Keep your eye on the ball

Negative stereotypes about feminists abound in the media. And in response several times a year another article written by a feminist comes out worrying about the damage done by the deliberate misrepresentation of feminism. I worry too. Women won’t want to be feminists, let alone understand the cause, if the name is too scary for them.

But this refreshingly optimistic article from Raina Kelley in Newsweek reminds me that while feminists need to be prepared to stand up and fight for the identity of feminism, the true war lies in winning feminist outcomes. Don’t forget why we are here.

“This is a revolution, not a public relations movement”. Wise words from Gloria Steinem in Kelley’s piece, who points out that roughly the same number of women identify with the term ‘feminist’ as identify with the term ‘Republican’. You can double that number of women when a dictionary definition of ‘feminist’ is provided in the poll. In fact, with a definition tacked on to the term ‘feminist’ more than 60 per cent of women and more than 50 per cent of men will identify as feminist in American polls. Not bad for a term continually misrepresented as baby hating and bra burning. And really, what counts is the number of people who support feminist causes and in that area the polls regularly have the majority in our favour – “the proof is in legislation like the Fair Pay Act”.

Cross-posted at blue milk.

Categories: gender & feminism, language, media

Tags: ,

2 replies

  1. There are times when what she says here really is exactly what I need to read. The headline is particularly charming: “The Revolution Will Not Be Demonized”.
    And I like this bit:
    “So I decided to ask my personal hero what she thought. I e-mailed Gloria Steinem and asked her if she thought women lost interest in feminism once the word became synonymous in some circles with “witch.” And, because feminists rock, she got right back to me! “

  2. Ties in nicely with the article Sniff found about enlightened sexism, too – coming at the same thing from a different angle.

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