To be or not to be declared a Feminist?

Yesterday I posted the weekly round up thread and a particular topic has been coming up in comments. So instead of bombarding the comment thread where there were more than a dozen of other links that could be discussed, I have started a new post.

Yet Another Kiri Bloggish Thing has posted reasons why zhe does not self-identify as a feminist. To sum up hir argument;

Reason 1: Feminism isn’t actually inclusive of all types of women. And thus decides the movement is narrowly defined.

Reason 2: Zhe’s frustrated of the attitudes of feminists who believe if you’re not a self-proclaimed feminist than you represent the opposite stance, thus meaning you’re anti-woman.

My personal feeling is feminism should not be narrowly defined, and I also agree that just because you don’t proclaim yourself feminist, it does not mean you’re anti-woman.

I have claimed the name Feminist about 5 years ago. My main reasons were it brought me to a community where I could talk about topics that I wanted to talk about. I don’t narrowly define feminism around women’s issues. I’m a big advocate that feminism needs the strong inclusion of men. I believe feminism to be a methodical tool used to questioned gendered hypothesis. Not all of these hypothesis may be correct but it’s the job of a good feminist to keep asking these questions.

As a result, I may not always agree with the opinions of all feminists but it also may mean I don’t agree with people who are not feminists. I feel it’s then my job to unpack my methodology in using the feminist lens and hopefully we can come to an understanding of where our values differ.

Lastly, I am proud to be a feminist because it creates an inclusive environment of values that I chose to live in. It’s like a boyscout’s badge of all the labels I give myself. I have a knot tying badge, a bird watchers badge, and a tea drinking badge.

My personal wish is this methodology can be systematically written like a cooking recipe for everyone to follow. However the more I study feminism, the more I realise we’re still figuring out the answers as we move along. In some ways, feminism is a forum for discussion so we can figure out the answers together.