Relationships

On Being a Feminist

The Future is Female

Over the past year, I’ve noticed something growing online, and it’s amazing: Women are talking directly to women about everything that goes on in our lives. With the internet, young women can have a voice now without having to go through a traditionally male hierarchy (movie producers, magazine publishers, etc). They’re having a conversation and owning it. It’s real and important and, at times, so so so funny. So, today — as Hillary Clinton sets out as the likely first female presidential nominee of a major party — we wanted to share some of the great things people are doing online…

Ugly Volvo's amazing open letter to the female dog in Go, Dog, Go!

A hilarious open letter to the female hat-wearing dog from Go, Dog, Go! (“I wanted to take a minute to tell you that what matters is that you like your own hat.”) I could not love this more.

Emily McDowell girl power mug

Emily McDowell mug, illustrated with Jen Pastiloff’s girl power manifesto.

Women having a terrible time at parties in Western Art History

Women Having A Terrible Time At Parties In Western Art History and Women Rejecting Marriage Proposals In Western Art History. The captions made me laugh x a million.

Sally Nixon artwork

Illustrations by Sally Nixon of what women do when no one’s watching.

Feminism print

Vive le Feminisme print.

Bad Housekeeping

Bad Housekeeping by cartoonist Roz Chast.

Broad City

“As Emily Rapp put it a few years ago: ‘Here’s the truth: Friendships between women are often the deepest and most profound love stories, but they are often discussed as if they are ancillary, “bonus” relationships to the truly important ones. Women’s friendships outlast jobs, parents, husbands, boyfriends, lovers, and sometimes children.’ ” — Broad City and the Triumph of the Platonic Rom-Com, The Atlantic

Jessica Williams on catcalling

Jessica Williams’s flawless response to a man who believed that female passersby enjoy it when he claps for them. (See the whole thing here.)

Shrill by Lindy West

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, a powerful and witty memoir by Lindy West. (I dog-earred a dozen pages.)

Lola Tampons

Lola cotton tampons, made without chemicals or dyes, designed by two female friends.

Ann Friedman

Can we just, like, get over the way women talk?” asks Ann Friedman.

Feminism documentary

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, a documentary film about the birth of the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s.

Feminist With a To-Do List pin

Feminist pin.

Aziz Ansari on feminism

Feminism, of course, isn’t just for those who identify as female: “If you believe that men and women have equal rights, if someone asks if you’re feminist, you have to say yes because that is how words work. You can’t be like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m a doctor that primarily does diseases of the skin.’ ‘Oh, so you’re a dermatologist?’ ‘Oh no, that’s way too aggressive of a word! No no not at all not at all.’ ” — Aziz Ansari

P.S. 15 career tips from smart women.

(Top photo by Sophie Johnson; the Future is Female tee from Otherwild. Thank you to Stella Blackmon for scouting help.)

  1. Yes! Everyone can and should identify as feminist if they believe in equal rights for males and females. People are quick to call feminist crazy, as the media has shown and talked about radical feminists. We do live in patriarchal society, in which it’s a daily struggle for females to gain the respect and rights they deserve- but I believe we all can change – and that starts with a conversation.

  2. Love the quote from Aziz!

    Also: love the feminist book club (Our Shared Shelf) from Emma Watson!

  3. I’m enjoying this topic! I’ve just started delving more into feminism as it is today and wish I hadn’t started at age thirty! Having a daughter now too makes me think about what it is to be able to have a life unhooked from the stereotypes and expectations. I’d love to give her the gift of that thoughtful upbringing.

    http://www.thewefiles.com

  4. A post script to my last comment. If everything is so ok, tell me why a young man only gets 3 months probation for raping a young woman and a lot of people are ok with that?

  5. Robin says...

    Love love love the Toast. So sad to lose it at the beginning of July. Thank goodness for the archives!

    • I know! All their roundups are taking tiny pieces out of my heart.

  6. I’m going to be cynical for a moment and ask, can someone promise me that each passing wave, feminism becomes more of a norm? That it isn’t just a fashionable phase? Because I definitely see the growing acceptance of Feminism since my high school years (2005-2009) till now, but for feminists that came of age in the 90s and 60s, is this frustrating to you? Are we fighting battles that have been already been fought but have been forgotten as the backlash trend of being a pretty and good housewife or even a tomboy who “doesn’t care” about “feeelings” (so far inevitably) swells again and we fall back into nonchalance believing the fight has already been fought by our mothers.

    Sorry for the bad grammar but I’m too brain dead to fix it!

    • As someone who went to high school in the ’90s and played on the boys’ soccer team because there wasn’t a girls’ one, here’s my cynical take on feminism.

      As far as I’m concerned, the battle has been won. Other than in a few areas (such as the closing wage gap), we have essentially hit equality. In my worldview, the only people still fixated on feminism as a cause are older women who really defined themselves by it and those who are younger and want to be part of a movement.

      Maybe it’s different in other parts of the country, but here in my corner of the Midwest, none of my 30-40 something friends talk about feminism. It’s not because we don’t care about equal rights. It’s because we already have them. We can what we want when we want how we want.

    • Equal rights may have been achieved among caucasian women but if you look at women of color you will see they have a long way to go. As I said earlier, it is up to the women who achieved parity to lean down and recognize their sisters and help them achieve the same parity. I might ask who is doing the babysitting while you are at work? Who is doing your nails? Who is working for minimum wage at the dry cleaners? I am sorry but I don’t see this as an “old women” who is reliving her glory days.

    • Jill says...

      Maryalene I’m an attorney. I graduated high school in 1996. I live in the Midwest. I cannot remember a single week that a male judge, co-worker, or opposing counsel did not try and reduce me or one of my female co-workers by saying something ignorant and mysogonistic. For example, “maybe we shouldn’t schedule court the week of Christmas. I’m sure Ms.—- has to cook dinner.” Equality is far from won.

