As mentioned in the past, according to dictionary definition, I am a feminist. I support equality between the sexes in all realms of life. I make no apologies for disagreeing with those who are opposed to equality for women, including those who don’t realize their views are in opposition to this notion. I may not agree with all feminists or feminist theories, but to me, feminism as a general principle is a no-brainer — why would I not support uplifting change and improvement in the lives of women?
However, it seems that in disagreement, the words “feminism” and “feminist” are used to dismiss or belittle opposing views. Don’t understand someone’s opinion or don’t like it? If they happen to agree with a woman or mention anything favorable about women, you don’t have to. Just call them a feminist. At this point anything they have said or will say is rendered irrelevant nonsense. They are a feminist, how could anyone take them seriously?
This may come as a surprise to those who routinely use the “feminist” dismissal: but sometimes it’s just not about feminism. While a person may agree with feminist principles and even identify as a feminist, feminism does not have to be at the core of every opinion they may have. Feminism is merely one influence on their mindset which is created from the entirety of their life’s experiences and personal biases.
Sometimes It’s About Fairness
While feminism is concerned about equal rights and fairness towards women in particular, sometimes people oppose or align themselves with an issue in the name of fairness in general. Such people are in favor of people being treated justly and respectfully, regardless of their gender. If the people in question happen to be women, it’s simply a coincidence — if the situation involved men, their sentiments would not change. Thus feminism has nothing to do with it.
Sometimes It’s About the Person
All people have their likes and dislikes, and those could include other people. So people may agree (or disagree) with an issue because of the person espousing it, and at times that person may be a woman. This has nothing to do with one’s feminist leanings, but one’s personal leanings.
So, a woman supported Hillary Clinton for the United States presidential nomination? Does it have to be because she is a feminist? Could it be that she is in favor of Hillary’s views, or even Hillary herself?
Sometimes It’s About Widening Discussion
Great discussion occurs when all sides and views are presented and debated. An opposing viewpoint may be presented for the simple reason of increasing the depth and breadth of discussion. Whether or not this view agrees with feminism or the person presenting it as a feminist is irrelevant. It just has nothing to do with feminism.
What do you think — what does your feminism (or lack of) have to do with your views?