Is feminism a dirty word? Is the word feminism emotive, having negative connotations that perpetuates an image that is inaccurate. On the day I wrote this article, unsurprisingly Donald Trump openly claims to Piers Morgan he is not a feminist because he is ‘for everyone.’ Trump is notoriously known for his sexist comments and seemingly misogynistic viewpoints, yet his rejection of feminism highlights the misconception of feminism not only to him but to his supporters because if a politician says something, it is only to appease his supporters. Trump’s reasoning for his rejection for feminism surprised me, what was feminism if it wasn’t ‘for everyone’ as that is literally what it is. The feminism I know and support is for the marginalised in society, most notably Trump’s discriminatory policies, intersectional feminism emphasizes POC feminism, third-world feminism and not the negatively portrayed ‘white feminism’. Feminism to me, doesn’t just support women but also supports men. It is ironic that someone who only protects the select few in the USA claims to want something that supports everyone when he himself doesn’t.
His rejection of feminism is a view that is disappointingly wide-spread. Many people have personally said to me that they don’t call themselves feminists because feminists are ‘man-haters’ and yet, they avidly believe in equal rights. There is obviously a massive negative stigma of feminism due to news stories who portray feminists as ‘man-haters.’ Has the label been tainted to such a degree the feminism will be continuously be seen as ‘the F-word’ where people feel safer by rejecting the label and just saying they support gender equality? Hopefully, things will change. However, Trump’s irresponsible rejection of feminism will not help this.
Furthermore, the amount of times I have heard that ‘feminism is unnecessary in western countries, women already have rights’ might be reduced now in light of the #metoo campaign and popular culture portraying the sexism women in western countries face. Additionally another comment I have also been told is that ‘I’d start taking feminism seriously once they start fighting for things that actually matter such as FGM and child marriage’ which again shows how many people’s impression of feminism is that it is pedantic, popular media can sometimes portray feminism as fighting for seemingly unnecessary things, it fundamentally needs to be understood that the fight for ‘western feminism’ does not mean a rejection of ‘third world feminism’, it does encompass both it is just not what feminism is associated with.
Therefore, feminism is seen to be an ‘f-word’ of some sorts because of it being misconstrued and tainted by popular media and anomalies of ‘feminazis’ that don’t represent the entire movement. Although people like Trump that reject feminism but are also renowned sexists maybe more so because of a hatred towards those who are trying to change society as this certainly mirrors the backlash early feminists got when fighting for the vote, the suffragettes and suffragists were portrayed as lesbians and spinsters by newspapers.
As generations go on and the truth of what feminism really is about is explored feminism may no longer be such a dirty word.