The word “feminist” isn’t a bad word anymore. So many incredible women have claimed the term for themselves and opened up conversations about gender equality!
We love hearing powerful and inspirational women like Emma Watson, Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, Lena Dunham, and more talk about feminism and encouraging people to fight for women’s rights.
One of the most incredible pioneers of feminism as we know and love it today has to be Roxanne Gay. Her book Bad Feminist has become a cornerstone of the feminist movement! It’s definitely a must-read. In it, Roxanne talks about the fluidity of the term “feminism” and why it’s not a word we should be afraid of.
In her TED talk, Roxanne talks about some of the most important points from her book. Here are our favorites:
Feminism Is Simple:
“I am, indeed, a feminist, and a proud one. I hold certain truths to be self-evident: Women are equal to men. We deserve equal pay for equal work. We have the right to move through the world as we choose, free from harassment or violence.”
At its most basic, feminism just means women should have these rights. We should have the same rights as men because we are equal. We should get paid the same as men (women in the US still get paid between 5-6% less than men). That’s definitely something most Career Girls believe in!
There Is No Ideal Feminist
Have you ever felt like feminism means “hairy, angry, man-hating, sex-hating”? It’s not for everyone. But Roxanne Gay assures us that there’s no such criteria for being a good feminist! Feminism is just about a belief in gender equality. Simple as that.
So there’s no need to feel like you’re not a feminist if you like listening to sexist R&B (one of my guilty pleasures!).
“When I drive to work, I listen to thuggish rap at a very loud volume. Even though the lyrics are degrading to women — these lyrics offend me to my core — the classic Yin Yang Twins song “Salt Shaker” — it is amazing!”
Feminism Isn’t Perfect
There are no rules for feminism. So feminism isn’t a reason to judge other women! It’s a reason to support other women because we’re all fighting for the same thing – we’re all fighting for equality. We’re all imperfect and so we shouldn’t use feminism as an excuse to be critical of each other.
“We have this tendency to put visible feminists on a pedestal. We expect them to pose perfectly. When they disappoint us, we gleefully knock them from the very pedestal we put them on. […] We go far beyond reasonable, constructive criticism,to dissecting any given woman’s feminism, tearing it apart until there’s nothing left. We do not need to do that.”
Claim Your Feminism
Moving forward, Roxanne urges women to embrace feminism and not shy away from the word. Even if we still listen to sexist R&B music or watch TV shows that make sport out of sexist jokes! Declaring yourself a feminist is the first step towards making men and these sexist industries realize we want change.
“We can also boldly claim our feminism — good, bad, or anywhere in between. […] Through writing and feminism, I also found that if I was a little bit brave, another woman might hear me and see me and recognize that none of us are the nothing the world tries to tell us we are.”
It’s not something to be scared of and there are no rules or criteria! Are you a feminist?
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