Many people have negative views towards feminism and people who identify as feminists because of the stereotypes that are attached to feminism. According to an article called “Top 10 Feminist Stereotypes” on the website titled ZIMBIO, an entertainment company out of California, some of the very popular stereotypes of feminists include: all feminists believe in the same things, feminists hate men and the idea of family, feminists don’t shave, and feminists are masculine and unattractive. According to Roy, Weibust, and Miller, there was a study done by Fink and Verderber that found that when people think of the word feminist, they think mostly positive things (148). They found that people often associate feminism with positive terms like “intelligent, ambitious, knowledgeable, and caring” (Roy et al., 148). On the other hand, people do often think of negative terms when given the word feminist. Some participants in the study called feminists “aggressive, opinionated, forceful, and non-conformist” (Roy et al., 148). Roy et al. also says, “Women believe that other people have negative stereotypes about feminists, even if their own personal views of feminists include many positive and neutral characteristics” (148). These negative views and stereotypes could be held responsible for why it is hard for people to “identify as a feminist” and it keeps people from “fighting sexism” (148).
Of course there are some people who identify themselves as feminists that fit these stereotypes, but the reality is that identifying yourself as a feminist does not mean you have to live up to the common stereotypes of being a feminist. In fact, according to The Happy Feminist, Feminism 101- What is Feminism? people who identify themselves as feminists are really just everyday people. This blog is written by a self-proclaimed feminist, who neither identifies as a male or female.
Feminism 101- What is Feminism? provides the audience with five facts about feminists. The first states that feminists are not from one background. Feminists come from every background you could think of. Feminists come from different religions, ethnicities, social classes, countries, etc. (Feminism 101). Along with being a very diverse group of people in terms of background, feminists are also very diverse in personalities and the lifestyle they live (Feminism 101). Feminists are also very different in what they focus on in when it comes to their feminist views, some people focus on the roles of men and women, violence towards women, women’s rights, and many more areas of interest when it comes to feminism (Feminism 101). Another big misconception of feminism is that all feminists think the same things should happen, when really most people have different thoughts about what should happen when it comes to feminism (Feminism 101). One of the most important things for people to understand about feminism is that feminists, just like many other people, do not focus all of their time on feminism. Many people who claim to be a feminist are interested in other issues as well, like being for or against the death penalty and achieving rights for both sexes (Feminism 101). Just because someone identifies as a feminist does not mean that they have to abide by a checklist that consists of what a feminist is. The beliefs, focuses, and values of feminists are all different and it is important to understand that.
"Feminism 101--What Is Feminism?" The Happy Feminist. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <http://happyfeminist.typepad.com/happyfeminist/2006/01/feminism_is_not.html>.
Roy, Robin, Kristin Weibust, and Carol Miller. "Effects of Stereotypes About Feminists on Feminist Self-Identification." Psychology of Women Quarterly. 31. (2007): 146-156. Print.
"Top 10 Feminist Stereotypes." ZIMBIO. 2009. Web. 27 Apr 2012. <http://www.zimbio.com/feminism/articles/212/Top 10 Feminist Stereotypes>.
Author: Greta B.