What is it about the word ‘feminist' that evokes such a polarizing response? While texting with a guy, I'd just met, the typical banter - what kind of music do you listen to, seen any good movies lately, yadda, yadda, yadda - the conversation took a bit of an unexpected turn when he asked if I had seen the movie Coyote Ugly…
What shocked me most about this situation was not that he thought I would love the movie, although out of all the possible movies this guy could have suggested he decided Coyote Ugly would really speak to me as an individual.It wasn't even that he asked me if I was a "hardcore feminist"because I didn't prefer to watch a movie like Coyote Ugly. I'm still confused on what my preference has to do with feminism.I don't remember theaters being inundated by men when Magic Mike hit the theaters,nor do I remember anyone questioning why men didn't want to see it.However, I digress, what surprised me most was my reaction to being called a feminist. I was offended,and then immediately upset with myself for assuming his remark was an insult (although I do believe that was his intention).
I can count multiple times throughout my life that men have used the word "feminist"to patronize me. As if by me standing up and demanding equal respect in whatever the situation directly threatens a man's masculinity. Looking back on these moments I wish I dared to respond in a more infuriated and passionate manner because while I feel strongly about the women's movement I cannot deny the part of me, that feels somewhat resistant to the label "feminist." It's the part of me that has been conditioned to believe that feminism is a dirty word reserved for outcasts and extremists, two characteristics that have been depicted to me as undesirable for females. Why is it extreme to believe women are totally rad and worthy of equal opportunity?
It's exciting to see women reclaiming and redefining words that were previously used as insults. I'm hopeful that girls today will grow up owning their femininity however they see fit rather than shying away or associating it with weakness or shame.
I would love to know what you think, how does the term "feminist" make you feel and what were some defining moments in your life? Are you ever triggered?