If You Are A Feminist, You Should Call Yourself One, Regardless Of Your Gender

Over at The Fivefold Path, Jeff wrote that he thinks men should call themselves pro-feminists, rather than feminists.

I responded,

Interesting.  I’m a lady, and a feminist, and not a radical feminist according to the accepted meaning of radical feminist within the community, though I may be radical in some ways.  And… it actually annoys me when men who hold feminists beliefs refuse to call themselves feminists.  I think I understand your reasons for doing so, but in general, when I see a man calling himself a feminist ally instead of a feminist, it makes me think that he is trying to separate himself from feminism and from being too identified with women and womanly things.  By assigning himself a different label, it seems like he is saying he isn’t on board with what feminism is– that he must differentiate himself from using a term that normally denotes female, which reflects on the normal trend of men dissociating themselves from the stereotypically or superficially feminine.

I do think the word feminist loses something when people use it incorrectly, but I don’t think that one’s sex or gender automatically causes them to be using it incorrectly.  Rather, it’s the Sarah Palins of the world who are calling themselves feminists when they ought not be.

I wish more people who believed in women and women’s rights, in equality, and in an end to a patriarchal system of government and enforced societal codes of patriarchal living would call themselves feminists.  Maybe then women who haven’t learned much about feminism wouldn’t be scared away from learning more.