Are we afraid to be feminists?

I used to be. A recent article on Salon.com looked at two influential women who do not identify as feminists. Katy Perry, someone who has been rocking out the girl power in her music and media presence, does not identify as a feminist. Instead, she “supports strong women”. The other, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, stated in a recent interview that “ “I’m not at all an active feminist. On the contrary, I’m a bourgeois. I love family life, I love doing the same thing every day.”

I am not even going to address Bruni-Sarkozy’s statement. You don’t have to be a childless CEO to be a feminist, but this article poses an interesting question. Are women afraid to be feminists? I’m no expert on the subject, but I think it should garner some attention given the fact that the future of feminism lays in the hands of, well, women. 

As stated earlier, I did not always consider myself a feminist. I fell victim to the stereotype of the bra-burning, man hating radical, and I ran as far away from it as possible. I never really cared much for women anyway, my adolescence was characterized by torturous taunting and slut-bashing, and I wanted to stay as far away as possible from any identification that associated me with women and with that, feminism. And, although I have recently overcome my own fear of feminism, it leaves me wondering where that leaves the rest of the women out there?

More importantly, what can we as feminists do to remove the stigma so many young women are attaching to feminism? How can we show the diversity in what a feminist looks like? Why has the radical stereotype persisted in a time when there is so much diversity in those identifying as feminists? I certainly do not have an answer,  but these are questions that need to be asked as younger generations begin to consider feminism. Will they be afraid to be feminists?

 

 

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