The F-Word

When did the definition of feminism become so muddled?


Would it be safe to assume that we’ve all read the New York Sunday Styles story, “Sex on Campus“?

If the answer is yes, carry on. If it is no, the brief summary goes: reporter travels to college campus–the campus in question is the University of Pennsylvania. Reporter interviews a slew of female students about their romantic lives in conjunction with their rigorous academic schedules, and this marriage of work and pleasure essentially leads to the thick of the piece, which tackles hook up culture and the consequent (often unilateral) relationships that manifest as a result.

The reporter does not make mention of having discussed the burgeoning thesis with any men on campus (“hooking up” takes two in equal parts though, doesn’t it?) which, in my opinion, immediately positions the interviewed women not in control, but to blame. There’s a sense of innocence inconspicuously tied to silence, and in this story, the men are on mute.

Most of the interviewed female students share that they’re hooking up to have fun, and are far too busy to invest in serious relationships, but still yearn for a good time. One such woman, identified by the first initial of her middle name, goes so far as to say, “Ten years from now, no one will remember — I will not remember — who I have slept with, [b]ut I will remember, like, my transcript, because it’s still there. I will remember what I did. I will remember my accomplishments and places my name is hung on campus.”

I’m not trying to beat a dead horse here, or continue peeling layers of a dialogue that’s not particularly novel, but as many of the reactions to this piece have alluded to: why is it surprising or worthy of note that hyper driven people who prioritize work above relationships might still want to physically connect? Is it because, in this instance, the hyper driven people are women? Personally, I don’t find it so surprising that women also enjoy sex.

While many aspects of the piece left me frustrated (see: a brief nod to non-consensual hookups, included almost as an afterthought), what I really can’t wrap my head around appears toward the end, when interviewee “A.” dubs herself a “true feminist” chased with the declaration that she is “a strong woman.” Though worthy of note that in contrast to her “strong woman” assertion, she is ultimately hiding behind a circumspect middle initial, it is still refreshing to hear a young woman refer to herself as feminist, no strings attached. These days, the word has become so violently stigmatized and convoluted that it’s treated like a brutal accusation. The real difficulties in understanding feminism actually lie in how infrequently the term is used in the right context.

Frankly, feminism does not necessarily equal strength. (Particularly when the concept of personal strength is so subjective.)

But when did the definition of feminism get so muddled? I had an ex-boyfriend who used to ask me if ‘identifying with feminism’ meant that I was constantly seeking truth (and if that was the case, how I could lie to myself so frequently). No, fucking moron. Just equality. Similarly as misguided, I once heard a friend of my mother’s cite her predilection to cook as one such reason she is not a feminist. On the other hand, Kate’s mother submits that while procuring her M.D., she was so engrossed in studies that she more or less missed the women’s lib movement (along with most culturally significant events of the ’60s and ’70s). This hardly detracts from her support of equality, but she doesn’t quite identify as a feminist, either.

In my mind, the only thing that matters when defining feminism is a dedication to equality. That’s it. That’s all. Whether a person’s traits are more traditionally female or male are irrelevant. This is why it’s so upsetting when the ideology is vilified, or used to justify the adoption of (frankly, insulting) stereotypical ‘male’ traits. Being a feminist does not mean acting like a man, or hating men, or looking down on the wide breadth of definitions of feminism – and femininity – as transcribed throughout history. Put simply, it means that you believe in equality. Now show me a person who doesn’t get that.

Get more Brain Massage ?
  • Allison

    Thanks for posting this. It’s great to hear your opinion – it’s something I think about often. Being a feminist has become the equivalent of “I hate men and I hate being a woman”, which is the opposite of what the feminist movement really is.

  • Jasmine Alvarez

    i love this post!

  • CameronByars


  • the (un?)social butterfly

    I’ve recently read this elsewhere: feminism is this radical idea that women are actual persons.

  • ECRiley

    Solidarity sisters!!

    • Sam

      we are nerds on a rope.

  • Sam

    Amen. Perhaps the origin of the stigmatization of feminism comes from the extreme uphill battle women have fought to stand on an equal plane with the opposite sex, so that feminism has come to be associated with the most aggressive, diehard, radical proponents of equality, and we, as the beneficiaries of that back-breaking fight, can view the concept of feminism through clear eyes that aren’t blurred by the frustration (and fury) that comes with being blatantly discriminated against. Millenial women have grown up being told that we are equal, so we can put those equality wheels into motion and engage in the formerly male-dominated world.

