This Is What a Feminist Looks Like

For some time now I have been lamenting the fact that feminism seems to have become the dirty F word – particularly with young women.  Why do so many women who talk to me begin their discussion with “I am not a feminist but…”

Is it fear of being perceived as a man hater? Hairy? A wearer of sensible shoes?  


Essentially, feminism is the belief that women deserve equality and an acknowledgement that for many women, this is simply still not the case. Not too radical surely?

Certainly, like all movements aimed at creating change, feminism has had its share of outspoken radicals. I connect with many feminists (Naomi Wolf in particular) but not with all. However, I am not threatened or alienated by the other voices of the sisterhood for it is this diversity that allows us to question, reflect and shape our own understandings. For example, although I find Jessica Valenti, US blogger and feminist author, frustrating at times (she uses lots of swearing for one – I think she would be more pursuasive without the hard core language) and I do not share all her values, I really like the passion she brings to interpreting feminism for this generation of young women.   

I had contemplated describing my own ever evolving feminist understandings in this post in an attempt to demystify the movement and encourage others to “come out” and join me in proudly waving the sisterhood flag.

That is, until Sonia Lyne, Program Director for Enlighten Education Victoria, sent me a YouTube link to a clip recently posted by a young Australian man, Brett.

This, my friends, is ALSO what a young feminist looks like. 

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I love that he is questioning, challenging and shaping his thoughts. I am so inspired by young feminists, male and female, who are refusing to rest on their laurels. The hard work is not all done. If it was, our daughters would not be cutting, starving, comparing and despairing. Women would not be massively under represented in the boardroom and in politics. We would see more women of all shapes and sizes, and those over 40, in the media. Working women would all have access to affordable, good quality childcare. Women overseas, and indeed here at home, would not be subjected to circumcision and other barbaric practices…  

My feminist movement welcomes all who support the radical notion that women are people too.

Welcome to the hairy and the clean shaven: those that like Birkenstocks. and those that are in love with their stilettos.

Guys definately included. And enlightened guys like Brett- absolutely embraced.  

There is nothing to be ashamed of; wear your “F badge” with pride in 2008.   


3 thoughts on “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like

  1. Jane Higgins says:

    As a feminist, I consider it my duty to advocate for young women’s physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual health. I want them to stand proud, to stand tall, to be the size, shape and person they are and never to be less than that. I hate to see the epidemic of young girls “silently imploding” as Dannielle refers to it. So that they don’t buy into this sexualised culture we must educate, lead and love these girls. And for the young man on You Tube – you give me hope!! Thank you for standing tall too.
    Great interview on 2UE too Danni. x

  2. Donelle says:

    How refreshing to see a young man stand up and make such positive comments publicly.

    It’s so important for young men to realise that they can play a huge part in helping girls and women overcome insecurities and improve self esteem.

    They can compliment their female friends, tell their girlfriends they’re beautiful, encourage their female friend’s education and careers. Just let the girls and women in their lives know that they are much more than merely something to be objectified.

    Thanks Brett for your video, and thanks ‘enlighten’ for widening its audience.

  3. Dorothy Stahlnecker says:

    I prefer to be emancipated verses liberated giving me the right to make him still buy dinner… Helping me think we still have control

    There has been progress in the business world, we have to keep it coming. Encouraging our youth to stand up for their rights….

    My best,
    Dorothy from grammology
    remember to call your gram

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