  7. I know you say it with the best intentions. But nothing in this universe, as far as us scientists know, is made without chemicals. No chemicals is a gimmick. Everything in this world is made of elements and they form bonds and those bonds are chemical bonds and voila! The only thing that is chem free is a vacuum. So, as a woman-feminist-scientist, I would love if we could correct this as a society. Perhaps the makers of the tampons mean that they are locally sourced, ethically made, organic, not bleached … or any other term. But saying that something is chemical free is pure marketing .. no matter how well intentioned is seems to be.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_free

    • Karen says...

      Thank you! “Chemical free” drives me nuts!

  8. The Go Dog Go comments are spot on- as I (re) read that book to my dog obsessed toddler, the entire narrative around the male and female dogs is seriously disturbing. Why does she care that this apparent stranger likes her hat? Why do they go off together when he does like her hat?

    As for feminism itself, while I certainly believe in the equality of the sexes and for many years self-identified as a feminist, I’ve distanced myself more and more from that label as I have noticed two things. First, that women and girls are, on average, out performing men and boys. There are many more women graduating from college than men (many of whom are adrift, addicted to videogames and/or porn). Girls are doing better in school than boys. Etc. Etc. Second, as many commentators have mentioned over and over, feminism is about choice- and I fear that the choice of the adults is often at the expense of the needs of children.

    • wkwr says...

      Women may be out performing men and boys, but who still dominates the C-suite? The board room? To your point about choice: yes, feminism has a lot to do with choice. But your comment seems to insinuate that women who *choose* to bend or break traditional gender roles are doing so at the expense of their families. It’s this thinking that slows down the feminist movement and true equality. Instead of blaming women for “neglecting” their children, why don’t we ask men to take an equal share of the responsibility of raising a family?

  9. I love that feminism is becoming talked about more and more in everyday conversation and you can now get away with calling yourself a feminist without (well, kind of) people thinking you are a man-hating crazy. It’s not at all about that, it’s about equality and freedom of choice…whatever your choice may be. Whether it’s your dream to be a high-powered exec, an athlete, a stay at home mom, an activist….these are your choices and if you are of the opinion that you shouldn’t be judged for such things then I think you are a feminist (whether you call yourself that or not).

  10. Rebs says...

    I wonder if people shy away from being “feminist” because of the word itself. Technically (grammatically-speaking), the word means that we are putting women above men. That’s not proper either.
    That women and men should have equal standing as humans is a pretty basic truth. I understand in past years it required a label and lots of work to get here, but maybe not so much now? Or maybe I’m being too privileged in my view (I have many brothers, male friends and a husband who all sincerely respect and view me as equal to them, with just as much to add to society)

    • Nora says...

      Yessss!

  11. Love this. Thank you Joanna.

  12. THANK YOU- this was a great read with so many interesting sub articles, truly loved it <3

    Scandinavian slow fashion launching soon at http://www.byem.com

  13. EPH says...

    Holy cow! Did you listen to Malcolm Gladwell’s new podcast?! Revisionist history, go listen.

  14. Paige says...

    The book Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay is incredibly relatable, hilarious, and thought provoking. I reccomend it to everyone

  15. ALC says...

    I encourage everyone to embrace radical feminism rather than this liberal feminism. Feminism isn’t about speaking for all oppressed peoples and being equal with men – it’s about seeking freedom from male oppression and violence. It’s about accessing health care, employment, and other opportunities without fear of danger or being discriminated against due to biological sex (which is not something you can identify your way into). It’s about dismantling the yoke of gender, which is a hierarchy, not a spectrum. Let’s strive for real change here.

  16. I marched for feminism in the 1960’s and feminist is a word that all women should claim. True feminism is opening a door to allow women regardless of race, education, religious leanings, political leanings, etc, to the same and equal right that men have. The most important to me is the right of personal choice to live your life as you choose and not to be dictated to by any outside agency or current political system what your choices are limited to. I think one of the biggest goals for feminism right now is to remember SISTERHOOD and to not criticize each others choices and for those that have shot through the glass ceiling to reach a hand down and help their sisters up.

    • Alex McKellar says...

      Thank you for marching in the 60’s. I wasn’t born then, but know we are heading towards true equality because of women like you who actually got out there and said it isn’t ok.

  17. I’ve been a feminist from day one without knowing what it was called. I’m surprised that more of my peers don’t see what I do. It’s the way forward for me and I honestly don’t see how any woman would be against wanting to be considered and treated as equal. It affects men in a very positive way too so I will rail against injustice forever

  18. Loved them specially the quote by Aziz Ansari.

  19. Factual Feminist has also been so informative in shaping my own feminist views as well, I highly recommend this as well:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLytTJqkSQqtr7BqC1Jf4nv3g2yDfu7Xmd

    Above all, I definitely agree with you that women having open, honest conversation with other women is what is most important and inspiring in today’s world. Thanks for keeping it going!

  20. Paige says...

    So..:: LOVE the Lola tampons — order them actually. But I have asked (and they were surprisingly responsive) to make one without an applicator… What’s the point! More waste! So I’m recruiting more folks to ask them for the same. They say there wasn’t enough demand when they polled…. Maybe there is?
    And Joanne /// adore this blog. Thanks….
    — from a very normal Colorado girl

  21. The reason I can’t bring myself to proudly label myself a feminist is exactly because such self-proclaimed, vocal proponents of feminism feel that it is actually praiseworthy to wear t-shirts titled “The Future is Female” while in the same breath claim to be for EQUALITY of the sexes. I hope my daughters will be wise enough to see through such glaring hypocrisy masquerading as a type of virtue signal.
    I highly recommend considering the work of feminist author and scholar Christina Hoff Sommers as we all contemplate, as men and women, what it means to be a feminist in today’s culture. feminist.http://time.com/author/christina-hoff-sommers/

  22. Megan says...

    I love the ‘future is female’ shirt and would love to wear one! However, I have a two year old son and I feel conflicted. Maybe the worlds future will be more female driven, but my family’s isn’t really?
    Joanna and all the other mamas of sons, any thoughts?