    Regardless, the hyper-magnification of gender differences in sociological analyses seems to morph into the continuous recognition of gender inequality (re:”Sex on Campus”). I used to steer clear of identifying myself as a feminist because of its negative connotation, but I have progressively warned up to and developed a heartfelt connection with the idea(l) that women are equal to men, because, well, it just makes sense. There is no other way.

    Refreshing, and completely logical.

    • Leandra Medine

      That is actually PRECISELY it–the stigmatization of the term has almost everything to do with the fact that we didn’t just…arrive at our current social location (which certainly still needs fine tuning). When held up against gay rights: Kate’s uncle was actually an activist and she’ll say that if you read an older gay man’s take on the younger generations there’s a sense of taking for granted the level of acceptance that exists now. Which if you think about is sort of beautiful. And so for us to be able to look at our stances with those clear eyes has to be a step in the right direction.

      re the article, ones like it and comments like “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” — I’m with you.

      • diane

        A lot of activist feminists from the seventies DO feel that younger women have a sense of entitlement because our militancy ultimately did lead to more equality in the workplace and society in general. And it’s why many of us fear for the future when we see how apathetic younger female voters are about the oppressive legislation just enacted in Texas this week to limit rights that women fought so hard to get so long ago.

        • Sharon Macklin


    • the (un?)social butterfly

      There is no “formerly” attached to “male-dominated world”. How is this world “formerly” dominated by males when it’s still the girl’s fault when she’s raped? “She shouldn’t have accepted help from a stranger in the middle of the night”, “She shouldn’t have gone out alone wearing that”. How is this world “formerly” dominated by males when female politicians are viciously criticized for how they look — she’s fat, she’s old, she’s ugly, not well dressed, these are common remarks directed to the likes of Angela Merkel (she’s not Miss Germany, she’s the fucking prime minister. She’s not there to entertain your eyes).

      I firmly believe there is no way the struggle for equal rights can be minimized in a world where “level of acceptance” is still an utterable expression.

  • CDJ

    Maybe she only chose to go by her middle initial in case her parents/family read the article and she did not want them to know about her sexcapades. Fully agree with this post, though.

    • Leandra Medine

      Very, very fair point.

      • CDJ

        I mean that is the only reason why we all didn’t go on “The Real World”, right?

        • Kait

          HAHAHAHAHAHA! So, so true!

  • Leandra,
    Thank you for this piece. The word certainly has a negative connotation in our society. So much so that when I identify with the movement, my 14 y/o brother will retort: “Yuck, so you hate men? Are your armpits hairy?”. Of course, he and his friends have no prior knowledge of the implications of the movement, but yet they are still inundated with the stereotypes brought about.
    And, many females that I know feel the same way: they find it useless because we can now vote; the movement only becoming a safe haven for angry, “manly” women. Yet, the friends I have the identify with the movement (I’m surprised anything about equality needs to be sided with/identified – it should just be) are all very female in a stereotypical sense. We wear dresses, paint our nails, talk about boys, you name it. But we also realize the shortcomings of our society and some of the impositions placed on us by the opposite gender.
    That being said, the weights of our existence and the feminist movement cannot totally be blamed on the male. I also know a feminist or two that is highly judgmental of other feminists. Contrary to them, If I want to wear lil denim cutoffs I’m not selling myself as a piece of meat – oh no! I’m wearing those shorts because I like them, or they compliment by Guatemalan embroidered shirt, or they just flat out make me feel great. In order to really promote equality, we can’t have these strictly bound rules or standards of independence and toughness inside the movement. There has to be a realization that feminism is not one-dimensional. Like religion, politics, or any belief, there is a scope and a scale of varying opinion or extremity. However, when it comes down to the common denominator, we can all agree that a common core is shared in any of those disciplines within the same belief. Just because a woman likes the way she feels in the presence of a man (be it a boyfriend or a male she knows in hookup culture which is TOTALLY OK), doesn’t mean that she doesn’t believe in her own self-worth or the capabilities of the female population on a broader scale.
    Also, while feminism’s core is that of equality, I find that it can be so much more. We are equal, but we also have qualities (in my opinion) that far exceed that of our male counterparts. So, let’s be proud of the F-word because we really rock and I think we are all Team MR in the sense that this is a great place for us to boost each other’s self confidence with Leandra’s direction and personality, along with our comments. Go, Team!
    And I figured I’d leave on a note from one of my favorite twitter accounts (next to MR’s, duh!): Feminist Taylor Swift. She says:
    ” It feels like a perfect night / To fall in love with strangers / Because hook-up culture can empower women in certain circumstances / Uh-huh”

