I have found that claiming to be a feminist is kind of a loaded statement. People cringe and look uncomfortable as if you were voicing a preference for raw meat on a hamburger or jumping off a trampoline onto your head to see if you could break your neck. Being a feminist is nothing more than believing that women are people, too, and should be treated with the respect and deference to the dignity and personhood of a woman that is due to any human, as is their right. Women’s rights are human rights.
Does that mean I hate men, blame men, sit around burning bras or whining about the patriarchy? Nope. Men are pretty cool– not to mention cute, useful, and, usually, totally nice humans to know. My being a feminist means I take complete responsibility for my own actions, as any adult should. I need to blame no one for my situation but myself. (Also, I need my bra.) Patriarchy might not be the ideal situation, but its where I started; its where you started. Patriarchy is still the dominant culture. I don’t need to whine. I need to get to work.
I see feminism simply. To me, feminism means being supportive and accepting of women and men who are working to better their situations and opposing any action, program, or cultural movement which attempts to devalue, diminish, or objectify me and other women. I’m not an object. I’m a human being, and, paraphrasing CS Lewis, that’s honor enough for the lowliest beggar to stand with pride. I am a woman. I am a human being. I am a person. So are you.
Don’t be afraid of the word “feminism”. Be afraid of the fear of “feminism.”