    • The Future is Female slogan has nothing to do with men. What it means is that women will be a part of the future’s history in a way that they have not yet been. Women historically have been written out of history. This is about equality. It’s a slogan that any gender can proudly wear and support, including your son in support of his sister and mom!

  23. Marcy says...

    I don’t necessarily equate feminism with putting down women who live traditional lives… There are just many, many people who call themselves feminists who do that. Perhaps it is more that a lot of people/women subscribe to a different form of feminism than that which you discuss (and your version is the one with which I agree and support). It seems like often that message gets lost along the way.

    • Marcy says...

      Oops- meant to reply to Gem’s response to my original comment.

    • Melissa says...

      Hi Marcy,
      (I read your previous comment as well)

      It makes me sad that that has been your experience. I agree entirely with what Gem said. Feminism is about choices and equality. It’s about all women finding a path and a role/roles that make them happy whether or not it is considered “traditional.”

      So much of what feminism stands for is how women are treated. There are some feminists that are fighting against misogyny and with that may forget to be kind to all women and all choices. Unfortunately, women are still considered to be lesser and it is evident in how we are treated. That is why it is so exciting to see so many resources for young women and men regarding feminism.

  24. Gem says...

    Hell yes. I loved all of this.

  25. Marcy says...

    I appear to be a lone wolf, as far as cup of jo readers go, in my opinions on feminism and this post. While I understand the empowerment many women find in it, I found it mostly insulting to past and current generations of women who feel fulfilled and happy in more traditional roles. I am a stay at home to three small children. I am a licensed attorney in New York, but choose to stay home and raise my children. I work hard to contribute my time and energy to their schools, to our church and to our family. I am very independent. My husband works out of town often. And I am happy. Posts like this- and commentary from feminists on my life- seem to degrade women who choose to live traditional lives. If feminists want the support of all people, including many men, they should respect the choices of all people. The people who are the most insulting to me about my life choices consider themselves feminist. And that makes me question the whole movement.

    I have CHOSEN my traditional life. I teach my daughter that she can be and do whatever she wants. I teach my sons the same thing. I treat them equally. My daughter told my husband that, “Mommy has SO many jobs and she’s very important.” Because that is what she sees and feels. It would be nice if all women respected each other and not just those who choose similar paths.

    • Gem says...

      Feminism means equality, and equality means that each person gets to decide the kind of life that she or he wants to live, without being forced into one particular roll or set of expectations. I’m disheartened that you equate feminism with putting down women who live more “traditional” lives, because to me, that’s not feminism at all! Your decision to stay home with your children is every bit at feminist as someone else’s decision to go to work or to not have children. It’s about believing in choice and equality.

    • Anna says...

      My mother often says that what her generation got wrong was not addressing childcare. I tend to agree. So much of what they were fighting for was the right to have autonomy and a life outside of the home and they didn’t take into account single mothers or women who still wanted to stay home, but also wanted more agency than society allowed at the time. I think we have come a long way since that time, but what strikes me about your comment is that there is still isolationism is the women’s movement. That it is viewed as us versus them. Except they’re both groups of women. It isn’t, and it doesn’t have to be, one way or the other. The fact that you get to do what you want to do means that the women’s movement has/is working toward equality. I really don’t think that this post is questioning or undermining the choice that you have made. It is celebrating the fact that you were able to make it.

    • Megan says...

      I take feminism, in the most general definition, to mean the sexes are equal. Hell yes we are equal, whether you work inside or outside the home, traditional or non-traditional roles.

    • Emily says...

      Marcy – I agree with Gem’s comments below. I consider myself a feminist, and believe that we should all support and respect one another’s choices. I choose to work outside of the home, because I find it fulfilling, and it works for my family. However, that’s just my choice, and I don’t think of more “traditional” choices as being wrong, or somehow less than mine. Staying home to raise your children is equally important, difficult, beautiful and fulfilling. I feel so sad that feminism is often such a dirty word. While I agree that it can often be used in a way that puts down women’s choices, I believe that TRUE feminism is based on equality and respect. As a self-professed feminist, I want you to know that I think your traditional life is a wonderful choice, no matter how it may differ from my own.

    • Marcy says...

      I appreciate all of your kind replies. Yours is the kind of feminism I can get behind. I have always supported equality, but hesitated to say feminism, not because of what Aziz said, but because of the things I I mentioned above (and in my other post, which is a new comment instead of a reply. Oops.) It is nice to know there are many of you of who can support ALL women.

    • Feminism is all about choice, Megan. I’m sorry you’ve had that experience, but the life you are describing is feminism in the truest sense. It’s about equality- not about one way being the right way. Choice choice choice!

    • mika says...

      Marcy,

      I’m so sorry this is your experience. Being a mother and choosing to stay home to raise your children with love and respect, is just as feminist as being a high powered attorney, or Beyonce, or Oprah. Don’t ever listen to anyone who tells you otherwise, they do not understand what feminism means. It’s similar to people who espouse judgment and hatred, and call themselves, “Christians”. I hope you will meet more supportive feminists in the future who don’t make you feel less than for choosing your own path.

    • Carol says...

      How does this post degrade women who choose “traditional lives”?

