Ever wondered what the signs are that you’re a feminist, and whether you really are one?
Feminist is not a dirty word.
But the patriarchy do their best to smear and belittle feminism, the only way that men (and certain women) with a male superiority complex can.
The only reason the word “feminist” exists, is because certain people don’t believe men and women are entitled to equal rights.
If you do believe in equal rights, equal pay, and the end of rape culture, then I’m here to tell you you’re a feminist.
Welcome to the club where we fight for a world in which women are seen as human beings.
Here are 21 signs you’re a feminist, and proud of it
1. Adverts targeting women making you angry
Fashion and beauty campaigns continue to dictate to us what women should look like, and sell us a pile of garbage we don’t really need, on the promise it will “fix” our lives, and complete us.
Newsflash: we don’t need fixing. And we’re already whole.
Don’t get me started on the ads for cosmetic surgery, diet pills and diarrhoea teas.
Adverts teach girls and women to hate themselves, then sell us love in the form of lumps of plastic sewn into our chest that increase our risk of cancer.
Even “real beauty” campaigns make you sigh.
It’s all well and good showing us plus size bodies, faces with freckles, and more WOC, but you can’t pretend like you haven’t been selling women hatred for as long as we can remember.
Are we supposed to just forget that instantly, at the sight of a woman that looks more like us?
2. You’re confident & comfortable in the body you came in
You understand that looking good on the outside is all about feeling good within.
You can cut, tuck, and sew your body, pile it with make-up, and wax every single hair from your skin; but you will never feel good enough or beautiful if you don’t feel it on the inside first.
This is the oldest secret in the world, that the patriarchy are trying their damnedest to keep you from finding out. Because once you realise this, they no longer hold any power over you.
3. You’re not ashamed to talk about bleeding each month
Women have cycles. They’re perfectly natural. Actually, they’re more than that, they’re amazing.
Unfortunately, over the years, certain people have done a great job of convincing both men and women that periods (and all other female things) are gross, and the work of the devil.
No lie – there are women in certain parts of the world who actually believe their menstrual blood is a curse from the devil. How heartbreaking is that?
The more we educate other men and women about our natural cycles, the stronger our chances of empowering women worldwide.
4. You’re frustrated by the people in power: old white men
The numbers of women in positions of power are rising, yes. But not quick enough.
In the UK, there has been a total of only 491 female Members of Parliament in the past 100 years.
In the US, women account for only 23.7% of the congress members, and 23.4% serving in the House of Representatives.
What does this mean?
Too many clueless, sexist, white men making decisions about women and our bodies – or completely ignoring us altogether.
5. Your eyes roll anytime you hear sexism, discrimination, or misogyny
“The kitchen is where women belong.”
“You cry like a girl.”
“Women shouldn’t be paid the same as men because they don’t work as hard.”
6. Neither a man, a marriage, nor a baby can define you
Some people believe that a woman’s only job is to be a wife, have babies and look after them, repeat.
There is still a huge stigma if you’re a single, un-married, or childless woman. You can actually notice the pity and sadness in other people’s eyes when you give them the news.
A feminist recognises she is whole on her own. She doesn’t need anyone or anything to feel fulfilled in her life – that comes from within her.
She may desire to be a girlfriend, a wife, or a mother, but she knows there is so much more to her life than this alone.
7. Signs you’re a feminist: You know instead of teaching girls not to get raped, we need to teach boys not to rape
What were you wearing?
Why were you walking on your own so late?
How much had you drunk?
Those are just some of the questions you can expect from the police if you’re a woman who reports a sexual assault.
It puts the responsibility and blame on women, and perpetuates rape culture.
The only way to kill rape culture is to teach boys about women’s rights, mutual respect for both sexes, and that they aren’t entitled to whatever they goddamn please.
8. You point blank refuse to “act like a lady”
From the time we’re little girls, we’re taught to be good. To be sweet, pleasant and accommodating. To think about the needs of everyone around us over our own.
It’s not deemed ladylike to be angry, or to express that rage. To think about yourself and your own needs or desires. Or to talk openly about vaginas, bleeding, or sex. It’s not ladylike to be having too much sex. Or to be assertive or demanding.
Basically, it’s not ladylike to think, say, or do things that men are praised for doing.
9. You wish there were more women of colour… well… EVERYWHERE
You’re at a disadvantage if you’re a woman and you’re born white.
You’re even worse off if you’re a woman and you’re born brown or black.
As an Asian girl who grew up in a white village in England, I noticed (and still notice) the lack of people who look like me – on TV, in the movies, on the covers of fashion magazines, walking the runway, working in positions of power.
Shows like Oprah, The Fresh Prince and America’s Next Top Model were a breath of fresh air, but exceptions to the rule.
One of the signs you’re a feminist is when you understand that white feminism isn’t feminism.
