The ‘F’ word

by Katherine Manbeck

I am a 20-year-old woman who has had boyfriends and a girlfriend, worries about her hair, wears makeup, shaves her legs, shops and loves her body (most of the time). I am a feminist. Because of the negative connotation the word âÄúfeministâÄù has received in recent years, this admonition may make many of you uncomfortable. Indeed, a frighteningly large number of people seem to think feminism is outdated, self-involved and unnecessary. This worries those of us who recognize the important work that feminists still need to do, such as fight for equal rights and pay, question problematic expectations of female beauty and sexuality and challenge harassment. The assumption that feminism is outdated ignores current, very relevant and timely feminist goals, including fighting for GLBT equality, advocating affordable higher education, challenging racism and working on a slew of issues impacting all different people. The inaccurate assumptions and stereotypes surrounding feminism negatively impact the efficacy of gender equality work in our society. I hate the idea that something important and bipartisan in our society is made less effective because of stereotypes and inaccurate information. This is why I advocate an intense revitalization of the feminist image through dialogue about feminism. By exploring feminism with people who are scared of the term and its associated stereotypes, we can draw attention to the necessity of feminism. By creating broad coalitions of new allies and fostering new feminists, we hope to make equality reality. An excellent opportunity to start this journey is the âÄúFeministingâÄù panel this week. At 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Coffman Union Theater, a prominent feminist blogger will be participating in a panel about feminism. Katherine Manbeck, University undergraduate student WSAC member