    • Claire

      I totally agree with you about how Feminism is much more than equality. It’s about gaining control of your own body, mind, future–what YOU want to do. Your comment about the denim cut-offs particularly resonated with me; it’s your choice. Feminism can be sexy too!

  • HeatherMcIlrath

    I read the article and it also really pissed me off. Your succinct response very much reflects the same feelings I was having the whole time. Where were the men in this study? I think it’s “cute” how shocking it is to people that women have the ability to enjoy casual sex

  • ngold
  • Yates

    One of the most memorable scenes from the always right-on-point show The Good Wife is when the young, ambitious, up-and-coming female associate in the law firm (played by Anna Camp) abruptly quits because she has gotten pregnant and she and her boyfriend have decided to get married. Christine Baranski’s character (the left-wing, “hardcore feminist” representative), pleads with her not to quit her job, saying that the firm offers great child support and that Anna should not give up on her career just because she is getting married and having a child. Anna holds firm, explaining that she just wants to be a stay-at-home mom, and as Christine and Juliana Margulies’s character (the newly independent working mom) watch Anna pack up her desk, Christine remarks, “I don’t think this was what feminism intended.” Juliana says, “I think it was.” I love that moment because it showed three very different women that have made choices about their lives, and the commentary was that all of these choices are all right. The women’s lib movement paved the way for Anna to have the choice to be a stay-at-home mom because that’s what she wanted, and that choice was not judged just as Juliana’s decision to continue working at the firm because she enjoys it was not judged. It really is all about equality.

  • Amatoria Clothing

    The sad part is that even though “A” may not be “ashamed” of her choice to “sleep around”, she was probably smart to NOT share her full name, because she would very likely get some type of backlash from people at the University.
    We have the blessing to be able to give life, yet it comes at the cost of having to CHOOSE if we want to focus on family or career. And for those of us who don’t want to settle for one or the other, there is that look of judgement that says “you mean, you want it ALL?!”

  • Ivana Džidić

    I do agree with you…for me feminism is the belief that there is nothing wrong with being a women…as simple as that…or as you said…belief in equality.

    but still….let’s get to the beginning…don’t remembering who you have slept with? not that I’m particularly conservative when it comes to that, but is it really possible to forget sex?(even when you want to)

    …and who says that relationships have to be so time consuming? Can’t relationship be helpful and even provide you with more time…I’ve been in a serious relationship during the entire period I had spent at the University and it didn’t do any damage do my academic life….i would say just the opposite…nice dish waiting for you when you come back from the classes, what beats that?

    • Claire

      True–there’s nothing ‘time-consuming’ about a relationship in college. I think many people–men and women–mask their fear of commitment under the guise of time restraints.

      • Leandra Medine

        or debunking/feeding gender stereotypes

        • Ivana Džidić

          yes, or that…

      • Ivana Džidić

        precisely, I believe that is just the thing— fear of intimacy is very present nowadays. Not that I think people should be judged for having casual sex, but somehow I don’t believe they want it as much as they say.

  • Mara

    thanks for this!

  • Belén Cavas Hernández

    I think the mentality has changed our times, our main goal is not to find our prince charming and have a family, I think our abc of life has changed and we do not put a calendar in your love life and personal. Life comes and as a result we adapt to it.
    New outfit in the blog. ☀SUNLIGHT☀

  • Kiersten

    Even the language itself places feminism along side other -isms that typically have a negative connotation. Either those that are largely seen as wrong, like racism, or those that belong to specific political or theological groups, like Marxism or Calvinism. In this way, feminism becomes an ideology that we prescribe to as we do any other social group, making it easy for others to pit themselves against it. In reality, equality should not be a group that I choose to identify with but rather a given right.

