Bad Feminist

Bad Feminism doesn’t exist; we need all kinds of feminisms to keep the world progressing

More stories from Rebecca Mennecke

So, if it hasn’t been made perfectly clear yet, I’m apparently a bad feminist.

It’s right there, in the name of the column — “Bad Feminist.”

I’m not keeping any secrets here. From the movies I watch to my fashion choices, I’m a traditional feminist’s worst nightmare.

While I spend my morning putting on makeup, I could be running to work so I can work hard, be successful and achieve my dreams. Yet I still take that time to boost my confidence every morning by doing my hair and wearing makeup.

I still jam out to “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler even though the lyrics talk about the need for a man to save a woman.

My favorite Disney princess will always be Cinderella, even though she idealizes marriage and domesticity. I could go on.

The bottom line is I’m a terrible feminist.

But, really, I’m not a bad feminist at all.

Women have the right to make their own decisions on their lives. They have the right to hold their own opinions and maintain autonomy in what they do. If I want to get married, that’s my decision. If I don’t, that’s also my decision. I have lots of choices about what I want to do with my life.

But, there are a lot of choices I still don’t have.

We need different talents, strengths and unique characteristics that different types of feminists offer in order to fight for gender equality. We need different strengths. We need people from all parts of the political spectrum, all skin colors, all gender and sexual identities and from all walks of life to solve the issues of inequality. We need all kinds of feminisms — even the “bad” feminisms.

The most important thing I want to highlight here is how we need to fight for what is right. We can be “bad” feminists so long as we aren’t working against what feminism works so hard to achieve: equality. If someone is against that, they might actually be a bad feminist.

And, furthermore, feminism should not be a dirty word. I should not be considered a “bad” feminist because my version of feminism is slightly different from others. I still believe women should have the same opportunities as men. That, in and of itself, makes me a feminist. And, in my opinion, a pretty good one.

My confidence in that reality took a dip last week for a lot of different reasons.

So, I decided to look up Emma Watson’s 2014 “He for She” speech. Watson has been a role model for me since her early days in “Harry Potter.” Now, she’s more well known for her work as the U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador — a role that has inspired me since I first listened to this speech.

“If not me, who?” she said.“If not now, when?”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Mennecke can be reached at [email protected].