Three cheers for feminism!
We were thrilled to find out that Elle UK will soon be publishing a feminism issue. The magazine recently announced that it has chosen Emma Watson for its forthcoming cover; she’ll be pictured with the headline, “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like.” We couldn’t be more excited! The magazine has also published an online gallery of stars in “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” t-shirts.
Recently, celebrities of all stripes, including Watson, have been “coming out” as feminists—Aziz Ansari! Taylor Swift! Beyonce!—and we’ve been inspired by their courageous claiming of the name.
While we’ve long known that a majority of American women consider themselves feminists—a 1986 poll found that 56 percent of women identified with the term, and polls since have shown that two-thirds of young women feel the same—the “f-word” is clearly having a pop-culture moment right now.
In the spirit of Emma Watson’s and other celebrities’ feminist declarations, we asked our readers—many longtime activists and some brand new to the women’s movement—why they call themselves feminists. Read some of their answers below then share yours in the comments.
“Because I want my daughters and sons to have the best chances to select the careers and lifestyles they want, without judgement, harassment or unfair pay.” — Marie Dale
“I do not as a woman want be a doormat in our patriarchal society.” — Anne-Marie Nenzell
“I am a 57-year-old black woman: it was and still is required. My mother was a feminist and Shirley Chisholm was, too, I like to follow the footsteps of great women.” — Mentha Manning
“Because when my mother told me women should not talk about sex, politics or religion, I had my first click moment and asked ‘Why not?’ I’ve been talking about all of those subjects ever since.” — Rebecka Woodward
“When I was in middle school I told my guidance counselor that I wanted to be a doctor; I was told a nurse is more appropriate. Not that nursing is an issue; sexism is the issue.” — Susan Clerici
“Because queer women of color are still grossly underrepresented in STEM and that’s not OK.” — Kristan Culbert
“Because I’m raising a little girl and a young man. I want my daughter to have a better outlook on her life and better opportunities and equality than I have experienced. I want my son to respect women as equals and to be able to recognize and take a stand against oppressive or offensive behavior (for the rest of his life).” — Debbie Ermolov
“Because my sisters and I deserve more than what the current state of things affords us. Because fuck gender roles and stereotypes. Because I want to feel safe in public when I’m alone. Because this is my world but I’m treated like a an unwanted guest.” — Analí Vargas
If you want to literally wear your feminist pride on your sleeve, pick up one the Feminist Majority Foundation’s original “This Is What a Feminist Looks” Like t-shirts then tweet us a photo of yourself using the hashtag #WhatAFeministLooksLike.
Get Ms. in your inbox! Click here to sign up for the Ms. newsletter.
Photo via Elle UK