The word “feminism” evokes a wide variety of reactions today, ranging from passion to surprise and even to the extreme, disgust. The most extreme reactions are often caused by the imagery of the extreme feminist. At the same time, though, people should not stick all feminists (and the feminist movement itself) into the same boat of radicalism.
“I think the problem with the trope of the ‘radical feminist’ is that by simply calling yourself a feminist, you’re suddenly pushed into the ‘extreme’ category,” junior Julia Khan said. “I believe that we can’t trivialize microaggressions, not because they are themselves horrible, but because of the bigger issues that they lead to.”
While these disgusted reactions are a minority, they have continued to create the vivid and sometimes harsh responses to the feminist movement for almost a century. One such misguided response is the “ Women Against Feminism” Tumblr/ Facebook campaign, which began to gain increasing attention back in July.
The “WAF” page and its rival, “Who Needs Feminism,” are similar in that they feature women who take selfies next to signs with their opinions. However, “Who Needs Feminism” was started to encourage and promote feminism in a positive light. “WAF,” on the other hand, is filled with firm, anti-feminist messages ranging from “I don’t need a label defining me”to“Iaman abomination to feminism because I want to be a stay-at-home mom.”
“I think [it] was created simply because of misinformation,” Julia said. “A lot of the women who support the campaign do so because they believe that feminism will limit their ability to be feminine.”
The sources of the misinformation and of the “WAF” campaign all relate back to one question: What does it mean to be a true feminist?
“Feminism has become a messy and personal quest that women define and experience differently,” Canadian National Post writer Sarah Boesveld said in her article, “Not All Feminists.” “Your feminism is not always my feminism, and sometimes nuance gets lost in the mix.”
Because many people see feminism only in its most radical (and terrorizing) form, they are often reluctant to accept the movement as an important benefit to society. Yet it is important to realize that feminism is, generally speaking, the belief in equality, not sameness, between genders.
We do not need to all agree on a single lucid and irrefutable definition of feminism. Even though there are so many different levels and shades of the extremity of the feminist, by directing feminism to the most radical degree, we are continuously self-creating the anti-campaigns that warp what feminism really is about.