Why feminists should stop attacking each other

 - Why feminists should stop attacking each other

Sofeminine's Sophie Herdman wonders why feminists keep on attacking each other.

I'd love to say I'm right about everything. That my taste in music is the best. That if I like a TV show, well it's probably one of the top TV shows ever. And I'd really like to be able to say that my definition of feminism, and how us feminists should conduct ourselves, is 100% on the money.

Sadly, I can't say any of those things, because like everyone else in the world, I'm not right about everything. And sometimes, while I might be bang on, someone who thinks the opposite of me can also be right. 

That motto - I might not be the only one who's right - is something I think feminists need to embrace a little more. Why? Let me explain.

What is feminism?

Feminism is simple. It's the belief that men and women should be treated equally. But beyond that it gets a little bit complicated, and at the moment there are lots of different views on what feminism is and how we can achieve that equality. 

Can a feminist also be a stripper? Is a stay at home mum a feminist? If I take my husband's name am I a feminist? (The answer to all of these, in my opinion, is yes, as long as it's your choice). 

Having more than one form of feminism is totally fine, it's positive in fact. But what's not fine is when these different groups start attacking each other, saying that so and so's idea of feminism is wrong.

Feminists vs Feminists 

That's what I've started to notice at the moment, an increase in the number of feminists attacking other feminists. Young feminists are accused of not knowing the full story, traditional feminists are accused of being out of touch. Shouty feminists are accused of giving feminism a bad name, short skirt, heavy make up wearing feminists are accused of not being feminists at all, as are men sometimes. Not always, of course, but too often for my liking.

Let's look at some real life examples. Germaine Greer one famously said Cheryl Cole can't be a feminist because she's too skinny. Lena Dunham's American TV show Girls has been accused of not really representing what feminists think. As if there really could be a TV show that represents all facets of feminism. (I'm leaving the racial representation issue aside here. It's important, but for another argument). The same applies to Caitlin Moran's book 'How to be a Woman', adored by some, slated by others who don't agree.

Working together

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to live in a world filled with rainbows and fluffy bunnies where everyone gets along just fine, and nor am I agreeing with the whole "women are their own worst enemies line" (PS That's bulls**t). I appreciate that debate is a good thing, and sometimes people say damn stupid things that deserve scrutiny.

But there's a difference between debate and just shouting someone down. Don't scare people away from saying they're feminists for fear that their idea of feminism will come under scrutiny. (Have you noticed how many celebs outright say they're feminists? It's a scarily low number.) 

Sure, glamour modelling might not be my idea of feminism, but if someone is doing it for the right reasons then who am I to say it's wrong? 

It's not an easy idea to swallow, because at the end of the day, we all like to be right. But since we're all working towards the same end goal, wouldn't it be better if we worked together? That way we might sort this whole inequality mess out a whole lot quicker. 

Want to know more about feminism? Check out these high profile feminists.


Sophie Herdman
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