The Definition of Feminism

Recently I had someone ask me a question that, sadly, I get asked far too often.

The conversation started like this:

Random guy: "What made you move to LA?" --> this is everyone's favorite question to ask anyone who ins't from California which is, basically everyone.  

Me: "Oh, I'm a writer."

"Oh cool, what do you write?  Screenplays?"  --> everyone always assumes every writer is a screenwriter.

"No, I write novels, short stories, poetry, I have a blog."

"What's your blog about?"

At this point I always pause, trying to gauge whether my answer will evoke confusion, fury, support, or something else entirely.  It's like a fun little game: when I say the word "feminist" will this person - guy, girl, whoever - run in the opposite direction/hug me/scowl/laugh?

"I write for girls and women.  Girl-centric, girl-power stories."

Pause.  I wait a moment to drop the f-word.

But he cuts in first, "Oh, but you're not, like, a feminist right (1)?  Because supporting women's rights and being a feminist are totally different (2).  You're not one of those feminist nazis are you (3)?  Do you hate men (4)?"

Unfortunately, I was at work and wasn't able to kick this guy or throw something at him.

Instead I looked him in the eye, "Yeah I'm a feminist."  Then I walked away.  I probably should have made more of a scene, but in the moment I was so upset that I was being asked those questions (and not for the first time), that I had to get the hell away before I freaked out.

But, for the sake of anyone who wants to know the answers to his questions, here ya go:

1. Yes, I'm a feminist.

2. Actually, supporting women's rights is synonymous to being a feminist.

3. UGH.  Seriously?!?!?!?!

4. No, I don't hate all men.  Just men like you.  (Okaaay, I don't actually hate him, I hate his idea of feminism).

Grrr.  I'm so tired of it being assumed that feminists are these man-hating, heartless, crazy people.  Anyone who thinks that clearly doesn't know any actual feminists.

On this same note, there's been a recent surge of women - WOMEN! - fighting AGAINST feminism.  Members of one group in particular - "Women Against Feminism" - have been posting photos holding signs declaring, "I don't need feminism because…"  Then they give a slew of reasons, like, "because the men in my life care about and respect me."  Um, okay, so do mine.  As a feminist, I only surround myself with that kind of man.  Or, "I don't need feminism because I believe in equality, not entitlement and supremacy."  Why the heck do people hold on to this completely inaccurate notion that feminism means despising men and trying to reduce their rights?  We just want to be equal goddammit.  I love men, I have no intention of destroying them.  I just want to get paid the same amount, not get raped, and not be denied basic humans rights because I have a vagina.  A lot of these anti-feminism women are actually feminists - they're just extremely uninformed about what modern feminism is.  It's really unfortunate, because these gals are forwarding negative ideas and conceptions of feminism - none of which are actually accurate.

So men and wome) do everyone a favor and educate yourself on what it means to be a feminist.  Open your mind to the idea that women are fighting for their basic rights and that being pro-women is a positive, amazing thing.