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Feminism: Defining or Dividing

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“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute.”
Rebecca West, Young Rebecca: Writings, 1911-1917

You might laugh when you read Rebecca West’s quote but I understand exactly what she means. A quick Google search of “I’m not a feminist” will garner thousands of results of women going back and forth surrounding the use of this word.

Recently, Meryl Streep, Shailene Woodley, and Marion Cotillard, all announced that they are not feminists and the backlash from those statements was significant.

In a recent HuffPost article, the author attempts to define the word, “feminist” for everyone and even says, “if you believe in basic gender equality, SURPRISE, you’re probably a feminist!”

What I suggest, what I am proposing, what I am urging is that the use of the word really doesn’t matter. Does it really matter if I use the word, “feminist” as long as I love my larger than size zero body, work my a** off in a male-dominated industry of entertainment to prove everyday that I deserve every penny that a man will earn without even asking and produce a web series about female empowerment and women having a voice and using that voice?

I think not.

Where there is no unity, there is no progress. And my momma always told me, “Actions speak louder than words”.

I think we have to be careful that this “word” (that is suppose to unify us and give us strength) doesn’t completely tear us apart. I so often feel we are in a battle of the “feminists” vs. the “non-feminists”; and, if we are spending our time fighting internally and attempting to define each other with one word, then who is fighting the real fight?

And if we lose that fight, “men” don’t win. Future generations of women to come will lose. Now I ask you — is an 8-letter word really worth all of that?

From the Desk of Tara Johnson

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