“I’m a feminist because I believe in equal rights. I have a voice, and I shouldn’t be silenced by my sex.”
Alex Sloane, a freshman English major at UCLA, has always identified as a feminist. It was not until she was older that she realized not everybody shares this same passion for gender equality.
When asked about the stigma surrounding the word “feminist,” Sloane replies:
“There’s this awful stereotype that all feminists are crazy bra-burning man haters. This is why most people’s initial reactions are overwhelmingly negative. And it doesn’t exactly help when little girls see their favorite pop stars scorning the term.”
Sloane brings up a very interesting point: when many pop stars are asked if they are a feminist, they possess the same negative reaction that much of society has towards that term.
During Katy Perry’s acceptance speech for “Woman of the Year” at Billboard’s Women in Music 2012 luncheon she states,“I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.”Check out her remark, :50
Lady Gaga who publicly opposes the double standard for men and women in pop culture stated, “I’m not a feminist. I hail men, I love men, I celebrate American male culture- beer, bars, and muscle cars” during the October 2009 National Equality March.Lady Gaga on why she’s not a feminist, 1:00
In a recent interview with TIME, Kelly Clarkson states, “I wouldn’t say [I’m a] feminist, that’s too strong. I think when people hear feminist it’s just like, ‘Get out of my way I don’t need anyone..’”Kelly Clarkson’s interview with Time Magazine
Why are these strong, independent women afraid to be called a feminist? Is being a feminist truly as radical and extreme as these female role models lead us to believe?
Sloane begs to differ:
“A feminist is anyone who supports gender equality. I think some people, including some feminists, misuse feminism to promote a ‘masculine’ ideal. Gender equality isn’t about conforming to a masculine ideal but accepting the idea that both masculinity and femininity are equal. Just as a woman can be empowered and become a CEO, a man can be a stay at home father. Men and women are equal, and neither masculinity nor femininity is superior.”
It is important to recognize that feminism is not about gender bashing. Dismantling the patriarchy is not an attack on men. It is more so an attack on the social construction of gender as a whole.
Your gender should not affect how others view your social status, intelligence, talent, worth, or anything else.
If more celebrities or female role models were proud to call themselves a feminist and fight against gender inequality, would we see a change in how society also views feminism? Are these female role models only perpetuating the negative stereotype surrounding the word feminist?
Sloane is proud to call herself a feminist; are you?