  • Heather

    I recently read an article about how celebrities today – ones that we especially see as “strong women” – shy away from the word “feminist,” which makes me sad. I absolutely love how you cut right down to the most basic definition of what feminism is – equality. It makes me realize we should focus more on “what” feminism is, rather than identifying “who” a feminist is – since there is no one way to define the “who” – a feminist could look and sound like so many different people.

  • (wo)Man,

    this article is the shit.

  • Margaret Boykin

    This is great. I am so sick of hearing successful, independent women (even Bey!) tip-toe around the word feminist, and what I am even more sick of is ridiculous trend pieces that try to put one label or direction on what “women today” want. One week everyone wants to put a ring on it ASAP and cries into their closet full of unused wedding dresses and the next all the ladies want is late night, nameless lovin. Diminishing the thoughts and feelings of an entire sex into a 500 word puff piece is hardly news–it’s poor journalism. No one wants the same thing all the time, everyone is different, and BTW I never see one of these articles pointing to how casual sex or archaic ideals of marriage affect lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender people. Because that would require you know, solid reporting.

    • Ivana Džidić

      you’re so right…

  • it really does boggle my mind that over 200,000 years into this thing we’re still picking apart our differences instead of focusing on our oneness as humans. male or female, gay or straight, black or white, we just seem to have to categorize everything into us or them. and if will smith has taught me anything it’s that we won’t be united in our humanity until the aliens come and we have a much bigger and badder them to worry about.


  • Alissa from ChicPeek

    This is a very inspiring post, to embrace what we feel and that it isn’t wrong. I appreciate reading posts like this, completely inspire my day to be the strong woman I am and that it’s okay to have opinions that different from the norm in society.

  • Austen

    couldn’t agree more. as a college student, maybe this type of behavior is surprising to an older generation, but this is a common occurrence where i go to school. your business is your business and that’s all there is to it.

  • Mod Fem

    I too self-identify as a feminist by a definition of equality. I support all aspects of equality, including the typical socioeconomic arguments – men helping at home/women being promoted at work/ equal pay. However, more strongly, as a modern feminist I seek to change the stereotype that is dismissive of the competencies or capabilities of a person because she is a woman. For instance, putting political views aside, many people are intuitively against the idea of a female president. People that otherwise agree with the policy, would not support the candidate based on gender. Presumably, their position is that a female president would not have equivalent strength, grit, determination, persuasiveness, charm, etc.; ultimately, not be taken seriously amongst men. As a modern feminist I want to reverse those views of women.

  • Alex Talks

    your best essay.

  • Nino Rekhviashvili

    feminism is NOT dedication to equality! Feminism is the understanding of the lack of gender heirarchy!

    • Leandra Medine

      Ergo humanism? Interesting.

      • Nino Rekhviashvili

        How do you conceptualize humanism? Could be.

    • Claire

      So Nino you’re saying there should be gender hierarchy? Please clarify.

      • Nino Rekhviashvili

        Thank you for the clarifying question.

        I would prefer if the word sexism and feminism didn’t exist because they are “in opposition” to the invasive violence (mental and physical) toward women in our society. If there was no violence toward women, there would be no need to say one is a feminist. One would just be a woman, or man, without any connotation referring to power and domination. Clearly, I believe that all men and women are created with the same potential for mental and possibly even physical faculties.

        When we say that women are equal to men, we put the status of men “up there” somewhere, and feminism becomes a quest for women to reach their plateau. However, if you believe that men and women are created with the same potential, feminism becomes the recognition that men and women are made perfectly…well, perfect. The word “equality” suggests a scale, and if we continue to use the scale concept, then it becomes a question of maintaining balance on this scale for eternity. But one we no longer decide to use the scale and acknowledge that we are perfectly capable–both men and women–from the get go, you can no longer use the term ‘equality.’

        It is in some way tragic that we need the concept of feminism to serve as a reminder to men, and some women, that gender superiority is a construct.

        • Christina

          Very insightful. I think it is exactly the notion that women must strive for equality which makes us unable to truly just BE whatever it is we are. I work as a Civil Engineer at a construction company, where I am the only female. I would like to believe I got here the same way any male would, simply by following my life path. But I can’t help but wonder if I ended up in this field partly to prove that I can, to prove that there are no gender boundaries. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be completely removed from the pressures and norms of one’s society, so can anyone ever truly just be free from either conforming to gender roles or consciously defying them?

