When we asked for a new word for feminism — hoping we could do better than Beyoncé, who suggested something "catchy like 'bootylicious'" — we were, obviously, being tongue-in-cheek. There's nothing wrong with the word feminism, and if you believe in equality, you really should embrace the word — there's strength in numbers. However, for many it's not so simple.
As Limeade wrote:
It boggles my mind to no end when I see comments (from women in particular) that begin with "I'm no feminist, but..." or those that try to radically separate themselves from any word related to feminist or feminism. Civil and social and equal rights for women is all feminism IS and what a feminist supports.
Really, the negative connotations should be directed at people that are NOT feminists, thus implying they do NOT support civil, social, and equal rights for women to be equal to that of men. Because, hello, that's all it is. It isn't asking for special privileges above men, it isn't asking to flip the script of society around with men on the bottom rung, and it isn't even about man-hating whatsoever. It's about equality. Simple. Demonizing the word(s) isn't helping anyone.
That said, we got some great comments on the original piece, as well as some interesting emails.
Personally i really like the term feminist and think it's ignorant for young people in 2011 to try and distance themselves from it. i believe that the taboo associated with that term is a symptom of the systematic way that women and women's interests are stigmatized and reduced to either trivial or banshee-esue concerns.
I also believe that the treatment of feminists as a humorless 'man haters' finds it's pop culture roots in the very strategic and aggressive treatment the feminists and feminist politics in sleazy gentelmen's mags like playboy, hustler and GQ.
it's so like our culture, both women and men to feel uncomfortable wearing the prefix 'fem' because all of those effing misogynists successfully convinced the world that Fem and Masc are opposites, moreover that Fem is the opposite of power & powerful.
Why does "fem" need to be involved in an ideology that should gain the interest of everyone, not just those that would define themselves as "fem." Also, let's face it..."Feminism" as a term is notoriously jaded and has a weird set of characteristics that go along with; ie-feminists must be men hating, bra burning, no shaving feminazis. Cut the crap, the new term should be "FUCK PATRIARCHY". I mean the most fundamental usage of the term patriarchy. White male dominance that has enabled (specifically) our society to reap the benefits of and perpetuate sexism, racism, ageism et al. I'm fascinated by the new feminism of Rihanna, Beyonce, Kesha, Britney, and Nicki. They run the world.
My husband often points out that while he is a feminist in thinking, he hates the word itself as he feels it excludes men. He has often called himself an "Equalitarian" when pressed, but this lacks Beyonce-style panache, so I suggest "equaluscious."
Okay, yeah, good discussion.
And then we also received an email from a man named Mark Hays:
Anyone who is up to date and educated in the real world (not the brainwashing fantasy crap at any American university) can see the complete devastation Feminism has caused to Western society. Look around you- you're on a sinking ship- and what is the common denominator with 99% of the societal ills you see? Feminism.
It's kind of like being associated with AIDS- and who wants to be associated with that? Feminism started out nobly enough, but today has morphed into a predatory monster that fuels the false rape/ domestic violence / sexual harassment / gender discrimination accusation industry - only there to enable women to file endless fraudulent lawsuits against companies and individual men for profit & revenge through false accusations and blackmail. And of course this is one of the biggest reasons companies flee the country and half of all men avoid marriage. It's called Feminism 3.0 - pure unbridled evil.
And what have women accomplished after half a century of Feminism? Apparently not much when they have to resort to fraud and blackmail to earn cash. A lot has been done FOR women.. by men- but by and large women have accomplished nothing in all this time. The problem was that Feminism never stated.. "if you work really really hard once given the opportunity .." no, it just gives women endless allowances and leverage to sue everyone to the point where all they do is warm a chair in an office (that is when they even bother to show up).
I've got a new name for Feminism .. and it even starts with an 'F' ... FRAUD.
Well! He told us. Mr. Hays also left a number of comments (which were obviously not approved). At left, a sample.
But the truth is, women enter the workforce at a disadvantage. Men benefit from acting like jerks in the office; women do not. As Amber (aka Nineteen Percent) points out in her video takedown of Beyoncé's "Run The World (Girls)," women continue to make less money on the dollar than men. One year after graduation from college, women earn only 80 percent of what their male counterparts earn; ten years after graduation, women earn just 69 percent of what their male counterparts earn. Of the 500 largest companies in the world, only 13 are headed by a woman. Women are under-represented in government, and around 70% of victims killed by an intimate partner are female. (More here and here.)
So we do need to continue to demand equality and fight against sexism. And yes, that's feminism. But plenty of people have their reasons for choosing not to associate with the word itself, even if they're basically for the same thing. So imagine if we had a new word, not to replace feminism but kind of co-exist with it, a word that's there if anyone needs to use it.
We received many suggestions, among them:
Flesh-Hungry Young Slutism
Reallyism (as in "really? In 2011 that's acceptable behavior or thought to have about women? really?")
Equality for everyone regardless of their genitals
Equaligasm (an adherent of equaligasm would be an equaligasmitist)
FYATPHPHYRIO? (Pronounced Fee-Aht-Fee-Ree-Oh): Fuck You And The Privileged Heterosexist Patriarchal Horse You Rode In On
GEM (Gender Equality Movement)
Decency (feminists are "decentists.")
and special mention to [a symbol of our choosing]
But the winner?
The word was suggested in the comments by lioljundi, and emailed to us by Blythe Kenner.
Equalism is minimalist and catchy. I think equality is needed for various people, let's take examples:
People who fall out of the gender binary, genderless people, genderfluid, asexual, semisexual, transgender, transexual, intersexual, pansexual and all kinds of sexualities, gender identities or their absences, all kinds of unique self-perceptions.
People who identify themselves as women or men, have no problem with their identity and sex in terms of documentation but people who fall out of the gender binary are forced to choose one sex. That is an example of a lack of equality. Why is gender and apparel which is linked to biological sex so important? Just to tick one.
Back to the point: Equalism covers everybody. In each and every aspect. It covers people, and that is what unites us.
Well-said! lioljundi and Blythe, please email us for your box of chocolates. And the rest of you, take note: In this contest, everyone wins.