Am I a feminist? Four women reply (and they're not from the left)

Elle Hardy, Claire Lehmann, Trisha Jha, Paula Matthewson – Guardian – Friday, 18 April 2014 (originally published 13 Apr)

Feminist necklance
Feminism: should all women embrace it? Image: Guardian

Popular feminism is an orthodoxy that despises challenge. “You’re not a feminist?”, I’m asked, as though it means I’m threatening my own independence or advocating domestic violence.

It may sound trite, but I choose to identify with humanism, which is a values system, rather than feminism, which is a political system. The fight for compassion, legal rights, and justice are not unique to feminism. There are no values that I can espouse as a humanist that are anti-female, but there are a number of values of feminism that are alien to me – such as the notion that equality is more important than opportunity and choice, and that it can be legislated.

It wasn’t meant to be like this. In the 1960s and 1970s, feminists fought for equity. Women (and men) came together, celebrating women’s dignity and individuality. Women’s right to have intellectual fulfillment and social respect through work was enshrined. The movement promised women they could live their lives with authenticity and pride . . .

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