What Does a Feminist Look Like?
As feminists, we’re judged differently by every person we come across. So, how are feminists actually seen?
When I told guys I was a feminist, they thought I’d be a scary, hairy “ogre” of a woman living alone with all my cats (tbh, I prefer dogs). They thought I’d have no life outside my local “girl power” group. They treated me like a recalled toy—you know, those ones that get thrown out because they don’t fit the bill.
Meanwhile, women (not all!) thought there must be a screw loose in me somewhere. Some women see feminists like me as undermining what they have already achieved, as if that’s all that they can ever achieve, all that they’re allowed to achieve. Feminists, in their opinion, are the reason men will never take them seriously. But I never saw myself that way.
On TV, there’s another kind of feminist: the actors and the singers, the politicians and performers speaking to the public of a growing feminist movement. But the thing is, not all of us have the voice of Oprah Winfrey and Viola Davis speaking their truths. We can’t all project our thoughts as beautifully as Halsey in her songs, or have a perfect poetic mind like Rupi Kaur. I would never be able to be them—but that doesn’t stop me from being a feminist.
Because the truth is, there is no set look. There’s no required uniform I have to wear to warn the world that “Hey, I’m a feminist.” Because feminism is not a look. It’s not fashion. It wasn’t designed by a millennial to get Instagram likes, or a trend created by brands looking for a profit. Feminism is a movement, not just amongst women, but every single person who fights for a need for equality.
We are the women trying to avoid sexist remarks in the workplace. We are a brother fighting for our sister to be educated rather than be arranged to marry. We are a single mom working hard in a man’s world, and a dad wanting to make our daughter feel safe and proud. We are the minds behind these computers, spreading our thoughts in a way where no one can judge us based on anything but our ability to write.
This is what I see when I hear the word feminist. I see unity in the hearts of every person as we all try our best to survive in the situations we’ve been dealt. I don’t just see aggressive women antagonizing men; I see people marching together, a united front, for something they all believe in. I see the start of an untameable rebellion. It’s spreading across seas and borders; it holds no bias or prejudice against you based on your culture, race and even gender. It’s free, open, and full of compassion, but it’s also strong and raw and can fight you if necessary. It is what’s making nations rally and walk together, despite their differences.
This is what a feminist looks like. We look like the start of a revolution.
By Robyn Johnson, 18