Friday, November 13, 2015

Do You Call Yourself A Feminist?

Growing up in household that champions independence and self-sufficiency, being a feminist was only natural. But it wasn't until much later that I realized the weight of this single word.

Reading the accounts of 25 brilliant ladies in I Call Myself A Feminist opened my eyes to the various prejudices that women across the globe face. These women not only had to fight everyday sexism but were also constantly discriminated because of their culture, religion, ethnicity, physical attributes and sexual orientation.

Their stories inspired me to reach out to some amazing ladies from the reader/blogger community so that they too could share what 'Feminism' means to them. Hear them roar! ;)

I call myself a feminist because it fits me right and settles on my shoulders, holding them firmly, supportively. I call myself a feminist because, for all those who give the term a bad name and twist it to their own means, I have met enough who have taught me to believe in the power of the erased voices that have always propelled and perpetuated this movement. I call myself a feminist because I believe in intersectionality and in the hope and action that comes with acknowledgement of individual struggle on the part of the whole.

I am a feminist and I wish I wouldn't have to be one. I want equality between women and man, something that should be natural. We are the same, whether we have a penis or a vagina. (This is also the same when it comes to other factors, like color or sexuality. We are all human and we should all be equal.) The word seems to get misinterpreted often, which leads to women who proudly say they are 'anti-feminist' and a lot of men to be afraid of the word and get defensive. I am a feminist, because:
  • Catcalling is still a thing and guys think it is okay to call you 'bitch' and 'whore' without any reason. Let me get this straight: whistling to a girl like she is a dog is NOT a compliment. We are not cattle that you can inspect on the market and it doesn't make us feel beautiful or special. It is frightening when someone follows you around and we want to feel appreciated for who we are, not just for how we look.
  • Schools still forbid females from wearing clothes that reveal even a little skin, just so they will not arouse boys. Girls are taught to fear their body and sexuality. Girls are given the message that if you are assaulted or raped, it's probably because you asked for it. We act like males are animals who can't control their urges when they see female flesh. Instead of these twisted messages, we should teach guys the right morals and they should act like them.
  • We often get treated differently at work and we are supposed to be bad scientists. I work as a scientist and at times I am pressured to work extra hard to prove myself. The guys also say things to me they never say to each other, like "isn't it too heavy?' or "watch out, don't get your clothes dirty." Just let me do my job! A scientist called Tim Hunt even claimed: "Let me tell you about my trouble with girls.. Three things happen when they are in the lab. You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry."
As long as people believe this kind of crap, we need feminism. Now, if you are a guy and you are insulted by this, calm your tits. I'm not saying every men thinks like this. If you see females as your equal, keep it up, you are one of the good guys!

I leave you with this 'master piece'.

When I first heard the word "feminism", I was a bit too young to understand exactly what it meant. As I grew older, though, my perceptions of the word gradually changed. I used to be a bit wary of people who called themselves "feminists". I had the common (and grossly inaccurate) picture of rough, man-hating women who were constantly aggressive and unapproachable. But now, (thanks to many books, the blogosphere and a very good debating coach) I know what it truly means to be a feminist. And I am so proud to call myself one. Feminism is now one of the most important ideals I believe in, and I'm on a sort-of mission to get other people to fight for women's rights. Feminism is important to me because I am proud of being a girl. I am proud of my own gender, and I refuse to bow down to the patriarchy in society. I want to live in a world where there is no gap in gender. Where women are paid the same as men. Where women are fairly represented in parliament. Where boys can play with Barbie dolls and girls can play with Transformers without ridicule. I stand for feminism and I stand for equality among men and women.

The sad thing about feminism is that it’s getting so much unwarranted flak. Just look at all these female celebrities who claim not to be feminists! They are afraid to be seen as extremists who seek to overthrow men. These women are in a position to have their voices heard but they waste it. This is why to me, feminism is about reclaiming its cause. The misappropriation of subverting men doesn’t sit well with me. At the same time, I refuse to accept inequality against women. Many times in the past my opinions were dismissed because I wasn't a guy. This needs to stop. Just because I'm a woman, doesn't mean I'm any less intelligent.

I call myself a feminist because I want to live in world where people are treated equally regardless of color, gender, or sexuality; I want to live in a world where people are treated equally because we are all human beings not because of some label on a birth certificate. Gay marriage recently became legal in the United States and people are making steps toward change. We live in the 21st century, where more people are getting more chances and opportunities that would’ve been absurd in the past. 

Why can’t women’s equal rights be next?

