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I'd like to know your opinion about a debate I've been having with a male friend of mine.  He claims that the name "feminism" should be changed for the movement (he hasn't made any suggestions to what it should be called instead).  He says that a new name would make it more available to men and the "less educated."  I am thoroughly against this, feeling that it would take away from what the movement stands for—women's issues and equality—but he won't back down.  He blames the movement and the name for the media and society's negative opinions of it. Do you have any suggestions of what I could say to him?

I often hear from people that we should change the name to “humanist” or something else more inclusive. I argue that it's often what's behind the name that's so threatening; therefore, if we change the name, the new word will just end up being a bad word. In terms of it being a name more welcoming to male participants—I think it's tough. It’s primarily a woman's movement, and if the name is more gender ambiguous, I'm not sure it will have the same impact. I think it's less important that we use the label—which may be alienating to some people—and more important that we practice the values of feminism, which I think are gender neutral and are about liberating all genders from restrictions. Men can be less masculine and women can be less feminine, and of course, those attributes shouldn't be differently valued.
I think it's a sign of great confidence when men can identify with feminism and also recognize that it isn't a perfect word—but in lieu of a more perfect word, I think it's the best for now.




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