      Feminism is about respecting (AND SUPPORTING!) the choices of all people. It is an idea. Have individual people who call themselves feminists been jerks to you? – I don’t doubt it. But that doesn’t undermine the IDEA of feminism.

    • Rachel says...

      I feel exactly the same way Marcy does regarding how feminism seems to degrade the traditional roles of women–at least in how it is represented in mainstream society and by both men and women I know who call themselves “feminists.” They were the first to criticize my decision to stay home with my kids partway through my architecture career–I heard actual groans and appeals to change my mind because I “would be so behind” once I re-enter the workforce. It honestly just made me more confident in my decision.

      I understand that feminism is meant to be about choice, and many of the commenters do not agree with the approach colleagues of mine took, but I do think it’s important not to dismiss this idea as some sort of rogue feminism.

    • Carol says...

      This is surprising to me. I have never encountered this type of reaction to a woman choosing to work in the home.

      In any case, no matter what these individual people said, that doesn’t impact whether feminism as an ideal is right or wrong. If a civil rights advocate criticized you in a wrong-headed manner would you then decide to oppose civil rights? No.

    • Lori H says...

      Amen

    • Rachel says...

      I don’t disagree with you, Carol, and I call myself a feminist, despite these experiences. At the same time, I don’t want this (from what I can tell) common experience to be dismissed.

      I am 100% behind feminism as an idea, but I think that the idea has also evolved in the minds of many men and women, and I don’t know that I am behind that particular brand of feminism at all. I don’t think that feminism–in our collective consciousness at least–is very inclusive or does a very good job at celebrating women. It often just comes across as women needing to be more like men (abc more of just being told what to do!)

      As for the analogy with civil rights, you make a good point, but I don’t think you are recognizing (or have experienced first-hand perhaps) the prevalence of this attitude. If I met five civil rights activists and four were wrong-headed, then yeah, even I thought that civil rights was great in theory, I might be hesitant to join the cause.

    • Lisa says...

      No one should be unsupportive of you being in a role that you chose to be in. I think the hard part about live in a patriarchal society is to try to parse out the difference between choosing to do something on their own and doing it because of social expectations. I’m totally not saying this has anything to do with your decision to stay home, but often it ends up being mothers who stay home because the fathers never would seriously consider leaving their careers to raise children. Aside from the early years of nursing there’s no reason men couldn’t leave their careers to focus on raising their children. Feminism is still needed to break down these expectations. I work full time out of the house while my husband works a full time job from our home and is home with our two sons everyday while I’m at work. I think you would be shocked to hear the kinds of comments we get. Just the fact that it is so shocking to people. And while this setup would feel normal had the roles been reversed, I get so many comments that it must be so terrible to be away from home and need to depend on my husband to try to hold down the fort. That I’m so lucky to have him (I’m so grateful for what an amazing husband and father he is, but that is my expectation of a partner- to love and support and co-parent). He gets comments constantly- like when he’s out with the boys running errands and people say “good job, dad! You’re giving mom a break!” No, it is not a mom’s job to do errands and raise her children solo. These subtleties show me how far we are from equality.

  26. Marcy says...

    I love your posts and especially love this one. You represent women well because you are intelligent and compassionate. I think this is going to be the year of the woman.

  27. Been a feminist since I turned 12, and first heard the word. It was 1968. *about damn time, she says, quite happily*

  28. Gloria says...

    Jo! Raquel D’Apice (the comedian behind The Ugly Volvo, which I agree is THE BEST) is an old friend of mine, and I have to tell you, she’d just as funny and personable in real life as she seems in her writing. She’d make an excellent and hilarious addition to your My Beauty Uniform series, just saying!

  29. Sarah T says...

    This is the most wonderful post, Joanna. I love everything you have included but especially the “Open Letter to the Female Hat-Wearing Dog From “Go Dog, Go” – just brilliant!

  30. I got this same tee at my friend’s shop. I even got a “The future is female” onesie for another friend’s daughter and almost got one for another friend’s son, and then backed up, so stupid of me. I need to affirm my feminist self more, especially since that last friend works for gender equality, it would have been the puuurfect gift (slaps forehead).

    – Chloe
    http://consciousbychloe.com

  31. Laura Brown says...

    Awesome one!

  32. Christina R says...

    what a GREAT post!!! I love every single one of these. Such a winning compilation. Will be coming back a couple of times to revisit, I’m sure. Some great gift ideas, some great articles. the dog book post was HILARIOUS. Waiting to go home to look at the women in paintings. Great job, Jo and Stella!

  33. Gelsomina says...

    I get that you’re a Hillary supporter and all, but the fact remains that she is not the first woman to run for President in this country. In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first major-party black candidate and the first woman ever to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
    In discussing feminism and intersectionality, let us not propagate the erasure of women of color and their accomplishments throughout American history.

    • tara says...

      Thank you for this post! my comment on Hillary has not yet been approved.

    • I agree 100% re: intersectionality in feminism (and commented about it earlier!)… and not sure if the post was updated or if it’s the original language, but the props for Hillary aren’t that she’s the first to run, but that she’s the first woman to clinch the major party NOMINATION … which is different. Chisolm definitely paved the way, for both Obama and Clinton, and I think they both recognize that.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh yes that’s what we have always said — first nominee of a major party.

  34. Heather says...

    I love this round up. Thank you!

  35. The Future is Female!
    The ED of Bitch Magazine just gave me Andi Zeisler’s (their creative/editorial director) new book, “We Were Feminists Once.” I can’t wait to read it. It addresses this “moment” we’re in.

  36. Second this in its entirety! The point about males being feminist, too, is an important one. (And love the Aziz Ansari quote.) As my husband says, he’s an “equalist”, which equates to feminist because things aren’t exactly equal.