Feminism: What it Means and How I Mean it

"Does that mean you hate men?" 
"So you think women are above others?"

These are the questions you would be probed with if you associate yourself with feminism. The negative connotations that come with the ideology are immense and couldn't be farther from the truth.

Feminism (n): the belief that all people are entitled to the same civil rights and liberties and can be intellectual equals regardless of gender.

Throughout my life, I have identified as an equalist. Until high school, feminism was a term I knew only in passing. But when you look at what they mean, you see that both feminism and equalism have similar goals.

Equalism (n): the belief that men and women of any race are equal, and should be treated so.

It is too obvious why feminism is seen in a negative light. The attribute is, subjectively, grouped with phrases like "female superiority" and "male hate". A word, a string of letters that sound like a bunch of aggressive women spewing hate on men like their top priority. No way.

Does being a lifelong equalist also make me a feminist? More or less. Do I call myself a feminist? I don't deny that I am when asked but if I'm asked to identify myself, as always, I claim equalism. The word explains itself and it has been my surname for what seems like forever.

Feminism is important to me because I believe in equality, and feminism is all about equality. Not just for genders (of which there are more than two), but for sexualities, and races, and everyone that does not fit into the distorted “norms” that society has created over the ages. Feminism is important to me because it gives a name to what I believe in. Not just equality between men and women, but equal opportunity, respect, empowerment, and recognition that these things do not currently exist for everyone. That they need to. That they should.

I call myself a feminist because STEM fields can be a real boy’s club: gender ratios, pay gaps, and how women scientists are perceived. I want to encourage more science-loving girls to pursue fields that people think are “for boys.” Strike down the idea that a woman scientist isn’t as smart or logical or analytical as her male colleagues! Maybe it’s because they think we’re too #DistractinglySexy. 
Ana's full post #ICallMyselfAFeminist: Women in STEM fields is incredibly inspiring so don't forget to check it out!

Do you identify as a feminist? Why?

Do you believe that inclusiveness in feminism AKA Intersectional Feminism is important? Who is your favorite feminist icon?

Have you read I Call Myself A Feminist yet? You can also check out my (rambling somewhat coherent) review of I Call Myself A Feminist.
Feminists, I'd love to hear you thoughts! So tweet @wordcontessa or comment with your thoughts below - I can't wait to hear from you. <3

You can also join the #ICallMyselfAFeminist hashtag (courtesy of Virago Booksand show your support!


  1. Thank you so much for having me (and for putting up with my rambling, haha) I love this initiative and everyone's respond to it!

    1. Thank you for participating, Mel! I know right? It's amazing. <3

  2. I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH. *hugs post* And basically yes yes and yes to all of these opinions. I am utterly a feminist and I wish there was equality so bad. Gah. It pains me that so much sexist stuff happens and gets brushed over, like it's ingrained in our cultures and just BLAH. It needs to end. I particularly love Mel's section there. YAYYY MEL!!

    1. It was pretty awesome hearing these wonderful ladies identify as feminists - Speaking out against these kind of discrimination is the first step in bringing about change. Haha, Mel just rocked it, didn't she? ;)

  3. This is such a wonderful post with so many amazing viewpoints and bloggers! I definitely think equality is important, whether that is race, religion, gender, etc. Feminism has definitely changed a lot in recent times and it's more about providing equal rights and a safe environment for all. While we've come a long way, sadly I think we still have a ways to go because like Mel said, some men think it's still okay to treat women like sexual objects and to treat us like we're the "weaker" sex. But that is not true at all.

    1. It's frankly shocking how many people are discriminated against because of silly prejudices. I agree, Jeann while the feminist movement has brought about a lot of change there is still a long way to go.

  4. So much love for this post.
    It's great to hear the roars of so many bloggers around the community and hopefully it'll help open the eyes of others who stumble upon it. It's so ridiculous to have people equate feminism with "hating men," like Asiya said, when it's just equality for everybody. More people should be aware of this!

    1. Raising awareness is incredibly important in the feminist movement and I'm glad to have given the book blogging community a chance to voice their opinions. Thanks for stopping by, Aila! :)

  5. WOOOO YES I LOVE THIS POST! I apologise immensely for not replying to your email and am extremely honoured you ask (my e-mails were down for a while which meant I couldn't reply..and then forgot..until I saw this post and mentally slapped myself). I AGREE WITH ALL THESE SO MUCH. <3

  6. Yesss! I love this post! I totally agree with all these opinions and I would definitely call myself a feminist :)


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