Idk.

  • _teethmarks October 10th, 2012 3:05 PM

    This article is sooooo relevant. Everyday I’m surrounded by angry feminists who channel all their efforts in damning everyone who doesn’t fit into their mold of what a feminist is. Definitely sharing this article to enlighten others and remind myself that although feminism is a struggle that can often make people very angry, it can also be beautiful in that we all share the same internal struggles. <3

  • dizziestdaydream October 30th, 2012 1:36 PM

    I consider myself a feminist, and I’ve had some struggles with it. Feminism to me is the freedom for women to be-who/do-what/love-who they want.

    I remember in 7th grade when a couple of friends and I triumphantly convinced (aka: bullied) the boys in the class to “allow us girls” to participate in a mock Roman Senate.

    I was one of the smartest people in our grade, and felt some fierce pride that I wasn’t one of those girls who was into Boy Bands (the horror!) and wearing skimpy clothes. I shunned pink and sparkly things, I made an Anti-Valentine’s day shirt in high school, and would admit only to my nearest and dearest that I *gasp* enjoyed baking and arts and crafts.

    College came, and I met a lot of friends who helped shape my feminist leanings into something more tangible. And I discovered that glitter is awesome and doesn’t affect my ability to have a serious conversation. I even found an amazing boy who loved me BECAUSE of my convictions and desire to make a difference.

    Some people felt I was giving up “my potential” when I got married at the age of 22 straight out of college. We’re still figuring out life, but we’re doing it together. I do most of the cooking because I LIKE TO COOK. But he does the laundry because he actually remembers to put it in the dryer before a week has gone by.

    Sometimes I feel like a lame feminist because I enjoy knitting and cooking and glitter and being happy— but to give those things up just to make a statement would just be to spite myself. Feminism really is supposed to free us– not trap us in the “Feminist Barbie” box.

  • Escala Girassol June 3rd, 2013 5:30 PM

    Uaw, this remind me the idea on the film: the Mona lisa smile.
    It’s not about to deny and hate but to accept and change!