There are many things that can make you a bad feminist, and showing off your body isn't one of them (Image via Quote Ambition)
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There are many things that can make you a bad feminist, and showing off your body isn't one of them (Image via Quote Ambition)

Spoiler alert: Slut-shaming and white feminism are NOT on this list.

Ever since the election of Donald Trump, feminism is more popular than ever. Six in ten women and one-third of men identify as feminists according to a January national survey by the “Washington Post” and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

With more people identifying as feminists, we need to understand what doesn’t encapsulate feminism.

1. Watching “The Bachelor” (Or Any Other Reality TV Shows)

Listen, I am a hardcore feminist. I love writing about feminism, covering feminist issues and talking about feminism. On the other hand, I also love all kinds of reality TV, including “The Bachelor.”

Let’s get one thing straight: I can be a feminist and still love watching reality TV. Yes, these shows aren’t very feminist, if at all, and they honestly do portray women in a terrible light at times. But watching these shows doesn’t make me unable to fight for women’s rights or speak on feminist issues with knowledge. If anything, I can speak about what these shows do wrong and try to dispel any misconceptions about women people get from watching shows like these.

2. Loving Makeup

Feminists don’t need to be all-natural all the time. Women enjoy makeup and wear it because it feels good to look good—not to “trick” men or try to look completely different. On the contrary, women wear makeup because they like how it makes them look, how they feel wearing it and the process of putting it on. In no way, shape or form does putting on makeup make a woman a bad feminist to do something that she enjoys and feels empowered by.

In fact, a lot of the time, women apply makeup without even considering what men will think of it, a reality that flies in the face of the misconception that women wear beauty products solely for the male gaze. Not only is such a falsehood wildly inaccurate, it’s also damaging because it assumes that everything women do is to benefit or please men. Newsflash: Women do stuff because they like it, not because men like it. 

3. Deciding to Shave (Or Not Shave) Your Body Hair

Going hand in hand with wearing makeup, if women decide to shave their body hair, they aren’t bad feminists, as shaving your hair in no way impairs your ability to fight for gender equality.

Speaking on the other side of the issue, if women decide not to shave their body hair, they aren’t bad feminists either. But it also doesn’t mean people should shame them for this decision. Everyone has a preference when it comes to shaving and neither side should be shamed for doing what feels good. 

4. Wanting a Relationship With a Man

Feminists do not hate men; feminists hate gender inequality, and as a result, they hate how men get better treatment and opportunities because of their gender. So as a feminist, it’s perfectly acceptable to want to be in a relationship and have a boyfriend.

Women can enjoy being single and can also love being in a relationship. That doesn’t make them bad feminists if they decide they don’t want to be single anymore. Single life can be  lonely at times, so it’s more than acceptable to decide to be in a relationship.

5. Dreaming About Getting Married

Getting married is something that girls can dream about their entire lives. As children, they pretend to marry friends and mentally plan their weddings years in advance (looking at you, Pinterest).

Just as feminists are more than allowed to want to be in a relationship, they can dream about marriage and actually get married, while *gasp* still being feminists. Marriage doesn’t mean they can’t fight for equal rights nor does it signal agreement with everything women deal with every day in terms of oppression and discrimination. If anything, marriage gives feminists an opportunity to have a (hopefully) permanent partner when it comes to fighting for women’s rights. 

6. Judging Women Superficially

Feminists are human. They make mistakes, they say things they regret and occasionally they judge people. Women sticking together is a huge part of feminism and women supporting other women is a must.

But as feminists are human, they can find themselves judging other women superficially. Maybe it’s a weird outfit or hair color they’re judging. If you find yourself doing this, catch yourself and correct this thought. This doesn’t excuse the judging, but it also doesn’t immediately mark you as a bad feminist. Now, slut-shaming a woman or shaming a woman for her life decisions is much worse and you definitely shouldn’t do it if you call yourself a feminist.

7. Enjoying Housework

The home has historically been seen as the “woman’s domain.” While women have spent decades trying to join the workforce and be treated equally in that workforce, housework isn’t the worst thing to every woman and that’s okay.

I do enjoy doing housework if I’m in the mood. Now, is it the only job I ever want to have on top of potentially raising kids? No, absolutely not. Being a feminist doesn’t mean enjoying housework makes me a bad voice for the movement nor does it make me unable to speak on feminist issues. 

8. Wanting to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

Wanting to be a stay-at-home mom has some stigma attached to it. Women who want to be stay-at-home moms can be seen as lazy, not ambitious or bad feminists because they don’t want to have a career outside the home. That’s so false. Women can want to be stay-at-home moms and still be feminists. Being a stay-at-home mom can also be really hard and really taxing, even if you are at home the entire time.

Stay-at-home moms can fight for equal rights while still doing their thing. If anything, they have more knowledge about issues like dress codes for students, sharing household work equally, childcare and maternal/paternal leave because of the position they’re in, so don’t discount them from feminism because of their job.

9. Letting a Man Pay for Something

Everyone likes to be treated—even feminists. You won’t get your feminist card revoked if you let a man pay on a date or pull out your chair for you. Just because feminists believe in equal rights doesn’t mean a little chivalry isn’t nice.

Being a woman is hard, especially now under the Trump administration, so if feminists decide they want to be treated like a queen during a date, that doesn’t mean they can’t still fight for equal rights. It’s nice to let a someone else do things for once and to let yourself be treated.

10. Showing Off Your Body (No Matter What Shape, Size or Weight You Are)

This issue came up when Emma Watson was on the cover of Vanity Fair braless. People were shocked because she’s a feminist. How can a feminist like herself pose in such a photo? Easy. She wanted to, so she did. She’s still a feminist, fighting for equal rights.

Just because feminists decide to show off their body doesn’t mean they don’t have the knowledge or the right to speak on important and relevant issues. Feminists also can decide to show off their body no matter the size, shape or type. Women aren’t bad feminists for being confident in their bodies and wanting to show them off.

Feminism is about equal rights. It’s not about refusing to watch reality TV or not shaving or having to cover up your body at all times. It’s about fighting for equal pay, reproductive rights and gender equality for everyone. No ifs, ands or buts.

Writer Profile

Lizzy Spangler

University of North Texas
Digital and Print Journalism

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