  37. Marge says...

    re: tampons. You should try out a Menstrual Cup (aka. Diva Cup or Moon Cup). Changed my life. Not only is it economical and better for the environment, but it allows you to be more in tune with your menstruation. You get past the ‘icky’ factor real quick.

  38. Megan says...

    Bravo, Jo!! So pleased that I can find important issues like this on your blog. I love that you don’t shy away from talking about this stuff. Most importantly, I love that your boys are growing up not being afraid of the big F-word, so to speak!

  39. jeannie says...

    I used to read “Go, Dog, Go!” to my son all the time when he was little. Uh oh!

  40. Frédérique says...

    I read your blog everyday, but I comment rarely since my english is not so good. However, this one is just so good. Thank you for being such an inspiration. Xxx

  41. Adriana says...

    Yay for this post! :)

  42. Hannah Avery says...

    What if in the “Go Dog Go” book, she wanted the other dog to like her hat? Does she not have that right? On a slightly different note, I would think it pretty mean for my husband to wear things that he knew I did not like to look at. He has the right to, and he is his own individual, but we like to please each other in our dress, and we have that right. I am a woman, who has rights before the law. I have the same Civil Rights as a man. It would be odd for an apple and an orange to want to be treated the same. They are grown differently, taste differently, and are different. I’m happy to be a woman, and enjoy being treated like one. I don’t see the need to be a feminist – I am a woman by design, temperament, and emotion – it is self-evident.

    • Lea says...

      To reiterate:
      “If you believe that men and women have equal rights, if someone asks if you’re feminist, you have to say yes because that is how words work. You can’t be like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m a doctor that primarily does diseases of the skin.’ ‘Oh, so you’re a dermatologist?’ ‘Oh no, that’s way too aggressive of a word! No no not at all not at all.’ ” — Aziz Ansari

      Unless you don’t believe that men and women should have equal rights, in which case, you are not a feminist, and I stand corrected.

    • Please, how do you define “being treated like a woman?”

    • Being a woman “by design, temperament, and emotion,” shouldn’t mean having less opportunities than men, making less money than men because of gender, etc. Having the same civil rights on paper isn’t the same as equality.

    • Nina says...

      So that means you do a job and earn a certain amount of money for it and a guy, doing exactly the same job gets 1/3 MORE you are ok with it, because, hey, you are not a feminist? Because, that’s reality. You want to be treated the same when it comes to job opportunities, salary, rights e.g.

  43. NSU says...

    Joanna: I have endless respect for your willingness to be open about your values including your support for Hillary.
    I work in a male-dominated field (finance), and I do not feel like I can be even tacitly open about my support for HRC, and mentioning sexism in the workplace makes me “too PC”. I am hoping there are even more “secret” Hillary supporters like me out there.
    But more importantly, I think, as others have mentioned above, your willingness to post like this really normalizes feminism, so it’s no longer the dirty word. And that “sexist” is!

    • Anna says...

      Fingers crossed that there are tons of secret HRC supporters waiting in the wings!

    • Trish O says...

      #ImWithHer and I am not going to keep it a secret.

  44. Apologies if this was already covered in the comments – and I’m only commenting as a long-time reader and fan, no snark intended! – “female” implies one’s biology, while “woman” implies one’s gender. Thus, woman tends to be a better descriptor in situations like this than female. The shirt featured at the top of this article, which I adore for its intentions and popularity, misses the mark.

    • Sas says...

      Don’t want to snark/be combative either. But I do want to speak out in favor of the slogan.

      Personally I don’t think it misses the mark. It does show a different view a feminism than the currently popular one, despite the popularity of the shirt.

      There has been a strong push in feminism to divorce the category women from biology, instead basing it, mostly, on undefined “feelings” (sometimes explained with gender stereotypes). But, half the world is born female (biological sex) and is, unfortunately, still oppressed for that (raised differently, treated differently). I think it’s pretty great to proclaim the future will be ours!

      Plus, it’s nice and alliterative, you know? It just sounds better this way!

      I do have some doubts about commercializing feminism… and I have been worried about one thing. The seller didn’t come up with the slogan herself. She recognizes this, and mentions the source (Which makes me happy! Giving other women credit!). But it isn’t clear from the item description if she got permission from the original wearer to reuse and profit from “her” slogan. Does anyone who bought the shirt know if she did? Btw, this isn’t about the law to me, just about supporting other women! I love the shirt and part of me wants one (yes, despite my doubts about commercializing feminism).

    • Sarah says...

      My feminism doesn’t disclude my trans brothers and sisters and non-conforming siblings. It’s inclusive of all identities. And, personally, I’ve never looked in the pants of any of my lady friends to make certain I can also call them “females”.

  45. You made my whole day. I presented in grad school this week on the topic of Feminist Family Therapy, and prefaced my presentation with the acknowledgement that feminism can be a polarizing concept and debunked some of misconceptions of man-hating, women-taking-over-all-men’s power concept, so that during discussion time, we could have a productive conversation free of myths. I wish I lived in a world that everyone would have looked at me and been like um, girl… yah I know? Preaching to the choir? But we do not. And as I thought, it was controversial for some, and a new “friend” (I’m trying not to cut him out forever just because he can be an ignoramus, or how else will he be re-educated if not for tough but compassionate friends?) after said things like:

    – Feminism is inherently a sexist word. I’d be fine if the term was “Equalist”.
    – I don’t know… I still have trouble with both those concepts (when I was comparing how #BlackLivesMatter in important term to use, and #AllLivesMatter is ….. horrifying)
    – A challenge: “Tell me right now how I have more privelege than you.”
    me: “um… You’re white and a guy.”
    him: So????

    Anyways. I can be so tired sometimes by all this. But this link round up made me smiiiiiile– thank you for this conversation.

  46. Laura says...

    Brava!

