In the past week, social media, including Twitter and Instagram, drew attention to the hashtag #HowToSpotAFeminist. It is not used in the context that it deserves. The hashtag invited disrespectful and derogatory messages instead of conveying uplifting and inspiring anecdotes of what it means to be a feminist.
#HowToSpotAFeminist We carry around water bottles of man tears to stay hydrated and radiant.
— kitty (@howdyitskitty) May 5, 2015
Optimist- The glass is half full. Pessimist- The glass is half empty. Feminist- The glass is being raped. #HowToSpotAFeminist
— Danielle Sandler (@daniellesandler) May 5, 2015
#HowToSpotAFeminist – Usually fat & ugly, always inherently unlikeable, supremely hypocritical, snarky, annoying, deluded, intransigent.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) May 5, 2015
On the other side, users like UN Women tried to reclaim the meaning of the hashtag.
— UN Women (@UN_Women) May 5, 2015
If we look beyond the stereotypes that are packaged with the term feminist, the picture becomes clear. Do you support the equality of the sexes? Take a look in the mirror. You’ve just saw a feminist.
For Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, her TED Talk titled We Should All Be Feminists highlights the definition of the term in a clear and eloquent way. Listen to her take on the term below.
On our Western’s campus, I think we can spot feminists in an alternative way. My friends and I attended the Labyrinth release party, which celebrated the literary journal’s 50th issue. The theme surrounded gender, identity and marginalization. Everyone in attendance, from the artists, the writers and the attendees all gathered in celebration of giving voice to the voiceless.
Cassie Howlett, a Dance major, showcased her art piece at Labyrinth’s event. For her, seeing the crowd of people willing to share their stories of struggle and discovery brought on a new meaning to “spotting” a feminist.
“I think the poetry readings Labyrinth chose let us understand what gender equality is about. There was a male speaker mixed in with some female speakers. He spoke about the emotional pressure of masculinity, and it goes to show how inequality affects guys as well,” Howlett said.
To learn more about this year’s Labyrinth event, read this year’s Western Front article: Student-run literary journal aims to provoke thought
How does the term “feminist” influence your life? What do you think about the hashtag #HowToSpotAFeminist? Let Women of Western know in the comment section.