What Is Feminism To A Millennial?

In light of the recent celebration for International Women’s Day, I thought I could write up a piece on what exactly feminism mean to me and also revitalise what its actual significance is, because it seems as though all the controversy regarding feminism and the celebration of female power resurfaces when it comes to the day of celebration.

What, is it fashionable to be feminist now? Tweet or Instagram your solidarity for women all over the world even if you don’t fully understand the theoretical work behind it. Snapchat doing its part by including the ‘International Women’s Day’ (IWD) filters which most seem to be mindlessly using. They’re still showing their solidarity after all and raising consciousness on a mass level. But are some posts just a token gesture? Not really invested in what IWD stands for.

Then there’s the issue of ‘anti-feminists’ coming through. People who make an issue out of some people being feminist and some not being. I saw several posts today saying things like ‘sad women’s day’ which at first I thought is being somewhat supportive, the fact that women still have to fight for their rights in the 21st century but then the posts proceeded to actually belittle feminism. Almost questioning why an IWD exists, as though women are simply crying for attention. But all this discourse just distracts us from why such a day needs to exist. Without doubt, the term ‘feminism’ or even being a supporter of women’s right without officially and explicitly categorising yourself as a feminist has become increasingly controversial. Some of the posts I’ve seen, I wouldn’t even categorise it as ‘anti-feminist’ because I think with some people they simply have a problem with being categorised as feminist or anti-feminist or even feminist-neutral, if that term even exists. The notion of being categorised is what some seem to be against but I ask why? Upon having conversations with some supposedly anti-feminists, their reasoning goes along the lines ‘its sad we celebrate IWD because women’s worth should be understood as an intrinsic part of society’ or ‘that’s the way it is, you can’t fight reality’. In that sense, why are they against those who do attempt to fight against reality.

Or do people feel ashamed to class theirselves as feminist because they don’t know enough about it? As with many other ideologies, feminism is one that knows not only one angle but many angles. It speaks for gender equality and gender differences, for women of color, for lesbianism, homosexual relations, transgender experiences, socio-economic variations – it is not a fixed category and is forever changing in its attempts to be inclusive. I do not intend to create any fixed categorises of identity nor am I attempting to brush away the flaws of feminism but my point is that feminism, can be to you what you will it to be. It can speak to you the way you want it to. There seems to be this consciousness that feminism is men-hating and if men join women’s rights causes, then they are being robbed of their masculinity. But fighting for women’s rights is not a one-way street, its a broad platform that encompasses many issues.

Though such discussion remains important, its beneficial for those who want to portray feminism as ‘confused and uncertain’. But just because there is a shift of priorities according to individual circumstances, it does not mean that understandings of the fundamental principles behind feminism have changed. So its fashionable to be feminist. Or fashionable to portray feminism as something that fights over petty issues. Or to position it as redundant to the millennial because we no longer need active legislative change. So where does the issue of fighting for women’s rights stand? But isn’t it equally important to talk about these ‘petty’ issues?

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