Opinion: Masculine character should not be required of feminists

Feminists who embrace typical feminine mannerisms are too often classified as “bad feminists”


Hailey Perrin, JagWire reporter/photographer

The clash of femininity and feminism has been something that I have experienced first hand. I have noticed the struggles that arise when you are a feminine-looking feminist. It seems as though you are frequently looked down upon by other feminists who appear more androgynous or masculine.

LessWrong.com writer Nathan Barnard wrote an article called Feminism and Femininity. He briefly explored four different views surrounding feminism with the example of “should feminists wear lipstick?”. 

One view he discussed is a side I often see: the double standard that you cannot be a feminine feminist. For example, a feminist shouldn’t wear lipstick. I have experienced this myself, when I am getting ready to hang out with friends. I will often pause, wondering if I am dressing too ‘girly’. Since political topics are common among my friends I worry about what may happen. I experience this because of people who have made assumptions based on my style or light-hearted personality. This has occurred often enough to impact me socially. 

When there is going to be a discussion in my history class, especially if it involves women’s rights I will second guess my outfit choice. Going for baggy pants and a basic t-shirt rather than the crop top or skirt I planned on wearing. Despite my efforts I am often too nervous to join a political conversation, especially if it involves feminism. Which has made me disconnected from the political views of my own generation. This feeling is not only associated with men but other women as well, if not more so. 

A woman named Briar Clark who published Femininity vs Feminism: Why should I have to choose, expresses a lot of the same points I am, explaining how there is an ideal invading feminism. Clark puts it as, “…the idea that women who choose to present themselves as feminine are in some way derailing the ideals of the movement.” 

I am aware that this idea does not apply to everyone. However, from observation and experience, I do believe there are multiple individuals who subconsciously make this inference, I especially see this in people my age. There is often underlying judgement.I consider myself a feminist, all women should have the opportunity to join any career she chooses if she meets the criteria. I am very open about this opinion. However despite how much I may be a feminist I will always question if people see me as a ‘good feminist’. 

I feel that women need to go back to a girls support girls mentality. A woman should never feel isolated from other women simply because she wore a p

ink dress one day. We need to stray away from the idea that your intelligence is based on your clothing style. So I challenge readers to ask themselves, are you truly living in a supportive feminist lifestyle or have you fallen into the rabbit hole of judgment?


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