Why I don’t call myself feminist

I wasn’t raised to believe in feminism, my mother was bitter about her experiences as a woman and felt it had done nothing for her. I used to hear that feminists had only made women’s roles harder, that we now had to work and raise a family and do both as if we were superwoman. And while I don’t doubt that there is plenty of pressure to be everything to everyone, I don’t buy in to feminists being the cause of these problems.
But while I think the feminist agenda is admirable and worth supporting, while I strive to see a world where all women are treated well and not, as is far too often the case less than cattle, I do not call myself feminist.

Part of the natural shift in perspective that motherhood provided me was an insight into the way I want the world to be for my children, both male and female.

It’s not this world, where my son when still small was bullied in to cutting his hair short and shamed for painting his nails because it was girly. Where ‘don’t be a girl’ or ‘that’s gay’ are commonly thrown about without any thought that the insult is both bizarre and appalling. A world where my girls are pressured to look and act a certain way for fear of violence against them and my son’s gender are uniformly painted as potential perpetrators of that violence. This world that even while seeking an equal standing people divide in to categories male and female without looking at humanity as a whole broken apart in need of repair.

I don’t have the answers to what will fix us and make us good to each other. What will stop people from discriminating based on sex, or who we want to have sex with, who knows, it will sadly not happen any time soon. But what I want more than anything is equality, where a woman can choose to have or not have children, a career, dress as she likes and go where she wants, love who she wants. Where a man can do the same without question.

These are the reasons that I don’t call myself a feminist even as we share similar goals and ideals I find the term irrevocably divisive.

Instead I call myself an equalist and do my small part in trying to pave our way to equality.


5 thoughts on “Why I don’t call myself feminist

  1. I’ve always been really proud to call myself a feminist (I had a Mum who didn’t shave her legs or wear bra’s – oh the horror!). And I must say, that since being a Mum, it’s kind of made me think more about how different women are to men – that they each face different challenges, particular to being a woman or a man. But it’s all great food for thought – I’m so not into the traditional gender roles you mention here, either, and I think being an equalist sounds terrific. Kellie xx

    • We do all have our own challenges, I feel we could all work through them so much more effectively together, that’s over simplistic and idealistic though I know.While we sometimes, like now fall in to traditional gender roles in our house we don’t use gender to determine which roles we take (for example when Ty was in Uni I supported us financially). We play to our strengths and not the contents of our underwear. Thanks for responding Kellie I do treasure discussion here, other’s viewpoints help ground me.

  2. Yeah i have to say I’m not a feminist. I think women are different to men. Lily is already showing traits of liking ‘girly’ things and I’m certainly not teaching her that. I was very reluctant to buy pink and dolls but she has already showed preference to these things.
    However like you I believe we all deserve the right to be treated with respect and not discriminated against. I feel for boys now too as I had lots of guys friends in high school who were bullied for not liking sport, having hair that was ‘too poof’ and even at work (mining industry) I still hear guys laughing how that guy looks so ‘gay’ but then claim they aren’t homophobic. Then why use ‘gay’ like it’s some negative word then?? Not all men want to adhere to the macho image. That doesn’t make them less of a man.

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