Society Magazine

The “F” Word is Still a Dirty Word

Posted on the 18 January 2013 by Hayleytantau @hayleytantau

…and it’s locked and loaded, sitting like a grenade in the hands of the rhetoric. (Note: I’m not talking about the word “Fuck”.)

I’m talking about… Feminism! (Cue male eye-rolls and haughty feminist rhetorics ready to smite me down with their keyboards of God). I often feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic around males because they; a) assume I’m on the verge of shaving my head, wearing tank tops and experimenting with other women, or b) believe I will not have sex with them because I’m trying to protect my feminist rights and take down the male species. Neither of which is true. When it comes to real-life, social occurrences, that’s how I feel about the word “feminism” – as if it’s a bit of a dirty word. I am a feminist. Go on, argue with me. That’s what happens when you utter the magic spell “I’m a feminist”, right? We summon evil spirits to tell us young girls that we’re “doing it wrong”?

At least, I think I’m a feminist… I believe in equal rights for all human beings.
By definition, Feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men”,


When it comes to voicing my opinions on the internet, the people who have me shakin’-in-my-boots as I tap tap tap the keyboard are, ironically, women. “Feminism” is no longer a dirty word in this space, it’s a hand grenade. The female social spectators who have denounced Katy Perry and Taylor Swift for bringing shame to women, because the pop stars believe in equality but don’t call themselves “feminists”, have me intimidated and confused by their hyper-femme rhetoric. Firstly, let me say, I do not like the music of Katy Perry or Taylor Swift (same to you, Rihanna). I really, really don’t like their music, or their guest appearances on Saturday Night Live (c’mon guys, Katy Perry is a musician, not an actor – leave some work for the rest of us – I’m also looking at you, Rosie Huntington-Whitelips). I may not like their music or their bras that shoot cream from their nipples because they’re California Girls (looking back at you, Ms Perry), but I do believe – and this may sound a little hypocritical after my previous string of jokes – they have a right to voice their opinion on issues without being squashed by keyboard-controlling ‘feminists’ who denounce the starlets in front of everyone, claiming they’re a terrible influence on the future daughters of today and they’re “killing feminism”.

We women can blame men all we want, we can spin our rhetoric, we can fight for our rights like we have done so powerfully in the past – and I am so grateful we have come so far – but we don’t have to pick on each other, for feminist’s sake.

So, how about, instead of dismissing and publicly shunning successful, hard-working women who speak their mind, why don’t we celebrate their success and stick together? We should be supporting each other. However, I understand that it’s hard to support our fellow-females when we have been essentially raised to compete with one another, judge each other and our images, stay-at-home mums toxically fighting with working mums about who’s the better mother, women hating Victoria’s Secret. I get it, and I often do it too – judge other women, I mean.

For me, when I delve into all these online feminist forums and read article after article about how this particular woman is doing it wrong and representing women poorly, it suddenly feels like we’re all in an arena fighting one another while the males sit back and watch us.

Lena Dunham, creator of GIRLS, is becoming a central concern for feminist rhetoric articles. Writers and critics have argued her feminist values, saying her show doesn’t represent women the way it should, and that she is responsible for popularising “white girl feminism” – meaning, in short, “HEY LENA, YOU’RE WHITE, (AND THAT’S YOU’RE OWN FAULT, OF COURSE) AND YOU’RE DOING “FEMINISM” WRONG” – yeah, that seems totally fair to a young woman who has worked incredibly hard to write about her own experiences so she doesn’t misrepresent anyone by lying. The reason Dunham is copping so much criticism lately is because her series has been put on an extremely high praise-pedestal (and in my opinion, well-deserved), opening up the floor for anyone to disagree and denounce her just for the sake of it. Thats right, because we just love cutting down successful women, whether they’re good looking or not – and I am guilty of this (my deepest apologies to Delta Goodrem – I’m sorry I used to call you “Delta Crapdrem” when I was 12 years old).

I know this post may seem hypocritical, as I am asking women to try and support one another, despite the irony that I am trying to get this message through to other women. I am not perfect, I do judge other women. I do like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I do listen to OFWGKTA.

However, I also believe in women and the importance of supporting females, celebrating their success no matter their age, looks, race, sexual orientation. The only way we can move further forward in society is if we help each other out along the way.

Everybody listen to Tina Fey/Ms Norbury:

The “F” word is still a dirty word

(Mean Girls 2004)

Speaking words of wisdom, Ms Norbury.

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