          • Nino Rekhviashvili

            Hi Christina,
            I think that you are such an inspiration, and that your post was so honest and touching. I don’t think we’re at the point in society where we can not have thoughts like “I can prove them wrong” or “I’m going to do this just to show them that women can do anything, too” because the fact of the reality is that many people do think in terms of gender hierarchy, and it’s obvious to us since childhood that sexism is a real thing, in that it exists within the minds of men. Sexism is a delusion, however, and not a thought planted in reality. By daring to step into a field for the purposes of eliminating this delusion in some minds is really, truly an honorable thing to do.

        • LJ

          Great reply! Your post is much more insightful than the original…and perhaps heads more towards egalitarianism? It does seem outdated and perhaps rudimentary in nature to focus purely on equality as if this abstract idea is even slightly capable of quantifying the depths of feminist ideology

          • Nino Rekhviashvili

            So true!

    • Nino, I think you’re on the right track, but I’m confused by your comment. You think there’s no gender hierarchy? Perhaps you mean the need for a lack of gender hierarchy? Because one certainly exists, at least in my reality.

      • Nino Rekhviashvili

        Hi Jamie,
        If gender hierarchy didn’t exist in some people’s realities, there would be no need for feminism. My point is that gender hierarchy isn’t inherent: people of one sex are not born being “better” than people of another. Gender hierarchy is a construct created and reinforced by men for hundreds, if not thousands of years. I believe many modern day feminists are caught up within this framework of gender hierarchy so much so that they do not see the reality that there is no inherent framework, and that working within the framework it’s pointless… again, because there is NO hierarchy!

        One certainly does exist in your experience because within your gender framework you have constructed a way of seeing the world in which there is a struggle between the genders for power. This is normal, because this teaching is embedded within society anywhere you go; even feminists use the term “equality.”

        One might say, you need the framework to examine how power relations are changing, etc. And to that I say, sure, keep the framework handy, as a tool for discussing oppression, but if you realize that there is no gender hierarchy, you no longer need to inundiate yourself with thoughts of “I need to *strive* for equality!” or “was that feminist enough?”


        • Nino Rekhviashvili

          Also, you may want to read my reply to Christina– it may help augment my clarification!

  • Tuesday Gillian

    Finally a greatly descriptive article accessible by many. I have discovered that living as a feminist is to reject many stigmas apprehended. For I have learned that those whom are oppressed do much of the work on remaining inert.

  • I couldn’t bear to read more than a few sentences of that article for some reason. I just felt like it was going down roads I didn’t care to travel, which may be what you’re referring to. And, with regards to feminism, I wholeheartedly agree with your definition, and that’s why I consider myself a feminist. I appreciate you using the word in the context you did. It seems it’s often used in a pejorative sense, and that really bums me out. Because there’s still plenty of room between here and complete equality (just like the recent court decisions on marriage equality haven’t suddenly solved all of our society’s issues with sexuality). Keeping these conversations going is imperative.

  • S

    I found this article that talks about why there are a few women who want equality but don’t feel comfortable calling themselves “feminists.” The word hasn’t just been contorted into something else by those who disagree with “women are people” but by the systematic oppression of certain people who also are not considered to be human beings even by so called traditional feminists.

  • diane

    Being a feminist has always been translated as hating men and I say that as someone who marched in the first women’s parade in NYC in 1970. In fact, whenever I wanted to be “provocative” during my dating years, I made sure to identify myself as such just to piss male suitors off (talk about man repelling). But my real beef is with women who demure and belittle the term. Feminism can mean anything you want it to mean, and no one has to be limited by society’s terminology. I can love a man, raise a child, have a career and still be a feminist–and a fashionable one, to boot. And, BTW, I cannot for the life of me remember any of my transcripts from college, but I can recall (most of) the men I hooked up with back then!

  • Jessica

    I recently came across the website, the Everyday Sexism Project ( which allows women to post, anonymously or not, their daily encounters with sexism. As a woman who works in a male-dominated field who has encountered sexist innuendo from time-to-time, I appreciate reading about other women’s experiences. It feels somehow liberating, but also reminds me that despite what men like to claim, we have a ways to go for equality. I would also say that my experience has somehow taught me that “feminist” is a dirty word, and frankly, that’s just sad.

  • CSS


  • Johanna Moroch

    I don’t care who the girls sleep with. For me feminism is a human rights issue- in large parts of the world women have no rights and often die as a result. I try to take a larger view of the issue.

