There's something I've been noticing around people our age - maybe it's because I've just returned to school and have to do countless readings on women's studies, gender and the like. But, in any case, I've come to realize that many of my peers hate to call themselves a feminist.
It has a general structure, this disclaiming practice.
I hear a dozen of my friends and peers say something along the lines of “Well, I'm not a feminist per say, but I definitely think women should receive equal pay” or “I wouldn’t say feminist, but I believe in equality for women.”
I understand the nervousness that comes with calling oneself a feminist. We live in a world with strong connotations, especially when we discuss “radical” ideas such as equality for all. But, what confuses me is the lack of ownership of the word feminist even among those who are claiming all of the foundations and practices of the ideology!
Imagine such ridiculousness in terms of other ideals and practices. “I'm not a student, but I go to school, study, and will receive a degree at the end of this term.” Why even bother? Well, being a student doesn't tag along with too many negative meanings (except assuming that you eat rice and frozen pizza on the norm).
It amazes me we are so ready to claim equality for all but have a real, concrete fear for the word feminist. I imagine it comes from years of believing all feminists are “loud” and “pushy” (well, duh). But perhaps if we began to utilize the word for its purpose and owned up to its validity, we could begin understanding that it is indeed okay, hell it's even good, to be called a feminist.