First, a disclaimer. I actually really don’t like calling anyone wrong. It's not my place to judge what's right or wrong for you in your life. I would prefer to say, “Six Signs That the Choices You Are Making Surrounding Feminism May Not Be Creating the Results You’re Looking For”, but that’s way too long and really not catchy at all. So on with the show.
1.) You’re devaluing other women for their life choices. We women face enough judgment already, don’t you think? From the way we dress to how our bodies look to how little or how much we speak up. Do you think maybe we could stop judging each other for staying at home/ not staying at home? For taking that promotion that would bring in more money/ not taking that promotion that would take us away from our kids so much? For working in a male-dominated field/ working in a female-dominated field? Just give it up already. Those life choices are up to the individual woman to make about her own life, and no one else needs to have an opinion about it. And this goes for feminist researchers as well. Who was it who decided that our paychecks determined our worth as individuals? I never agreed to that. It’s a very masculine measuring tool if you ask me. So more women are choosing lower paying jobs—jobs that offer more flexibility and less stress, mind you. Have you ever thought of using life satisfaction instead of the number on a paycheck to determine how women are doing in the workforce—and outside of it? Making sure that choices and encouragement are there for women is vital. Judging them for choosing happiness over dollar signs is ridiculous.
2.) You’re putting down other women for how they look. Yeah, as stated above, we face enough judgment. We don’t need to be judging each other for looking too girlie/ not girlie enough. Too fat/ too skinny. Too much/ not enough make-up. Heels/ flats/ panty hose/ shaping undergarments… ugh. Just stop it already. Just. Stop. It.
3.) You have an opinion on what another woman does with her body hair. Really? Do I have to elaborate on this one? NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
4.) You make men feel like they can’t do anything right. Unlike other groups who face oppression, unless you’re living in a lesbian feminist commune, we really do have to deal with the group which has been our historical oppressor just about every day of our lives. Many of us even choose to live with men and are raising little versions of them. It really doesn’t do anyone any good to see men as the enemy and to make them feel horrible about themselves. Opening a dialogue where everyone can feel safe to bring up concerns, clear up misunderstandings, and yes, even question the fairness and validity of your stances will get others on your side and move the cause of women forward. Valuing the masculine over the feminine for thousands of years is what got this culture out of balance. Bringing it back into balance should be the goal, not creating another imbalance. Sometimes we need to make spaces where the feminine is valued more, yes, but always in service of bringing things back into balance. And always with an inclusive spirit that welcomes and values the contributions that all humans have to make.
5.) You’re using the very masculine energies of domination and aggression to berate people into doing what you think is right for the women’s movement. In some situations domination and aggression are the tools that need to be used, and women should use them to get what they want and need in the world, just like men do. But they are not the tools that will be successful in bringing balance to a culture that already places far too much value on those very masculine energies to start with. Women, and people in general, are allowed to disagree with you about what is the best course of action needed to move toward equality. And in response to those differing opinions, how about showing those who disagree with you just how valuable the feminine energies of compassion and creativity are in solving problems and resolving differences? What if we created safe and nurturing places for both men and women to reach their full human potential? Wouldn’t that be amazing?
6.) And the biggest sign you’re doing feminism wrong? YOU’RE DRIVING WOMEN AWAY FROM FEMINISM. For reasons listed above and more, many smart, progressive, equality-minded women of all ages are starting to shy away from the word “feminist”. There are some amazing women out there trying to reclaim both the word and the movement, and hallelujah to that. But if your attitude is so off-putting, your stances so immutable, your opinions so freaking holier-than-thou that reasonable, intelligent women want nothing to do with you… then you are part of the problem. And you need to just stop.