10. Your Father won’t be “giving” you away at your wedding
You might be on board with getting married, but you are not on board with the idea that you are your father’s property to do with as he chooses.
You’re more than capable of walking your fabulous self down the aisle.
11. Signs you’re a feminist: You don’t want to take your partner’s last name
You want to make a commitment to the one you love, but fuck the patriarchal norms of taking the man’s last name.
Why can’t he take yours?
The fact that most men would be shocked by a suggestion like this says a lot about how firmly patriarchy is ingrained in societal norms today.
12. You get frustrated by the lack of education on women’s rights
We believe it’s important to teach kids maths, english, and history at school.
What about HERstory?
What about the witch trials, where more than 13 million women were senselessly murdered?
Or how we’ve been oppressed over the past 2000 years, and continue to be pushed down?
Why aren’t we teaching kids that women are human beings too, just like men?
How come we’re not exploring topics of violence against women, and rape culture?
And why are we failing to teach young boys and girls that girls and women matter?
13. You believe men & women should be paid equally for doing the same job
Because they do THE SAME JOB.
Men are not smarter or superior.
You might argue they’re physically stronger on the whole, and yes, I accept that.
But if you’re going there, I’d argue that women, on the whole, are more emotionally intelligent and receptive.
Men and women both bring their own strengths to the table. We deserve to be paid well for them, and paid equally.
14. Your wardrobe choices are for you, and you alone
If you’re anything like me, you may have grown up hearing comments from parents like:
“You’re not wearing that, are you?”
“You’ll attract the wrong kind of men looking like that?”
“You look cheap.”
But you realise that comments like this are only perpetuating rape culture further, by sexualising girls & women, instilling them with fear and shame over their bodies, and excusing men for being “unable” to control their sexual urges.
You wear whatever makes you feel good, and you wear it for you.
You don’t give a flying one what people might think or say.
15. Signs you’re a feminist: Words like “slut,” “ho,” and “bitch” make you cringe
Have you even seen a movie or listened to a rap song that doesn’t use one of these words in a derogatory sense towards women?
I don’t think I have. Even when they’re used in a seemingly harmless, comedic sense, you still feel insulted as a woman – because you are being insulted.
Words like these have almost entirely replaced the word “women,” for certain groups of boys and men, thus dehumanising us in the process.
16. Your partner is more pro-women than ever since meeting you
- Can’t stop saying patriarchy.
- Notices how women are objectified in ads on the TV.
- Feels uncomfortable and saddened when he sees a woman being catcalled in the street.
- Begins to recognise and empathise with the shit women go through on a daily basis, simply for being women.
- Are ready and willing to do their part in lifting women up, so that both men & women can rise together.
17. Bias school dress codes have got you fuming
I still remember at school us girls were continually told to make sure our skirts weren’t too short, wear smaller heels, make sure we haven’t dropped too many buttons on our shirt, and refrain from wearing a bright coloured bra underneath.
Girls continue to be called out in front of other students for their appearance, and even pulled out of class, on the basis that their body might be distracting to teenage boys who can’t control themselves.
For starters, male teachers need to stay the hell out of this one, because they shouldn’t be sexualising teenage girls.
Secondly, why is is that a boys education is prioritised over a girls education?
18. You’re infuriated by men blaming your emotions on your period
Yes, women have a cycle. Yes, our emotions can be effected by said cycle.
Does that mean any time we’re fuming, crying, or laughing hysterically, it’s because of our period?
And emotions are not a weakness. So quit saying it like our emotions and our periods are a weakness.
They’re actually up there with our greatest strengths.
19. You believe in women’s rights to access sanitary products & birth control
Women bleed every month. That means we need pads and/or tampons to absorb that blood.
We shouldn’t be taxed on those products for something that is a basic female need.
Likewise, our cycle means we can get pregnant at certain times, but not every woman has a desire to get pregnant.
Quit telling us to abstain from sex instead of giving us access to birth control.
Nobody is telling men to abstain from sex – even though THEY are the ones who are fertile ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the time.
20. You don’t need anybody to take care of you
You’re not looking for anybody to take care of you in this life, because you believe you’re strong, smart, and savvy enough to take care of yourself.
In the words of Destiny’s Child:
The watch I’m wearing?
I’ll buy it
The house I live in?
I’ve bought it
The car I’m driving?
I’ve bought it
I depend on me.
All the women, who are independent… throw your hands up at me.
21. Signs you’re a feminist: You believe we should all be feminists
And finally, on our list of signs you’re a feminist:
You believe every person on the planet should be a feminist, because to be a feminist means you believe in equality.
Men and women are different – yes.
But does that mean one person should have less rights and opportunities, simply because they have a vagina?
Praise for Bloom by Shani Jay
“I read Bloom in one night. I started feeling hopeless and pushed down. Shani picked me up, dusted me off, and guided me to self-love in a few short hours with only print. Truly inspiring” – Rebecca Barnoff