Jumping the Gun on Anti-Feminism
As I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, I saw Taylor Swift's “Look What You Made Me Do” video making headlines. Curious to see what critics had to say, I began reading comment after comment. The immediate reaction seemed to be in Swift’s favor but as I kept reading I found myself overwhelmed by the amount of negativity she was getting hit with. An uncalled for number of comments regarding anti-feminism were being sent her way, and the more I read about Swift being a liar and using her feminist label just for an audience, the more determined I felt to set the record straight.
To find a good example, look no further than Taylor Swift and any of her former and current high-profile celebrity feuds. Taylor is constantly criticized in the media by both fans and haters who claim that she is always dragging down other women by throwing shade in her music. T-Swift may be using her creative senses to take digs at her enemies in her music videos, but often, you’ll see a tweet that goes something like:
The same opinion can be said for the Fifth Harmony vs. Camila Cabello feud, even more so after the group's monumental MTV VMA performance. The girls began their performance with five members present, but a few seconds in, the “fifth member” was knocked off the stage. The girls claimed that it was meant to represent how they went from five girls to four, and no shade was intended toward Cabello, but fans weren’t convinced. Although we never really know who’s in the wrong with these situations, let’s try to put ourselves in their shoes.
If you’ve never been in a feud with someone in your life, cheers to you! But the rest of us have to be a little more considerate and stop labeling celebrity disputes as anti-feminism. Having an argument or disagreement with someone is inevitable. There are going to be people in your life that you’ll get along with and others that you won't. Simply having a disagreement with someone doesn't necessarily make you any less of a feminist; it makes you human. So who are we to tamper with what defines the modern-day feminist?
Epictetus once said, “First learn the meaning of what you say, then speak.” That being said: before you go on your mid-day twitter rant about the rules of feminism, you need know what it is and for those of you who hate the sound of the word and don’t know why, let me explain. The goal of feminism is to stand up for the political, social, and economical equality of the sexes. No, not “women are better than men.” We’re not looking for complete social dominance. The key word here is equality. A huge part of feminism is using our ability to uplift and inspire one another in order to achieve our goals. Some have argued that there’s no need for the use of the word “feminist” if we want equality.
During the interview segment of the 2017 Miss USA pageant, winner Kara McCullough stated, “I'd like to transpose the word feminism to equalism...I try not to consider myself, like, this diehard, 'I don't really care about men.' But one thing I'm going to say is, though, women are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace.” Although using the word “equalist” may make some feel safer and less exposed to the sharp criticism of society, they’re not doing themselves any favors. Becoming fixated on how to best represent the movement and calling out the people who are falsely branded as “anti-feminist” ultimately leads to a loss of focus.
If Taylor Swift told Katy Perry that she'll never amount to anything followed by some slut-shaming-esque comment, then by all means, you can call her an anti-feminist, but most of Swift’s songs come right out of an angry teenager’s diary. So if we’re going to continue to preach that these are the rules of feminism, wouldn't we all end up being “anti-feminists”?