This essay was published by Thought Catalog on December 15, 2016.
As we wade reluctantly into the treacherous tundra of Trump’s America, like Jon Snow trudging North past the Wall and right into the hands of those pervert White Walkers, it is time to take a moment to contemplate everyone’s favorite F word: feminism.
Based on astonishingly simple concepts, the idea of feminism has been so horribly mangled by the public zeitgeist that everyone from angry white men writing things on the Internet, to angry white men reading things written by other angry white men on the Internet, has become hopelessly befuddled. For some time now, young men (and women!) have proudly proclaimed not to consider themselves a feminist in my presence. “How delightful!” I say, taking the opportunity to spend twenty minutes passionately explaining why the thing that they believe about themselves is actually quite inaccurate, all the while grinding my teeth down to little calcium nubs nestled deep in my gums. I’m an absolute treat to meet at a bar. The frequency of these incidents has been increasing at an alarming rate and as a smarty-pants Millennial with a Gender and Women’s Studies minor and the constant need for validation, it falls squarely on my shoulders to correct this. So, let’s answer the question many of you have been wondering to yourself for some time: “Am I a feminist?”
Of course you are, you idiot. It all comes down to a wildly uncomplicated concept. Do you believe that men and women (and those with non-binary genders!) should have equal political, economic, and social rights? If the answer is yes, then surprise fuckface, you’re a feminist! It’s really that simple. If the answer is no, then this essay isn’t for you. Jon Snow traveled North to form an alliance with the Wildlings. He didn’t run up to the king White Walker like, “My dude!” That bitch has icicle horns growing out of his head! Some monsters can be reasoned with and some monsters must be smashed into a thousand pieces with Valyrian steel.
If you’re still reading this, then we have established that you are a person who believes that men and women should be equal, i.e. a feminist. However, I realize many of you are still confused about your newfound status so let’s break down some of our most frequently asked questions.
I won’t have sex with a woman if she’s on her period because I think it’s gross. Am I still a feminist? Of course. There’s a common misconception that one cannot be both a feminist and a raging idiot and that simply isn’t true. Rest assured that just because the sight of a little pussy blood (or free lube, as we call it in the biz) causes your boner to shrivel like a salted leach doesn’t mean you’re not a feminist.
I’m a male feminist. While I appreciate the sentiment, it is unnecessary to include the word male because “feminist” is already a gender-neutral descriptor. You wouldn’t call yourself a male Democrat. You’d just call yourself a Democrat. And you wouldn’t call a woman a female Republican. You’d just call her an individual metaphorically shooting herself in the cooch with her own vote. (Wow, I went there. Edgy stuff.)
I’m a woman but my only friends are men. I just get along with men better. Women don’t like me. Am I a feminist? You sure are, sister! And maybe women will like you more if you stop saying shit like that. Or maybe women do like you but internalized misogyny makes you feel like you need to separate yourself from women as a whole, so as not to be included in this inferior group. Maybe ask yourself why “one of the guys” is a compliment and “your average girl” is an insult. Or maybe you are hated by men and women alike because you make eye contact when riding the train.
I wouldn’t call myself a feminist because feminists hate men. They think women should have more rights than men. But I love men! Are you sure I’m a feminist? Well, you’ve got me there. Hating men is the unspoken foundation upon which feminism is built. If you don’t consider men heinous little cockroaches that’s kind of going to be a deal breaker, unfortunately. And I mean all men. A lot of feminists think they can get away with just hating a few token shitbags. Of course you hate Ted Cruz, and Kid Rock, and the guy who does those cheesy voice overs for Spotify ads. We all do. They make it so easy! A real feminist hates all men equally, even your loved ones and family members. I’ve been sneaking a clear, odorless poison into my boyfriend’s food for months and I still haven’t earned back my feminist card! They took it away after I accidentally danced to an R. Kelly song at a wedding. If the poison thing doesn’t pan out soon I’m going to have to set a manspreader on fire.
You have spoiled some of the key plot points of the fifth season of HBO’s hit fantasy series Game of Thrones and now I have decided that I am not a feminist just to spite you. That’s fair. But know that I will not be dissuaded by my adversaries and will continue to fight for what is right. Just like Jon Snow when he was elected the youngest Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch in a historic upset at Castle Black.
Well, I hope we have cracked this bewildering conundrum today. If you take away nothing else, just know that in the future when asked if you are a feminist, without excuses or qualifiers, you can simply say “yes.” If not, I pray for your sake that you never meet me in a bar. Winter is coming.