Social commentary and think pieces

16 February 2019

The reluctant feminist

From a young age I have always been somewhat aware of my opinions and I’ve never shied away from vocalising my thoughts to the people close to me. Whilst some of my opinions are less well-formed than others, the one belief that I have always advocated - no matter what -  is the belief that people should be treated equally, whatever their sex. To put it simply - I’ve always believed in feminism. 

Feminism was something I first became properly aware of at the age of twelve. Immediately I took an interest and began to consider myself as a feminist. To me it seemed like an no-brainer. I believed in equal rights and was conscious, to some extent, of the inequalities and issues women and young girls faced globally. So why shouldn’t I be a feminist? 

By definition, a feminist is ‘a person who supports feminism’. Whilst I’m aware that, for some, referring to yourself as a ‘feminist’ can seem daunting (especially for those who aren't yet certain of their political beliefs)  I’ve been wondering lately, why so many people who support the movement are so reluctant to call themselves feminists?

In some sense, I think there is a sense that the term should be reserved for those activiely promoting the cause, which makes people disinclined to refer to themselves as feminists. Maybe, associated with feminism there is some kind of notion that you must be attending women’s marches, reading feminist literature and openly spreading the feminist message. The idea that unless you’re actively trying to make a difference, you're not a ‘real’ feminist is one I am very much inclined to disagree with. From my perspective, feminism means something different to each and every person, according to their own experiences of life. Therefore, how you go about being a feminist is something each and every person will do differently. Whether you want to be the kind of feminist taking more extreme measures in the fight for equality, or if you’re a quieter feminist who chooses to make smaller changes - wherever on the spectrum you choose to place yourself, you’re still a ‘real’ feminist.  As the definition states, a feminist is simply ‘a person who supports feminism’.

Amongst the misinterpretations and fear of commitment to the movement, I’ve also recently noticed a sense of shame from a lot of girls who support the movement, which leads to them refraining from calling themselves a feminist. This is something, I am ashamed to say, that I am guilty of myself. Just the other day I was asked if I identified as a feminist and I frowned and shook my head. After doing so I instantly felt a pang of guilt, simply because I realised if we aren't open about our political beliefs then how can we expect change?

I think, for me, the reason for denying my feminist beliefs was because of the judgemental tone the guy who asked me so clearly had in his voice. I feared that admitting to believing that I should be treated the same as my male counterparts would prompt streams of questions and, of course, judgement. This is a clear reminder that the stereotypes society have created surrounding the feminist movement aren't something of the past. The misinterpretations and ideas that feminists are purely angry women, burning their bras isn’t just something of the just suffragette era, the stereotype very much lives on today. 

The judgement that follows on from these completely ridiculous stereotypes has caused me to deny identifying as a feminist and has no doubt caused other likeminded people to do the same. The problem is as much the stereotypes as it is people like me giving in to that fear of judgement. If we continue to pretend we aren't feminists, simply because of the incorrect ideas others have of the movement, then we are essentially giving in to the patriarchy and those who choose to believe in these stereotypes will never see just how much feminism positively impacts everyone. I say, if you are a feminist, champion that title.


  1. Love the topics you write about, keep up the good work girl!

  2. I'm with the previous commentator, you go girl!
    And you're so spot on here; the old stereotype of feminists being angry, bitter bitches venting their frustration at everything that moves couldn't be more old-fashioned. Feminism isn't just about men and women's equality, but everybody's equality. Whem some1 asks me if I'm a feminist I can't think of any other answer except "of course I am, I have no choice". By answering anything else I'd basically be peeing in my own cereals. xx

    Teresa | 💫

    1. Thank you SO much! I completely agree- the old stereotypes do have an impact on the views of people in todays society. But, hopefully with educating a new generation on what feminist actually is, those stereotypes will be something of the past xx

  3. Loved this post! Very interesting ♡


  4. I agree! Sometimes I feel the media trivialises the movement by pretending all we care about is that traffic lights have a symbol of a man on it and not a woman I feel that people misinterpret what it means to be a feminist all the time so I'll keep calling myself one and keep explaining to them what it really means.

    xx Sham

  5. I feel like the 'feminist' label gets such bad press, but hopefully the stereotype will change xx

    Gemma • Gemma Etc . ❤️

  6. This is such an important topic and you've touched on it so well! I definitely would say I'm a feminist as I believe in equal rights for everyone, whether you're a man or woman. I think it's such a shame that the whole feminist label gets such negative comments and associates and that men think it's an insult to their masculinity, but that could not be further from the truth of what the movement actually means xx

    Lauren |

    1. For sure! There is such a misconception surrounding feminism, especially as a threat to masculinity. Thats probably where the word 'feminazi' has originated from. Its such a shame that the misconceptions lead to a lack of understanding of the movements true goals. It drives me insane that people can't understand that feminism is for EVERYBODY! xx

  7. You are definitely saying the truth and I agree with you on this. very interesting and thanks for sharing.
    The Glossychic
    Wonder Cottage

  8. I found this very interesting. I definitely think there is judgement towards those calling themselves a feminist which stops others from voicing their opinions.

    Louise xx Louise Loves Beauty

  9. I loved this post! I honestly don't understand why people are so scared of referring to themselves as a 'feminist'. The media has painted such a negative connotation of it, by making anything and everything about equal rights. It's such a shame, because everyone should be a feminist, it's a given. Why wouldn't you want women to have equal rights as men? xx

  10. Being a feminist is a matter of liberation. No one will know that more than people who discovered feminism later in life.


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