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Feminism: a Dirty Word?

When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said she doesn’t consider herself a feminist, I thought: How is it possible that such an intelligent woman could say that? To be honest, I immediately lost a certain amount of respect for her.

Then I started thinking: WHY would she say that?


Let’s start with this: What does feminism make you think of?

Burning bras? Extremism? Hairy arm pits?
A jaded and unattractive woman in a pant suit? A beautiful women in a sundress?

Chances are you only thought of the first four. Am I right?

Now, what does feminism mean?

A movement to help women be seen, treated and respected as equals to men.

What does a feminist really look like?

Me. My husband. All of my friends (simply because I wouldn’t be friends with someone who thinks women are second class citizens and deserve less respect than a man.) Women and men in all industries, who dress well and shave their pits (or don’t – to each their own!)

How did we get this distorted idea of what a feminist is?

In North America, the media and advertising have traditionally been industries run by men. It’s a fact that when the male-dominated printed media doesn’t like something, they find many ways to subtly (and not-so-subtly) demonize it. It’s also a fact that the media is one of the most (arguably THE most) thought-altering force in humans lives.

What can we do?

If the word feminism has been dirtied by the media, we can spend our time fighting over the meaning of that word, or we can choose to describe what we believe in more accurately: The Women’s Rights Movement, or The Equal Rights Movement.

Here’s an interesting TED Talk (made famous because Beyonce used part of it in a song), about what feminism means:

What do you think?

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