One of the best things I’ve ever read has to be a collection of essays by Roxane Gay, she is an absolute goddess and the mastermind behind “Bad Feminist.” It completely reaffirmed my beliefs and taught me a lot about how I conduct myself (particularly around other women.) There is nobody on this planet that I would not recommend this book to.
As a feminist, I often find myself thinking “that wasn’t very ‘feminist’ of you” as if that even means anything. I think it’s easy to get caught up in unwritten rules within a social movement and feel as if you’re doing something wrong. When realistically, as long as you’re supporting equality between every gender, you are a feminist.
It was however, amusing to collate the things that I thought made me a “bad feminist” so I thought it was only right to share them with you here.
Defending why I don’t want children
I often find myself in conversation with people in which I state that having children really isn’t something that I’m interested in ever doing. The odd thing here being that in my head I know that this is completely okay and I have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. BUT then I seem to go on to say the words “I mean I probably will in the future, I guess I can never completely rule something out.”
Now for all I know I could wake up one cloudy Tuesday in 2024 and decide that all I want in the world is 2 kids and a holiday home in France so this isn’t a completely ridiculous statement to make.
The problem is that I only say these things to try and defend myself in front of certain people. There’s something in my crap feminist head that can’t bare that look of “oh…so you just don’t…want…kids?” So what I’m trying to confess is that I pretend I might one day want them so that my womb can feel better about itself. Sad, I know.
Defending my body hair (apparently I’m a very defensive person)
I’m an inherently lazy person. If I don’t absolutely have to do something, I simply won’t. So when it comes to body hair, all I’m saying is that I’m not going to spend an extra 20 minutes in the shower fixing something that is not broken.
And once again – as with the children – I AM OK WITH THIS. BUT. I find myself getting awkward when people mention it, I make an active effort to cover my legs in certain social situations and I have no idea why. It’s so frustrating to me that I clearly still care about these stupid social constructs.
To quickly clear this up, I’m not saying that all feminists have body hair or trying to encourage stupid stereotypes that should have never existed in the first place. I’m simply saying that if I’m comfortable with something within myself – why the heck am I still hiding it away?
Feeling accomplished when hearing the phrase “you’re not like other girls”
WHY DO WOMEN FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE TO COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER?!
We should be praising and empowering each other, not putting one another down and accepting sub par compliments that single us out from everybody else. It really upsets me to admit that I used to be filled with joy at the sound of these words, as if I’d done something spectacular when realistically this is another way of saying “being a woman is a bad thing” congratulations, you’ve succeeded in beating the rest of them.
Don’t even get me started on the term “you *insert any verb* like a girl.”
Being in awe of an authoritative woman/thinking that a female is “too bossy”
The fact that I look up to authoritative women will never be a bad thing, the thing that upsets me about this is that is constantly seems to come with a side dish of “wow, she actually got to this position of power – good for her.” As if having anything other than a male boss is an achievement. Another thing that is worth noting is that is the old “bossy” comment.
Now, I could be wrong, but I just need you to take a minute and try and think of any situation in which you’ve thought a man was being bossy in your workplace. Please tell me if you’ve found something. Because in my experience, a man telling their colleagues what to do is them doing their job. A woman on the other hand, is being bossy. If this isn’t a clear example of inequality at work, I don’t know what is.
Judging another persons’ sex life
Ok, we’ve all done it. Unfortunately it seems to be part of human nature to judge other people. BUT we need to make sure that we’re judging people EQUALLY.
I’m kidding, this is my public statement saying that I will never judge another person on their sexual activity. As long as their not hurting anyone, of COURSE – and even then, what problem did judging somebody else ever solve?
Openly not doing “feminine” things
This one is just silly. When I was younger I remember actively not doing things because they were deemed girly. Whatever gender you identify as, you should be able to wear giant pink fluffy everything or make up or a t-shirt that literally says “I’m a big masculine manly man” because clothes don’t mean anything. Objects do not contribute anything to your gender or who you are as a person.
Saying the words “I only hang out with guys”
Firstly, why I ever wanted to only associate with guys baffles me – not that I’m throwing shade at the “male race” but purely because it just seems so closed off and weird. That statement in itself confuses me but sadly, it used to be something that frequently left my mouth.
It really gets me down that there was a time in my life where I would instantly assume I wouldn’t get on with a “girly girl.” Because it’s one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard.
Roxane Gay actually says something that perfectly epitomises what I’m trying to say in Bad Feminist:
“If you’re the kind of woman that says “I’m mostly friends with guys and act like you’re proud of that, like that makes you closer to being a man or something and less of a woman, as if being a woman is a bad thing…it’s okay if most of your friends are guys but if you champion this as a commentary on the nature of female friendships, well, soul-search a little.”
I’d definitely recommend reading the article that this quote comes from, It’s fantastic. We need to stop the toxicity and competition in our friendships and accept that we’re all fabulous.
ALSO, while I’m ranting – on a slightly unrelated topic – there is a meme that circulated a year or two ago about girls that are only friends with guys. You may have seen it, the woman with hot dogs in her mouth? Maybe I’m just being a negative nelly and not taking a joke but did it annoy anyone else that this makes the assumption that a woman can’t be friends with a group of men without engaging in sexual activity with all of them? As if – oh I don’t know – women were sex objects. I could have completely misread it, but I figured there’s no better time for me to have this rant.
Feeling uncomfortable about doing things that are typically aren’t “feminine”
The best example of this that I can think of is when I was younger and I felt really uncomfortable eating large amounts of food in front of other people. Or being messy or gross in any way. As if it was a strange thing to do because I’m a petite, polite lady. Luckily I got over that and frequently shovel mass amounts of food into my mouth for all to see – throwing it everywhere and causing a huge mess of course. (You’re welcome.)
But this is completely the same for hobbies, media, sex – the list goes on and on (and it shouldn’t exist.)
Not knowing what to do around a crying man
…as if it were any different to comforting anybody else. This is something that I think needs a lot more attention in our society. Men have been emotionally repressed for far too long and the idea that’s emasculating to cry is ridiculous. Similarly, the idea that it’s hysterical for anybody to cry is. We are all human, everybody needs a good cry sometimes.
Gender equality still has to come a long way and although it’s undeniable that things are better than they were – I think we all need to continue to work towards building a society in which everybody is equal, regardless of their gender, race or any other construct that seems to segregate us even though we are all human.