  • Marta

    Loved this piece Leandra! Thank you for simplifying the concept of feminism, honestly I myself have even struggled to define what it is, or where I stand in this “battle”.

  • Grace

    yes! tell that to katy perry

  • Kristy

    While I whole-heartedly agree with the essence of this post and the numerous permutations of this exasperated sentiment throughout the years, I have to point out: but Leandra, your name is MAN Repeller. You are still defining yourself by the man, or rather lack thereof ( I know, you have husband, but I’m talking about this site). Motioning to the negative space still defines the contours of the positive. Whether you’re telling women to man repel for the love of fashion and self or man repel and in the process the right one will love you in spite/because of your spunkiness, its still about boys boys boys what they think what they don’t think. Even though I fully understand the empowering mantra of wear “yeti fur if you want, man or not. ” But why can’t it just be, “wear yeti fur if you want,” period.

  • LJ

    Though you make some very good arguments which I absolutely agree with, you have made some omissions. Firstly, feminism has forever been muddled. Feminism is not a singular idea as you seem to make reference of. It has no absolute meaning, but rather multiple perceptions (and multiple feminisms). It seems inadequate to boil feminism down to one abstract idea as you do…for feminism(s) deserve much more than just a reference to equality. Nonetheless, great article to read!

  • Perry

    Who doesn’t get it? I don’t know.. Rick Fucking Perry with his damned abortion bill in Texas. Identifying as a feminist as a male doesn’t have the stigma attached to it, but more so I get bantered about it. Unfortunately it happens, but it makes me persist.

  • StephMoorhouse

    Nailed it Leandra! 🙂

  • Katherine

    nice text.
    my english is certainly not fluent enought to get maybe all the “nuances” but i sure do agree with you definition of feminism
    thanks for being so franche and straight forward.

  • Sharon Macklin

    Excellent post. I have often thought about the tragedy that so many young women think it is an insult to be called a feminist (or to identify as one)! Such a reactionary way of thinking! But…that is, unfortunately, what has been put out there by such backward, ridiculous, dangerous conservatives in the media – i.e. Rush Limbaugh and Laura Schlessinger. Many young women take things for granted that were not possible when I was young in the 60s and 70s. You give me hope!

  • Kelly

    Preface: I’m a feminist. I like equality. Full stop. I read the NYT article, and I agree with you in that women should definitely be free to have a good time and enjoy sex, as often as they’d like. But my biggest issue is that it seems many of these women aren’t ENJOYING the sex they’re having. The fact that most if the womens’ partners are more concerned with their big O versus putting in a little effort to make sure the woman feels satisfied is a bigger issue that these so called feminists are really shooting themselves In the foot about: we need to use our voices to remind men that equality means both partners get to the finish line. College is about learning things– most guys could benefit from learning that a jack rabbit approach prooobably isn’t going to work for anyone other than him.

    • Jessica

      Well said Kelly. When I was reading the article, I thought exactly the same thing, that they are unfortunately enjoying sex on the guy’s terms, not their own. I don’t have a problem with young women going out and having a bunch of sex IF they are getting something fulfilling out of it. But too often, they receive such mixed messages about what sexy means and how they will be desirable if they satisfy his needs, that they ignore the fact that their own sexual needs are not being tended too. I would wager that a large percentage of college men are too immature to know or care about how to make a women’s body hum.

  • Emily

    So well said! I completely agree.

  • Amanda

    Amen to that!

  • Mia

    Thank you Leandra. I am a 21 year old female university student and I completely agree with everything you have just said. I once sat in a sociology class filled with women, and when prevailed upon to admit if we were feminists or not, I think maybe three of us raised our hands… It is disheartening that the F-word is so stigmatized.

  • janeathan

    Thanks for talking about the F word, and that rather puzzling article. I never stopped calling myself a Feminist since my college days, and make sure I am not shy to announce it to younger women. Feminism is about equality and liberty and opportunity, irregardless of gender/genitalia.

