By Gaby Martinez
There is much to be said about those who are ready and willing to take on the label of “feminist”. Ownership of the term takes a certain amount of courage considering the unconscious consumption of stereotypes and recent scrutiny the Women’s Movement. Its loaded term now than ever and it’s difficult to see the end of the tunnel where this no longer a reality. As a consequence the movement has lost some traction, along with potential female recruits out of fear of being branded a hairy-pitted “feminazi.”
For the most part, for our generation (speaking for 90’s babies and millennials), Feminism is cool. Cue Lena Dunham, Amber Rose, empowerment buttons, t-shirts, the death of razors and the liberation of the nipple. In her 2016 book, “We Were Feminists Once,” Andi Heisler of Bitch Magazine explores this new appeal of feminism in the 21st century. As she summarizes her own thesis, it is “an exploration of how the new embrace of marketplace feminism — mediated, decoupled from politics, staunchly focused on individual experience and actualization — dovetails with entrenched beliefs about power, about activism, about who feminists are and what they do.” The center of focus has shifted, she argues, from activism to expression.
A potentially damning consequence of this kind of media saturation is the stance some women are willing to take in response. Some women are more willing and ready to assume they no longer “need” feminism. The hyper-focus of individual experience brings with it the possibility of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In this scenario, the baby is the expense of women as a group and diverse community. Overall, this might be an issue of how we phrase the question. Sure, maybe “I” don’t need feminism. However, the real question remains and is harder to answer: Who does? Unfortunately, this might require some tedious consideration of what feminism most certainly is not.