  47. Thank you Joanna!!! This was so exciting to see on Cup of Jo!!

    It’s important for us all to say we’re feminists out-loud until it becomes detached from the straw men, just like pro-choice and atheist.

    By the way, I recently read in “Originals” by Adam Grant that the more we see something, the more we like it. So I think that the more we see ‘feminism’ in a positive light like you’re doing, the more people will continue climbing on-board with the rest of us!

  48. Rosie says...

    F*ck yes, Joanna! I love everything about this post. I am obsessed with Lindy West’s book, my best friend is the PRIMARY love of my life, and I loved the quote from Aziz. Also, the Ann Friedman article was great. I am so tired of how we can’t possibly hear what a woman has to say unless she says it JUST perfectly the way we want to hear it. THANK YOU for this post. AMEN!!

  49. TipsyJWalker says...

    Another great quote is from Arya from Game of Thrones, Maisie Williams.
    “I also feel like we should stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminist ‘sexist’ — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist. People get a label when they’re bad.”

    I agree, wholeheartedly.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/maisie-williams-offers-brilliant-reason-to-stop-calling-people-feminists-game-of-thrones_us_570509d0e4b0a506064d9e6d

    • Nina says...

      I LOVE that!

  50. Noelle says...

    Over the past several years, I’ve come across Cup of Jo casually here and there, and while I enjoyed the couple of posts I read, I generally dismissed it as a fluffy lifestyle blog.

    I started following in earnest late last year, and I couldn’t have ever been more wrong, especially when I see posts like this coming from you and your editors. Thank you!

  51. Lauren says...

    I remember learning more about feminism in college about 10 years ago, and I’m glad to see that it’s becoming more widely-accepted, and men are becoming more involved than they had been (women’s studies classes were mostly women with a few men that dared to try it). I have been disappointed though, by some of the feminist-shaming I’ve felt happening in the election – i.e., Gloria Steinem suggesting women were voting for Bernie to ‘get boys to like them.’ That was so offensive, and even if you are supporting Hillary, I would think most feminists would be bothered by that statement. It was incredibly demeaning, and for someone who has been such a leader, I was stunned that she said it. I’ve always believed feminism means equal rights for everybody. Sometimes, though, the preaching-nature I’ve noticed lately, and policing every word to the extreme, can really push people away from engaging. It’s not the easiest topic in the world, but I do appreciate this post.

  52. That Aziz Ansari quote is perfect! It’s amazing to me how often men (and women) are made so uncomfortable by the word feminism, regardless of their completely feminist beliefs! This is not a dirty word people!!

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  53. Melody says...

    Joanna and team, this made my day! Thank you and big hugs! :)

  54. Super roundup! I adore the point made by Asiz at the bottom. We need to reclaim and proudly use the feminist word and label – how will its associations be accurate if feminists aren’t even willing to use their own darned word?! Yes, yes, yes.

  55. Eden says...

    Carrie Brownstein’s memoir “Hunger makes me a modern girl” floored me, she made so many compelling points on gender in music, feminism, and political movements’ in- and exclusivity.

  56. Sofia says...

    omg i’m wearing my “the future is female” t-shirt today!!! what a wonderful coincidence :D

  57. Sue says...

    ARGH! The Toast is going away! Who will show us women being bored to death in Western Art History now? Please, someone, start an Instagram account of these? Also, love this post!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, so sad about that, too!

  58. Meaghan says...

    Super, thanks for speaking out about this Joanna! It’s great to see people like you who have such mainstream appeal proudly claiming the title of feminist (I love the ultra-feminist corners of the internet but it sometimes feels a lot like just preaching to the choir).

  59. Yes yes yes yes. Sidenote: I think it’s important to also talk about intersectionality in feminism, which could be a great follow up post to this one! The other day, in addition to the “future is female” shirt, I saw one that said “the future is non-binary” which made my heart happy.

  60. Julia says...

    I have to admit that I’m getting more and more frustrated with today’s feminism (even though it might only be my German perspective). I’m currently a stay-at-home mum and am continuously being asked when I’ll work again.

    But what if I don’t want to? What if my take on feminism is that I want to stay at home, raise my kids and care for my family? What if I don’t think that having a career makes me “more of a woman”? Am I rejecting “feminist ideals”? Isn’t feminism about TRULY being able to choose paths in life instead of solely focusing on “women can now have a career just like men”?

    • Samantha says...

      very good point

    • Jamie says...

      Yes! With true feminism women can choose to work, or to stay at home – whatever is right for them.

    • You’re absolutely right Julia, feminism is about the choice! Remind someone that the next time they ask you ;)

    • Sally says...

      Being a stay at home mom may have nothing to do with the *corporate* world, but it’s no less a job or career. There are no lunch breaks, no PTO or sick leave and if you have little kids, there are sometimes no bathroom breaks either. I’d like to suggest the comment “choose to work or to stay at home” would be better stated “choose to work or to work at home”. Good for you Julia for choosing a great path! And loud applause to any woman, or man, who chooses to work at home for their family.

    • Jennifer says...

      Hi Julia, another German reader here. I’m currently pregnant and whenever people hear that my husband will stay at home for most of the parental leave time while I’ll be working, he gets told how awesome and modern he is and I get asked if I don’t feel bad about “leaving my child so soon”. I think the question you get and the question I get are two sides of the same medal – women are constantly criticized no matter what they do.
      Luckily today’s feminism is way more accepting of different lifestyles than the second wave feminism of the 70ies – and rightly so!

    • Samantha says...

      I agree. Feminism now a days doesn’t seem to have it together. They say we need to be empowered and independent, and have a job, and pretty much everything that goes against anything our grandmothers did. But when a woman is like “what if I just want to be a housewife and take care of my kids?” they’re like “oh yeah, sure, just do whatever you want! you’re still a feminist!”. Ugh, just let us be.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      agreed, jamie! feminism is about being able to make the choice for yourself.