  • Erika

    Seriously! Thank you!! I hate when I hear women of our generation saying, I’m not a feminist, but I do believe in equality. It’s like, uhh…then you ARE a feminist! Feminism isn’t about burning your bra and hating on men! Jeebus. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

  • KML

    Interesting choice of (scarlet) letter on the author’s part, I thought…

  • stacy_lion @ twitter

    Thanks for your op– which influenced my post here: Please read if you’re interested

  • Poppie

    The women of these articles however, seemed very very intelligent, and did not want relationships for very smart reasons. I bow down to them for that, because as one gal who wanted a relationship noticed she graduated in May, and then what? She is smart enough to stay away from the issues I am having being married so young, and it is a burden. Now are we moving for one of our jobs, or school, or whatever, and sell the house. It is so much easier to worry about the self as opposed to WE and US. Ugh! So annoying. I really could have used that selfishness, and freedom that these gals at Penn have.

  • Poppie

    The long article on Penn made me want to vomit with Mrs. Patton’s urging gals to obtain their Mrs. Degree (like seriously I almost cried), but the article did mention a great point when mentioning that guys do not respect, and therefore do not try when “hooking up” (I hate that term by the way….it just sounds slutty). I am sure many more raping happen, and unreported, which is tragic, but yet I hear my mother in my head “If you want to protect against rape don’t get wasted.” I mean I understand more then most just how horrible rape is, and yet these women say they have to get drunk just to fuck a guy. WHAT? If you have to get trashed to be able to sleep with a guy then what exactly are you sleeping with him for. Spend the night with B.O.B.
    Reading that article it seemed as if rape was not that big of a deal to the women of Penn. I feel that if it were they would be more mindful of their behavior, and surroundings. Also, if you are sobering up by the time you are back in the guys room, and do not want to have sexy just leave. I know some of you would be like well she has to give him something to leave the room safe. Well, maybe, but maybe not. Most of those guys are raping and betting on the girl being wasted or black out drunk. If he knows you are fully aware he is probably less likely to use force. Also, if you are more sober then him you can probably out think him. But, as my mother would say…Just do not put yourself in this situation in the first place.

  • Adam

    The female world… IMO the world is no one’s. We just have to agree with each other and live in peace 🙂


    That is all. Wait, actually, one more thing, I am so thrilled to read these comments and see so much female support for feminism. I am totally saddened by the rejection of the word “feminism” by many smart female friends of mine.

  • GLUE

    Bravo bloolee

  • Catriona

    I just found this blog today and this has secured it a place in my “special blogs to check lots” tab! I absolutely hate the reaction I get from men AND women when I talk about being a feminist. I, like most people who do define themselves thusly, am simply talking about equality. Thank you.

  • Louise

    This post is so perfectly pieced together – I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said!

  • Betsey

    Pitch perfect.

  • Dalila Boclin

    Appropriately named post: Penn’s only feminist group is called Fword.
    It is a literary magazine that publishes twice yearly, any all all forms of writing from both male and female authors.

    I’m saddened that I don’t see a reaction to this article on their website.
    However, I am a proud alumnus of both Penn and the Fword board and can say that being a feminist at the ripe age of 20 is no easy feat. Defining what that concept means to you and for you at that age is chasing a moving target. We are discovering who we are as women and feminists through those experiences, plentiful in the college environment, that both strengthen and victimize us. Fword provided a place where we could explore these issues and tried to make them public.

    Since I’ve moved on from Penn and the Fword, I’ve found it most important to actively pursue honest, open relationships with other women. We are our best and most under-utilized resource for creating a safe place for feminism. Fword gave me a strong sense for the need for sisterhood that facilitates conversation around those issues BOTH public and private that, instead, each woman contains within herself as a secret, an anonymous comment, a blight etc. This is where we need to be vocal, and proud of our definitive experiences good and bad, and through that collection of voices, feminism will become a louder, more accepted, more diverse presence our world.

  • Fern

    THIS. I’ve heard some (albeit misinformed, and rather immature) young men referring to women with strong personalities or with whom they disagree as “such a feminist,” with the implied subtext of “and that’s what makes her such a bitch.” It’s unfortunate, because I and several friends of mine identify as feminists. We don’t hate men. We aren’t out to destroy them or become better than them. We want, as women, to be treated as people, just as men do too.

  • GraysonBailor

    Thank you for this part. The word undoubtedly incorporates a unfavorable meaning in this culture.

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  • Ugh! This is fabulous. The misunderstanding of the meaning of feminism is one of the largest obstacles in women actually achieving equality to men. As pinterest advocates, Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Human Rights, pals! Femininism! Huzzah!