In a recent post on her personal website One D at a Time, Tracie Egan, an editor at Jezebel, where she blogs under the moniker Slut Machine, wrote a post entitled: “There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Feminist.” These days, she says, women see feminism from a range of perspectives, and sometimes those perspectives are wildly divergent. Some feminists are pro-choice. Some feminists are pro-life. Some feminists see sex work as empowering. Some see sex work as disempowering. What matters, Egan says, is that women are talking about women’s issues.
Nowadays, there’s no cookie cutter mold for a feminist–but is there such a thing as a bad feminist? You bet. Not all that long ago, calling oneself a feminist was taboo. In college, my friends were scared to call themselves feminists. That didn’t make them bad feminists. After all, the word comes loaded with negative connotations, from bra-burning to man-hating. Today, calling yourself a feminist is the new, new thing–for some women, it’s a trendy label, like “boho-chic.” But the fact of the matter is that this Spice Girls-brand of “girl power” is about as feminist as Avril Lavigne is punk rock, and label feminism is as thoughtful as a brain full of cotton candy.
After the jump, the three essential components of a good feminist–and three characteristics that define a fake feminist. Plus: A short list of very notable bad feminists.
1. Supports A Women’s Right To Choose: You can consider a fetus a life, you can consider abortion murder, you could never be okay with having an abortion personally, but you can’t be in support of denying women access to abortion. If you’re anti-choice, you ain’t no feminist, sister.
2. Respects A Woman’s Work: No matter what a woman choses to do, it’s her choice. That means respecting women who stay at home, raise their kids, and hold traditional female roles–because that’s what they choose. These women deserve as much respect as women who drop their kids off at daycare before heading off to work at their full-time jobs, and whose idea of cooking is ordering Chinese food delivered.
3. Supports Gay Rights: Denying gay men and women the same rights as heterosexual men and women is thisclose to denying women–gay or straight–the same rights as men.
A FAKE FEMINIST:
1. Faults The Victim For A Rape Or Sexual Assault: It doesn’t matter what she was wearing, where she was, or what she did or didn’t say. It doesn’t make any difference if the guy gave her the creeps, but she went home with him anyway. When it comes down to it, sexual assault is about power, control, and an attacker’s refusal to consider the decisions, opinions, and rights of women. Fake feminists blame women who are victimized, faulting them for not being “smart” enough and getting themselves into dangerous situations.
2. Has A Double-Standard When It Comes To Women & Sexuality: The three “waves” of feminism have differing viewpoints on sexuality and feminism, pornography and misogyny. But you’re a fake feminist if you think a woman who is sexual adventurous is a slut. A feminist decides how she defines respect for her body, and if that means sex with one partner or 1,000, it’s nobody’s business but hers.
3. Supports A Woman Just Because They’re A Woman: If you voted for Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination, and you believed with all your heart that she was the best candidate, congratulations! You’re a feminist. If you voted for Hillary because she’s a woman, and you really just wanted to see a woman win the nomination, regardless of any questions you may have had about her qualifications, you’re not a feminist. You’re a fool.
Four Fake Feminists
1. Patricia Heaton: Actress, star of “Everybody Loves Raymond”, active representative of Feminists For Life.
2. Elizabeth Hasselbeck: Co-host of “The View,” staunch opposer of gay rights and abortion rights.
3. Maureen Dowd: New York Times op-ed columnist accused of sexist coverage during Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination.