Yesterday morning I was on the phone to Frogpondsrock. We were bemoaning the fact that the #convoyofcleavage had sparked such disparaging language, that some feminist circles were angry about the terminology used, and the “slacktivism” of the whole thing.
I can’t remember who said it first, but one of us stated that we obviously weren’t proper feminists because we don’t know the secret feminist language/we like our husbands/don’t think feminism should be an exclusive club.
Then we got the giggles, because we think we’re hilarious. Suddenly, we had a twitter hashtag on our hands.
Thus is began with both of us tweeting on the #Iamnotaproperfeminist hashtag and amusing ourselves.
We wanted to poke gentle fun at the idea of there being a “right” way to be a feminist. Sometimes, people in the know get so hung up on the terminology used that they forget women all over the world are coming at feminism from a perspective unique to themselves. We’re not all the same person, with the same circumstances. To state unequivocally that feminism is THIS THING and not THAT THING is to discount the experience of women different to you.
By yesterday evening, our hashtag had taken off, grown wings and flown far away from where it started.
All across twitter, women and men were joining in to promote feminism without borders. And not just cis women, but trans women too. I count this as an extra success, because if their tweets are anything to go by, trans women are told they’re not able to feminist properly more often than I am.
Feminism has become something quite narrowly defined in recent years. Women who study feminism at Uni bristle at those of us who didn’t complete a degree calling ourselves feminists.
It’s all a bit ridiculous.
How do you define feminism anyway?
With all the drama and terminology complaints, it’s no wonder that young girls have been stepping back from calling themselves feminist. Who can be bothered when you have to always make sure you’re using the perfect word for the job, and inevitably, we all end up “doing it wrong” anyway.
Young women want to be feminists. We want equality. We just don’t want to have to constantly talk about what feminism is and isn’t – and I’m pretty sure that we don’t want women who are further along the paths of education (self, or otherwise) to be pointing out how we’re not being the perfect feminist.
I am not a proper feminist hit back at the stereotypes, at the exclusionary language, and it showcased the discomfort a lot of us were feeling at being told there was only one true way to do this feminism thing.
I am not a proper feminist, because there is no such thing.
And that’s why it’s awesome.