Why the word feminism?

Why the word feminism? Why not “equalism”, “humanism” or another name with a similar connotation?

– Of course, I believe in equal rights for everyone. However, to attain equality, I think that  the development of movements focusing on specific problems within the society are necessary. For example, the movement Black Lives Matter campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. The focus is clearly on black people because the only way to end racism is by focusing and addressing the problems that black people face. In other words, saying “all lives matter” misses the point – it wouldn’t contribute to anything. It is exactly the same with feminism. The movement does focus primarily on women but, that is necessary to attain equality of the sexes. You can see it this way: feminism is a point; equalism is the result.

– I actually like the word feminism. To me, it includes both women and men because I don’t only associate the word “femininity” with women. Both sexes can exhibit feminine traits and I hope that femininity can become more and more accepted within our society (for both women and men).

– I don’t believe that changing the word will make the movement more “palatable”. I think that a new word introduced to replace “feminism” will eventually have the same negative connotation. “Women’s liberationist” was actually the first term used for the movement but it was later changed to “feminism” because the term started to get a bad name. An example of this is how all the different terms chosen for people who have general learning disability eventually become an insult (eg. “mongolian idiot” which was changed to “mentally retarded” and then later “intellectual disability”). The problem isn’t the term used to describe the condition but the discomfort/discrimination with those who have Down Syndrome and other cognitive impairments. Feminism is not and will never be “palatable” within a patriarchal society. It is precisely why the negative connotations exist in the first place.

– Finally, I believe that the purpose of the movement should be more important than the word. The only thing you need to be on board with in order to be a feminist is: both sexes should have equal political, economic and social rights.


Painting by Gustav Klimt

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