5 Signs Your Parents Claim To Be Feminists But Aren't
There's always been debate about what feminism means. The movement is united under the belief that everyone deserves political, social, and economic equality regardless of their gender, but when it comes to specifics, feminism can mean different things to different people — and that's absolutely OK. However, sometimes people claim to be feminists when they aren't, and that's a different situation entirely.
Since the beginnings of the modern movement back in the late 19th century, feminism has gone from a fringe movement focused on the needs of middle-class white women to a nearly mainstream way of thinking that seeks to include all identities. Unfortunately, the term itself still carries a significant amount of stigma; research has shown that many people still shy away from the movement, even if they believe in its ideals, and to bring up a particularly baffling example, Emma Watson was reportedly discouraged from directly referring to feminism in a 2014 speech about feminism. Overall, however, the gender equality movement is becoming increasingly popular, and that's absolutely something to be celebrated. The fact that feminism can be considered mainstream speaks volumes about how far we've come in just a few short decades.
On the other hand, this popularity does have its downsides: "Marketplace feminism" uses female empowerment to sell products, and some critics claim that the definition of feminism itself has become confused as more and more people align themselves with the movement without necessarily understanding or supporting its many nuances. This isn't to say that these people are falling short of some "Perfect Feminist" ideal, because there's no such thing as perfect feminism. We're all doing the best we can to overcome patriarchal socialization in the ways that we can, and everyone messes up at times. However, the fact remains that some people identify as feminists in public but don't support its most basic tenets in their actions — and that's a problem.
With that in mind, let's take a look at five signs your parents aren't as feminist as they claim.
1. They Prioritize Certain Women's Voices Over Others
Historically, the feminist movement has excluded women of color, people who are disabled, and the LGBTQ community. Modern feminism is trying to correct decades of such marginalization, but some people still downplay the fact that women of different backgrounds have different experiences. If your parents applaud the actions of white, straight, cisgender women while ignoring those of other feminists, they're advocating for a skewed notion of equality.
2. They Don't Support Trans Women
Trans women face challenges to their mental and physical health that cisgender women simply don't, and that includes being excluded from certain feminist circles. However, true equality will never be achieved unless we support women of all backgrounds, and trans women are women. Period.
3. They Spend More Time Talking Than Doing
Not everyone has the time or opportunity to volunteer or advocate for gender equality, but if you're going to call yourself a feminist, it's important to put your ideals into practice, even if it's just in small ways. If your parents spend hours talking about the importance of gender equality but do nothing when they see sexism happening right in front of them, they're not exactly helping the cause.
4. They Body-Shame People
It might not have been as widely discussed in your parents' feminist heyday as it is today, but body positivity is an important issue within modern feminism. In a society that teaches women to police their own bodies and adhere to subjective, dangerous beauty ideals, accepting people for who they are is a feminist act. In turn, shaming someone for their bodies just perpetuates impossible standards.
5. They Prefer Feminism From Back In The Day
It can be difficult to fathom that when early feminists were campaigning for women's right to vote in the early 20th century, it was such a radical notion that some women were arrested for trying to cast ballots. Looking back on history from the present day, it's easy to applaud feminist accomplishments because we're living in the aftermath of their effects on society. However, there are always new obstacles to achieving gender equality, and ignoring the present issues facing women, like reproductive rights and the wage gap, simply serves to keep feminism stagnant. We should be proud of the past, but the future is just as important.