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Can We Rebrand Feminism?

Or is it time to reject the label as an anachronism?

by
Leslie Loftis

Bio

November 14, 2013 - 5:00 pm
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britney-spears-work-bitch-video-still-13

From Britney Spears’s video for “Work B*tch”

Feminism needs a makeover, or so many feminists think. Unnerved every time some starlet, superstar, or rising professional star shuns the term, feminists wonder why all women don’t automatically claim the description.

They assume women must not know the meaning of the term. So they launch various education and rebranding campaigns. Recently, Christina Hoff Sommers tried to get “freedom feminism” to take in the pages of The Atlantic, and UK Elle launched a straight rebranding PR campaign. Hanna Rosin wondered if it was worth rebranding since it has proven so divisive. She has gotten closest to the actual problem.

If someone as smart and successful as Mayer, someone who tours the country speaking to young women, can’t comfortably call herself a feminist, then maybe we need to take her objection seriously. Maybe there is a reason why that PBS documentary was so much better on the history than it was on the modern era. Maybe feminism is a term too freighted with history and it’s time to move on.

To gain new feminists, the movement will need to do more than rebrand. The term “feminism” has bowed, as words do, to the dominate cultural practice, which despite what the rebranders think, has little to do with the hairy leg stereotypes of old. Right now feminism is defined by the old line political feminists, who have no intention of releasing their grip on the term. Any attempt to make feminism more popular will have to confront and break this hold.

Currently women who claim feminism fall into two major factions (and a host of minor factions too numerous to go into here). I call them the equal opportunity feminists and the political feminists.

The first holds that women should be free to make their own choices without external limitations. This feminism focuses upon equal opportunity and individual autonomy and enjoys broad support across the political spectrum. In almost every casual feminist discussion, someone will claim this is The One True Feminism. Some claim it with grace and passion in blog comment threads, while more popular proclamations declare we are all stupid if we don’t get it, like this helpful visual from HuffPo that I found in my Facebook feed:

Youreafeministflowchart

It is a simple sentiment and the one that the rebranding efforts reach for, but it is not the dominate feminism today.

For the past four decades, high profile feminists have co-opted the term for specific policy positions. These are the feminists who mistook the means for the ends.

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Top Rated Comments   
So, what kind of woman am I? I see no need for Feminism of any kind. What are women fighting to achieve? I really have no idea. It all looks like wasted time and effort to me.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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Ditch it. It's always been a movement based on flawed beliefs about men and women and with its relentless focus on women-as-victims it infantalizes women while demonizing men. You want to believe in equal rights under the law? There's a word for that. If you want to be a civil libertarian and specializes in women's issues, or men's issues, or whatever, then call yourself that.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Re-branding "Feminist" as "Stalinist" works for me.

But I guess it's just because I believe in truth in advertising.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rebranding? Changing the logo and the package color? Yep, that will work.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, the term feminism will be used for decades to come by the victimhood-mongers. You left out an important aspect of feminism - that it's also another front for crypto-socialists.

Old statists never die.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have new names for the new feminists:

Misandrists
Gender Animus Wave
Hate-speech
Privilege Painters
Anti-Capitalist, Patriarchal, White, Male, Heterosexual, Racist Concern Morons
Breast Comrades
Unluckiest People In History
Cis-Sis
Cultural Appropriation Colonialist Warriors
Intersectional Justice Brigade
Complain and Blame Until Spots Appear On The Sun and It Implodes
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gynosaurs.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
But at least you're not as obnoxious as liberal men who refer to themselves as "feminists".
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Are you aware that your bombastic rants against women - and others - make you seem like a charicature of the fabled Right Wing Bigot? You may not be, but the anger you direct at all women, even conservative women, is enough to make me feel sympathy for feminists - and that's something I always thought was an impossibility!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
All women? False. Women are the greatest thing on this planet. Have you read Donna Haraway? I have. Have you read the essays at ADA? I have. bell hooks, Melissa Harris-Perry, 3rd wave intersectionalists?

Laughing at a group of fringe lunatics is an awful long way from being a bigot and in the same way making fun of UFO creeps doesn't make me a hater of humans or a representative of a fifth column fronting for aliens.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
And not to give fuel to the fire that all women are stupid, I'm aware that I misspelled the word "caricature" and was unable to edit and change it.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Much like a union label is a stain on the brand of any product or service, "I'm a Feminist" is quickly followed by "Check, please!". Thanks, but no thanks. "You GO! Grrrl! Away, that is. Now, please."

Feminism has become the laughingstock dreamed up in "Animal House", as has every other "Progressive" fantasy. The *last* think that feminism is about is equality.

If feminism were actually about equality, there'd be the demand that women who commit crimes are prosecuted and sentenced to the same extent that men are, to say that women can take their lumps like men do. Instead, feminism is just the pretty face of the Sisters of Perpetual Victimhood, who've discovered there's money in them thar grievances, contrived or real.

Feminism's "image" problem won't go away until the bullsh!t does.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
It "seemed" like a good idea way back in the 70's.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
How about we start doing things like teaching that selfishness is bad and that biology is an important part of human nature? Yes, we teach this to boys as well.

Here's something to ponder: If young males are taught that females are different and that they have an obligation to protect them will young females be happier than if the males are taught that females are really not that much different and that they don't really need them that much anyway?

And will the young males say "oh woe is me, what a bitter life I face" or "Whatever. Let's Party"?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ditch the word "feminism" which irrationally means government forced equal outcomes with men, and stick with the word "feminine" which rationally means natural equal value to men and therefore equality of rights and equality under law with men. The law of nature and nature's God has fixed this in our essence and written this into our DNA: women (feminine) and men (masculine) are naturally unequal in their attributes and functions, but naturally equal in their value.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, what kind of woman am I? I see no need for Feminism of any kind. What are women fighting to achieve? I really have no idea. It all looks like wasted time and effort to me.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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