The Truth About Feminism
And why we're bringing it back!
Why the backlash against a movement that helped women win the right to vote, and has continued to fight for their social and economic equality?
In her book, Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female With the Mass Media, Susan J. Douglas writes (with a great deal of irony) that "we all know what feminists are. They are shrill, overly aggressive, man-hating, ball-busting, selfish, hairy, extremist, deliberately unattractive women with absolutely no sense of humor who see sexism at every turn. … Feminists are relentless, unforgiving, and unwilling to bend or compromise; they are singlehandedly responsible for the high divorce rate, the shortage of decent men, and the unfortunate proliferation of Birkenstocks in America."
The problem is that we have let the opposition (think: Rush Limbaugh, who coined the term "feminazi") define our brand. So, it's no wonder that women—and men—want to distance themselves from feminism rather than embrace it.
The first step in redefining what it means to be a feminist is fairly simple: Look up its meaning. When participants in the Economist/YouGov Poll were given a dictionary definition of "feminist" (someone who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes), the number of people who would call themselves "feminists" jumped from 23 percent to 57 percent.