A girl asked me the other day “how can you be a girl and not be a feminist?” Simple, I am a girl and I am a egalitarian. According to Urban Dictionary, an egalitarian is someone who believes in equal rights for all humans no matter the race, gender, sexuality or religion. This is also known as humanist.
In the news recently I have seen multiple stories about companies changing names of some of their products because its too “manly” or its “sexist”. For example, Kleenex (the tissue company) recently decided to change the name because it was seen as ‘sexist’. In my opinion I believe that there are much larger issues involving lack of equal rights which are a lot bigger than the name of some tissue company that has been going on since 1924. I want equal pay for men and women in all jobs. I want men to be able to talk about their emotions openly without them feeling like they’ll be made fun of and for them to have a voice for males in abusive relationships. I want women to be able to feel safe walking down street and to be able to have a voice against the rapists and paedophiles in the world. I want the LGBTQ to feel safe in this community and be able to express themselves comfortably. The list goes on.
I believe that being a ‘feminist’ is way more than wanting a company to change their name because its ‘sexist’. The definition of sexism is “attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of gender roles” and ‘discrimination or devaluation based on a person's sex or gender, as in restricted job opportunities, especially such discrimination directed against women.’ I personally believe that the box of tissues being labelled “man-sized” isn’t that sexist or as a big deal as most of the other issues going on in the world today. I believe that the whole renaming situation was blown out of proportion and I believe that there are bigger issues that need dealing with today.
I also believe that just because you’re a female, it does not mean that you have to be a feminist. I think that everyone should have their own opinion and they have every right to believe in what they think is right and what they believe.
For example I believe in equal rights for not only females but males as well. Not everyone has to believe in the same as I do and just because you're a girl it doesn’t mean you have to be a feminist. Each person is their own individual and they have a right to their own individuality. The comment that girl made about how girls should be feminists, I found quite distasteful. Not only because girls can believe in what they want to, but because not only girls can be feminist. There are so many males in the feminist environment. For example Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a famous American actor, considers himself to be a feminist. Joseph filmed a video, almost 2 years ago, explaining what he believes feminism is and the background of feminism in general. He then talks about when he was on ‘The Ellen Show’ and how Ellen DeGeneres asked him if he considered himself as a feminist and he responded with “Absolutely!” Also, when he was in an interview with another journalist , Marlo Stern,he was asked “What does it mean to you to be a feminist?” His response was; “To me a feminist means that your gender doesn’t have to define who you are. You can be whoever and whatever you want to be regardless of your gender.” Then throughout the video he talks about the sort of feedback he got from fans, both positive and negative, and was clearing up confusion about the term. There are so many famous men out there who consider themselves feminists and are proud, for example; Harry Styles (Singer from famous boy band, One Direction), Mark Ruffalo (famous American actor, plays the Hulk in the Avengers series), Ian Somerhalder (Famous actor in the TV show, Vampire Diaries) There are so many more too.
In answer to the question “how can you be a girl and not be a feminist?”, This is how I am more than a feminist. You have a right in life to choose what/who you want to be and what you want to believe in. My gender shouldn’t have to define my beliefs.
For more information on feminism, visit ‘feminism.com’ , their website has plenty of information and explains in detail what feminist is and what they do.