Reclaiming the F-Word

What the word Feminist really means and how we feel about it.


As The Woman’s Report grows, I can’t help noticing how many women I meet who are reluctant to call themselves feminists.  Why, in the age of The March and the renewed energy around equality, is this an issue?

It’s helpful to start with what the word Feminist actually means.  A feminist is someone who supports feminism, which means:

Feminism is a range of political movementsideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes.[1][2] This includes seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.-Wikipedia

 That seems pretty benign, right?  Replace the words ‘sexes’ and ‘women’ in the definition with ones that refer to any other group of people and no one would bat an eye, it would be a no-brainer.

The problem is that the word ‘Feminist’ (like the word ‘Liberal’) has been hijacked and spun to have a powerful negative connotation.  In my own informal polling, most people associate the word with radical, angry, man-haters.  That’s the power of spin, it made “Feminist’ a bad word.  It makes us feel like we can’t be for ourselves without being against some of the people we love.

So how do we take it back and make it a word we can all be comfortable with?  We would love to hear from you.  Please join the forum on this topic to share your ideas.