    • Becky says...

      I’m sorry that you have to keep being asked that, that sucks. But honestly… I wouldn’t call those people feminist. Giving women a choice is so central to feminism in its true form.

    • Anitra says...

      Yes!! It’s like you’re a feminist goddess if you have a company or corporate job and if you choose to stay home with your children you’re stuck in the dark ages or something. It’s so annoying.

    • Jamie says...

      Agreed Sally I amend my comment to say “choose to work or to work at home” thank you for the clarification!

    • Alessandra says...

      I see your point but, even having had two kids I never stopped working completely, I took a part-time, because I never wanted to be completely dependent on my husband for survival, that’s the way it used to be in the past, and I saw many women ending up in ugly marriages without the possibility of opting out because they weren’t independent financially, and then there were the kids. If you don’t have the same “power” within the couple is more difficult to stand for your rights too because he “maintains you”. I know this shouldn’t be an issue if there’s love but during long marriages love has it highs and lows, sad but true.

    • Alessandra says...

      …I’ve also seen staying at home mums growing older and not having enough contribution to make them able to retire decently…many things to consider…

    • Yes, it’s all about choice and most feminists understand that. If they don’t, they don’t get it.

    • Julia says...

      Wow, I’m thrilled and surprised that so many actually agree! It feels so good to hear that!

      @Alessandra: I totally see your point! But I don’t think that people’s marriage is terrible (excluding the normal “ebb and flow” you described) because one might be dependent on the other but because they marry the wrong person or make (other) bad choices for themselves. Everyone is probably a little scared of being dependent on their spouse (or your employer, for that matter) – and the partner going out to work might be intimidated by having the family depend on him or her.

      @Jennifer: All the best to you! I’m sure it’ll all work out! Take care.

      @Samantha &@Anitra: I could not possibly agree more!!!

      Joanna, thank you for this post!

    • Carol says...

      People asking you rude questions is not an indictment of feminism.

      Feminism advocates for equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women.

  61. Cara says...

    Love, love, love, love this.

  62. Sara says...

    I was a Women’s Studies major in college, so naturally, I have a tendency to think about feminism from so many different angles. I graduated from college in 2005, and I’ve truly seen a change in the way the term “feminism” is used day-to-day. More people, across all walks of life, are embracing the term to be something that they identify with. One of the most important things we agreed on during our college days was that we needed support from men. We had some isolated support (mostly from the gay community), but little support from the mainstream. I’m seeing that things are gradually starting to change in that regard and couldn’t be happier. I have a 2 year old boy and another little baby boy due in a matter of days and am looking forward to teaching them about fairness across genders (and that includes boys, too). My 2 year old adores his baby doll (as well as his trucks!) and I am so grateful that my husband is OK with that. It’s important for little boys to learn that it’s OK to be loving and sweet to babies, even though they’re traditionally female traits. I’m hopeful that the next generation of men and women will work together to embrace feminism so that we almost don’t have a need for the word anymore.

  63. this is amazing!!! thank you thank you thank you for sharing–so necessary and so appreciated. xoxoxoxo

  64. Brenna Moore says...

    I really loved this post – thanks for the wonderful links!

  65. Sandra says...

    We live in Germany, Angela Merkel has been chancellor since 2005. When we discussed the upcoming elections during dinner and talked about Merkels possible opponents, most of them men, my then seven-year-old son interrupted us: “Wait…. a MAN can become chancellor?”

    Mind blown.

    • LOVE!!!

    • This game me chills, Sandra! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YES!

    • Samantha says...

      That’s actually pretty EPIC

    • This made me so happy! And IT shows how important role models are. I am constantly frustrated about the lack of female characters in children’s books, films, board games etc (even here in Sweden). But this just shows the power in small children seeing a woman do any job, or seeing men do traditionally female jobs!

  66. Amy says...

    Thank you so much for posting, Joanna! I especially wanted to thank you for posting that Aziz Ansari quote. I know many men are afraid of using the word feminist, even if they do believe in equal rights for women. Glad to hear men claiming the word, too. Women’s rights are human rights!

  67. Amy in Pittsburgh says...

    Sharing this with my soon-to-be 14 year-old daughter! Looking forward to talking about it over dinner tonight. Thank you :)

  68. Emma says...

    Yes! I like this post – good content. More like this please :)

  69. Kate says...

    Ahhh, I love this post! *hand flailing* The Toast is one of my favorite sites, and I own that Feminist with a To-Do List button. Also, I’m a single children’s librarian so that Go Dog Go open letter was like the most amazing colliding of my personal and professional life.

    Thank you, Joanna, for sharing your feminism on this blog. I have loved reading your blog for years and years, and it’s because it always reads as authentic. Yes, the content features gorgeous photos and stylish people but there’s substance and a realness underneath it all.

  70. Thank you for this list, it is fabulous. My daughter is a new reader & I just was discussing the hat wearing dog in Go, Dog, Go. I loved the funny re-framing of it!
    You have to be so careful with those classic books that we loved as children – so many have threads of sexism and racism woven through them.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i watched Peter Pan the other day with the boys and was taken aback. i had loved that movie so much as a little girl, and there were so many sexist and racist parts. at one point, peter even says something like, “girls talk too much,” and wendy claps a hand over her own mouth!

