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Does the Word "Feminist" Make You Cringe?

Does the Word "Feminist" Make You Cringe?

This may sound like an out-of-date question for the long beleaguered word, but as I said Wednesday, the word "feminism" is increasingly meaningless. Gen Y women grew up reaping the movement's benefits, while Gen Xers, though they benefited too, were berated by those who fought the fight. Hatred for the word is kind of a like a dog whistle — a noise only some can hear!

Today, the new owner of Venus Zine, a publication that began in 1995 with the mission of covering "women in music, art, film, fashion, and DIY culture because not a lot of other publications do," said she wants to distance the magazine from feminism, the word. Her rationalization seems to be the magazine can capture a bigger audience by talking about powerful women without being explicitly feminist. Judy Berman, at Salon's Broadsheet, is upset over its new direction, saying the magazine is crumbling to economic pressure and trying to attract as many people as possible. Maybe! But that certainly sounds better than the entire magazine crumbling.

Double X's Jessica Grose pinpoints the problem: it's not with the idea of feminism or its ideals but with the word and its ever-changing definition. She says, "Either feminism is something with a less-than-specific meaning that can be used broadly, or it's something with a very particular ideology that should not be used so casually."

So does the word drive you crazy?
Source: Flickr User quinn.anya

Blackwood Blackwood 7 years
yes - to me it's just like old-fashioned sexism, only inverted. I think that the healthy middle ground attittude wouldn't be attached to any "-ism".
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
I'm proud to be a feminist - I know what the word means, and how to use it - However, in my writing about the wage gap and glass ceiling here at onsugar (Tressugar actually featured the post last week, but you can find it on my blog at I got my first harassing comments from a group of men who think Feminism is evil/making women less feminine/etc. They also, side note, think that the wage gap is because women don't like to work. Definitely check out the posts I did on them as well... if it wasn't so scary that there are men like this it would be funny -
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
No. I took a Women's Studies course in college, really enlightening. I'm officially a Feminist :)
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
Hypnoticmix you're right the word has lost its edge. I've never been directly discriminated against for being a woman, so I guess I don't put too much thought into it. Like nyxmoxie, I consider myself more of a humanist. That being said, like Venus I love being feminine and sexy. I feel like 'feminine' and 'feminist' have taken on opposite meanings.
ayuninur ayuninur 7 years
It doesn't make me cringe..
Venus1 Venus1 7 years
I'm proud to be a lipstick wearing, make up wearing skirt wearing (not always but often) fashion loving feminist.
nyxmoxie nyxmoxie 7 years
I voted depends. There are some great balanced feminists, and there are some women who use it as a movement for misandry. Personally, I'm a humanist. I believe in fighting for the rights of all men and women. I don't read feminist literature because in my opinion they tend to be one sided.
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 7 years
When it excludes the contributions and issues of women of color, yeah I cringe.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
"Sure, there are some women who advocate for the destruction of all males, but there are so few of them." I made the point on a citizen4.0 blog that all extremists have one thing in common regardless of group or issue. They hijack the real message.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
Yeah, it kinda does. I usually just don't use it.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
It doesn't make me cringe, but I'm always afraid I might be using the word in the wrong way, or it might be taken the wrong way, so I've always tiptoed around it.
a-million-suns a-million-suns 7 years
It truly saddens me that feminism has come to have a negative connotation for many people. They think feminist = man-hating radical, when feminism is really about equality. Sure, there are some women who advocate for the destruction of all males, but there are so few of them. There are some radical Christians who murder people for their supposed cause, but nobody thinks that that means that all Christians are extreme, horrible people. And I don't consider extremists like that to really be feminists anyway because they obviously don't support equality. Most people who call themselves feminists don't hate men at all. It's the culture of patriarchy that they don't like, which harms both women AND men because it places us all in such narrow and constricting roles. Men also are expected to conform to certain norms, and it leads to a lot of psychological and often even physical harm. *Steps off her soapbox*
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
IMO the word is a sword for women's justice that has lost it's edge. It no longer cuts as effectively as it use to therefor you must fashion a new one. The message is the same and the message should never change but by what means you wield the message will change from time to time.
bryseana bryseana 7 years
I don't like the way the word is interpreted as an angry, man-hating woman. I love men, but I like discussing equality for women, etc..There are still a lot of issues concerning women that need to be recognized.
wassy988 wassy988 7 years
I used to be extremely offended by the word feminist, thinking of only the negative connotations designated to the activities of getting woman's rights. Now, I accept the term gratefully to be part of the feminism activity. I know I'm just fighting for rights to be equal with all else, and that's a true feminist.
rosealike rosealike 7 years
there are different types of feminism. the most modern version is mostly about gender equality. what's wrong with that?
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
No, the definition of that word seems subjective.
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