I'm a Bad Feminist

           The past few years, especially since I have been in college, I have struggled to answer the question, “Am I a feminist?” For someone who is proud to be a woman and believes in the rights for women, I still could not get myself to declare that I am a feminist. I viewed feminism as this singular box where I would have to disown every mainstream stereotype revolving what it means to be a woman and that men are completely toxic. Also, there was the nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me, “You won’t be accepted if you are a feminist.” But as I have educated myself on the topic and read Roxane Gay’s introduction to “Bad Feminist,” I can now answer the “Am I a feminist?” question more confidently.

            In the reading, Gay explains her struggles with identifying as a feminist. After she realized and accepted that feminism is “flawed because it is a movement powered by people and people are inherently flawed” and it was okay that she did not uphold all the standards of the traditional feminist that is portrayed in media, was she able to finally identify as a feminist (2). To further understand her new identity, she labels herself as a “bad feminist” because she is human, she is flawed, trying to do some good in the world, likes the color pink and sometimes plays dumb because its easier to let the repairman feel macho rather than stand on the moral high ground (3). After I read this I connected immediately; I too am a bad feminist. I love makeup, I like wearing dresses, I look forward to being a mother one day, I believe women who are doing the same job as men should be paid equally, I believe women should have reproductive freedom, I believe men should be able to express how they feel, etc. I do not believe women are superior then men and vice versa. I do not want men to think its not okay to embrace “masculinity.” I do want our society as a whole to embrace mome of the characteristics that we attribute to “femininity,” such as, compassion and empathy.

            I realized that I could not answer the “Am I a feminist?” question for so long because the traditional feminist standards did not let me embrace every aspect of myself. Identifying as a “bad feminist” is now allowing me to embrace every aspect, become more passionate in my beliefs, accept failure, and overall, have more positive outlook on feminism.