I’m embarrassed for any woman who doesn’t call herself a feminist.

I used to get intensely irritated by celebrities – or any women – who said they weren’t feminists. This week’s example is Kim Kardashian. Sarah Jessica Parker was last week.

But now? Now I’m just kind of embarrassed for them.

Why would you not want to be something that Beyonce sings in front of. I mean seriously. I am a feminist. Beyonce is a feminist. That means I am practically Beyonce. And you can be too! Just say “well duh” next time someone asks you if you’re a feminist because that’s the only right answer whether you’re male or female.

But I’m also still irritated.

Because if you’re not a feminist, Kim Kardashian, (to paraphrase Caitlin Moran) which part of feminism is not for you? Is it having control of your own body? Deciding whether you want to get married and if so, who to? Is it being paid the same as men for the same work? Having the right to vote? Getting an education? Taking contraception? Wearing pants? Knowing that your daughter has the same social, political and economic rights as your son?

Listen: It’s a line we’ve heard so many times before. But as Mia says on the Mamamia Out Loud podcast, feminism isn’t that confusing. (Post continues after audio.)

Yeah, I can see how all that stuff is a total drag. Except you’ve done all of it. Which means you are a creation of feminism, no matter which way you try to spin it.

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So I’m going to put on my Mum hat now and say to all the women like SJP and Kim Kardashian who refuse to call themselves feminists……I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed in you.

Because if you’re in the position of being asked this question, it means you’re fortunate enough to have benefited from all the work of feminists before you. You’re standing on their shoulders.

It’s how you got here.

To deny this is ignorant and delusional.

It’s a bit like asking an African American person if they support civil rights. “Nah, I don’t like labels. All lives matter” said no African American EVER.

Watch: Beyonce is a proud feminist, and here are four times she demonstrated that. (Post continues after video.)

Kim is clearly confused. Because in the explanation she gives for why she’s not a feminist, she states clearly that she is a feminist:

For me, a feminist is someone who advocates for the civil and social rights and liberties of all people, regardless of their gender; anyone who believes that women should have the same choices and opportunities as men when it comes to education and employment, their bodies and their lifestyles.

Of course I want these things! I’m all aboutempowering and uplifting women. Obviously, there are things about me that people might say make me a feminist: I work hard, I make my own money, I’m comfortable and confident in my own skin, and I encourage women to be open and honest about their sexuality, and to embrace their beauty andtheir bodies.

 

She then goes on to make the tedious, flawed, kumbaya statement about ‘labels’ that is so typical of women who are scared that the word ‘feminist’ turns off men.

I feel that being grouped or labeled can create separation between people who do (or don’t) fall into certain categories, when they may actually share many of the same beliefs and goals. It’s not about he, she, gay, straight, black, white. The fight for equality is about ALL human beings being treated equally—regardless of gender, sexuality or ethnicity.

It’s simply a personal choice that I don’t like the idea of being labeled. I’ll always fight for women’s rights. Always. I support women to the fullest. But, at the end of the day, no one should feel pressured to be labeled as anything just because they believe in certain things and support certain values or ideals.

It’s clear that Kim’s brand is about being sexually desirable to men and I suspect that she misguidedly believes (Hi Kanye) that calling herself a feminist could alienate some of her fanbase – the male part and the women who look to men for approval.

Sigh. This is so 1994 and not even in a cool retro way. Just in a backwards-thinking, unevolved way.

Words are important. They do matter. Without words for things that represent our beliefs we can’t organise ourselves  to advocate for social change. If it looks like a chicken and clucks like a chicken it’s a chicken.

Kim, call yourself whatever you like. But know that you’re kidding yourself and doing a disservice to other women, those who have come before you and those who will come after you, like your daughter. Are you cool with North earning less than your son just because she’s a girl?

There are women around the world who have not been able to benefit from feminism. Women who are not allowed to drive. Who can’t show their faces in public. Who are told who they will marry and who are sometimes married off to their cousin at age 9. There are girls who are not allowed to go to school. Women who do not have access to contraception or abortion or any kinds of health services. Women who are beaten and cannot leave their husbands because they have no rights to money or custody of their children.

Today

A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Aug 15, 2016 at 8:27pm PDT

To me, when a woman says “No, I’m not a feminist” she spits in the face of all those women who would give their lives for the kind of rights we take for granted.

And we should take them for granted! But that’s not the same as pretending the world is an equal place for women when it’s clearly not.

We don’t need to go around giving flowers to Gloria Steinem and our feminist mothers and grandmothers who fought real fights and endured real consequences to open up the world to women like Kim Kardashian and Sarah Jessica Parker. But it’s naive and ridiculous not to understand that without feminism those women would not be the self-made, financially independent powerhouses they are.

What do you think of celebrities who claim they aren’t feminists?

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