  71. I think this is my favourite post of yours – SO many awesome feminist articles are here! I love the feminist community on twitter at the moment, and hopefully we can soon start to change the often wrong perceptions of what feminists’ political agendas actually are

    Steph – http://www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

  72. Tina says...

    I love this so much, especially the female hat wearing dog letter! When I first met my now husband out with a group of friends he was saying vaguely to no one that he doesn’t like when girls wear makeup because he felt it was dishonest. I was sitting there in bright red lips and told him basically that is a boring opinion that no one asked for. apparently that worked because he fell in love with me is definitely a feminist now. Also have you read Obama’s speech from the White House Women’s Summit? It’s great.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!

  73. Rebecca says...

    Thank you especially for the Ansari quote, which I hadn’t seen – that’s exactly what I’ve been telling people!

  74. Yaaaas! I loved the article about the female, hat-wearing dog. Seriously the best thing I read all day…thanks for sharing!

  75. Isabel says...

    Yes Yes Yes!!!! Thank you for posting!
    -a proud feminist

  76. Lauren E. says...

    I love everything about this post! And I bought that t-shirt. When I wore it last someone literally yelled out at me in the street and chanted, “HIL-LA-RY! HIL-LA-RY!”

  77. Anna says...

    This is one of my favorite posts! Thanks Joanna!

  78. Tyler says...

    Recently read Maisie William’s fantastic quote about sexism. “You’re either normal or you’re sexist.” Feminism shouldn’t even be a thing, we should be labeling sexists!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      So good. Thank you, Tyler.

  79. Joanna, I’ve followed A Cup of Jo forever, and I’ve always loved it. Truly. Lately, though, it seems like your blog has taken on a different tone, and I’ve been enjoying it more than ever. It feels like you’ve been bolder lately, and more forthcoming about your opinions, and I think it has added real depth to your blog.

    I totally agree with you that the internet, while sometimes horrifying, has really given a platform to women to put our own thoughts and experiences into the world without a filter. I think it has begun to spark real change. Even though my own blog reaches just a few people, it feels SO good to connect to the other women who read it. It’s also great when a male coworker misunderstands something I wrote and we’re able to have a real conversation about it. I love the way it connects us, and opens up empathy in other people.

    • Kellie P. says...

      What she said, exactly!

    • emily says...

      Totally agree!

    • Annie says...

      Exactly! What she said! Love the new direction Joanna! It’s great to see a blog out there that tackles real life issues in a deeper, more meaningful way.

  80. Katherine says...

    I love this post! When I was a teenager I was blissfully unaware of the issues that women face and expected people to treat me as a person and individual regardless of my gender. I’ve become more aware that the world is not like that, but for me it is not ok that how I look/my relationship status/how well I do my hair to be felt to be the main things commented on in my life because I am a woman, and I’m trying to get that across. My female friendships are also very important to me-they are, so far, the most rewarding relationships that I have had in my life.

  81. This is why I think it’s utter nonsense when people say we’ve become “too politically correct” as a nation. We will never be in danger of being too politically correct until we no longer have to explain, for example, why applauding women on the street is not welcome.

  82. Melissa says...

    Yes! All my thumbs are up! Yes again!

  83. Kristin says...

    Yes! Yes, yes, yes.

  84. Natalie Brennan says...

    BEST post! This might be my favorite post in Cup of JO history.

    • Christy says...

      Thank you for this, I am going to listen to it right now.

    • Thanks! I’ll listen to it! You are a wonderful role model for your boys!

  85. Louise says...

    Thank you for posts my this, first of all because I saw the hilarious women in art post years ago but couldn’t ever find it again! Second, because I’m making a conscious effort to change how I talk in the workplace – no more apologies, no more hesitation.

    • Louise says...

      *posting this

  86. jeannie says...

    Best post ever. ever.

  87. I absolutely adore this post! I am turning 31 years old on Monday and for the past two years I’ve been reclaiming my status as a feminist. But it sometimes seems that people my age did not understand why, as if calling yourself a feminist was outdated or as if it made me seem anti-men or angry. For two years now, I have been a part of the “Slut Walk” yearly marches in my city, I have been reading a lot about feminism and I always look forward to discussing my point of view with other people. I think that things are slowly but surely starting to change for us, but we must keep going.

    So, in a nutshell, thank you for your post!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is awesome, marcela!

  88. Madeleine says...

    Great post, but equating feminism to “one big group text” is annoying. Feminism is an important political and social movement; it’s not taking place in a vacuum, and it has consequences for those who continue to face barriers to the conversation. (Women of color, trans women, women in poor countries.) That said, thanks for pointing out the (often hilarious) work that men and women are doing to advance women’s rights.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good point, madeleine, thank you!

    • Madeleine says...

      Policing others’ language probably isn’t super helpful, either. I gagged a little after I submitted this. Sorry to be that person! But thanks for posting. :)

  89. Luz says...

    PREACH

  90. Brilliant. It’s sad it has taken this long. White male privilege is rearing its ugly head again with Donald Trump. Too many guys think their Y chromosome entitles them to be ahead. And then there are the women who aren’t that bright or that ambitious and who don’t appreciate looking bad by comparison to the women who do succeed. When we treat people based on what’s in their hearts rather than on their appearance and we promote them at work based on what’s in their minds, we will have a happier, healthier world.

    • Christy says...

      Took the words right out of my mouth…what a dichotomy we have in the political world right now. I have stopped following the blogs that only care about make-up, hair and clothing. How boring, we almost get trapped into being those kinds of women…but I’m refusing today!

  91. I love this!! I have been reading a lot more about feminism in the 70s lately (so inspired by Bella Abzug), and it is great to see women creating such witty and powerful content.

  92. Tricia says...

    so glad this word is becoming less stigmatized the past couple of years. i’m glad you rep it, joanna!

  93. LJ says...

    Reading Gloria Steinem’s latest book “My Life on the Road,” and I haven’t got much far into it… but yes, I can recommend it.

    • LJ says...

      Just thought about it given the content of your post.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!!!