Because you are telling people in a personal freedom movement how to behave.
You’re telling women that to be True Feminists, they must act in certain ways. That their pride in being women is enough to get them through. I hate to break it to you, but that isn’t enough. Just because you are proud to be a woman doesn’t mean that men will see you as another person. Just because you are proud of your womanhood won’t get male politicians out of reproductive choices. Just because you are proud of being a woman, doesn’t mean that medical tests will also be done on women rather than solely on male patients.
You are not the arbiter of what makes a feminist. No one is. Feminism is a broad group of women and men and everything in between and off to the side. By saying “Oh, so and so is inconsistent with their language, they aren’t a REAL feminist like me…” you are ignoring the fact that they may have a long ways to go in their activism. You are ignoring the fact that they may have had different experiences than you. You are ignoring the fact that just because you disagree with how things should be done that they are no less passionate than you.
While I deplore the use of man hating tactics, this similar broad brush stroke of “Fake feminist” is naive at best, and hurtful at worst. You are telling people how to behave or they do not belong to the same movement, and that, quite frankly, is horrible.
Feminism isn’t pretty. No equality movement is. The Civil Rights movement was as much defined by MLK Jr. as it was the Black Panthers. Yeah, MLK Jr. was more peaceful, but you can’t say the Black Panthers were not a part of the civil rights movement just because you disliked their strategies.
By defining what YOU think a feminist should be, you are being short sighted and ignoring the fact that sometimes, we need the rock ’em, sock ’em, passionate if flawed feminists on our side. They aren’t our enemy. They are part of us. We may not agree and we may have different ideas, but by creating an us against them mentality, you hurt everyone who is a feminist and who could be a feminist.
I don’t want to see a movement that I deeply identify with to be pulled apart by someone defining what makes you a real feminist. Stacy Ann Chin and I have very little in common, in terms of looks, behavior, temperament, and some ideas. But we’re both working towards the same goals and therefore, we are allies in a larger movement for equal rights for all. Taking that away is unconscionable.
So, Angry Feminists, Feminazis, Pop Feminists, Womanists, Book Club Feminists, Academic Feminists, Oprah and all those who I may have forgotten, hear my call. You are my allies, and while we may not always agree, we are moving towards the same goal, and that means I accept you. Hopefully one day we’ll lay down our arms and say “At last, we are considered equals.”
(This was written in response to a reddit thread, it’s not relevant which one, in my opinion, so I’m not going to bother to link. I apologize for the lack of my promised posts. Suddenly I got extremely and unexpectedly busy. Maybe I’ll get to them later when I have gotten more sleep.)