What do you think of when you hear the word ‘feminist’? For me, to be honest, the term had always come with a lot of fairly negative connotations – militant, narrow angry. While this would not describe every feminist (or even most) I had feminism had moved beyond women begin treated equally, to an angrier movement. But hearing Kelly Broderick Martin interviewed on Tristan Taoromino’s podcast Sex Out Loud really changed my perspective.
Kelly Broderick Martin is a self-described feminist who was subject to cruel cyber bullying a couple years ago, when someone took her image (she is a heavy woman with short hair) and placed it on Facebook with the caption “This is what a feminist looks like — we thought so” (i.e.: heavy, butch…). Instead of becoming angry, Kelly started the Tumblr site: We Are What Feminists Look Like (http://wearewhatfeministslooklike.tumblr.com) inviting men and women to submit photos of themselves holding signs saying “This is what feminist looks like”.
The result: On the surface, it is hundreds (thousands?) of photos of men and women of all different appearances and walks of lives submitting photos of themselves as examples of “what a feminist looks like”. At a more meaningful level, it is re-redefining the term feminists, back to a broader, more inclusive concept that really is about equality and acceptance. The two things that really struck me during the discussion between Kelly Broderick Martin and Tristan Taoromino were: (i) there are still many ways that society discriminates against women and having people watching out of this and activating against it is a good thing; (ii) the angry man-hating caricature of the feminist is way overblown.
Am I a feminist? I suppose so, although it is certainly not my pet or principal cause. Do I like feminists? Absolutely – they are a critical piece of our social fabric and I am glad that there are committed people – men and women – looking out for equality.