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Dear Amy,

In recent months I have become angry and frustated at the complete lack of comprehension of what a feminist is. Women like Chynna the Wrestler and Shania Twain, have made public statements to deny they are feminists and equate the word with fat angry women who hate men. How would you respond to someone when they take this tact?



I entirely agree that it's frustrating to hear people so totally misinformed about feminism, but the worst thing to be is defensive. When I hear comments like that, I tend to turn the question back onto the questioner, for instance, when someone says, "but all feminists are fat, ugly, man-hating," I say "that's funny, that's not my impression of feminism." Yes, some fit that description and there is nothing wrong with that type of person, but we have to make sure that people see the full range of feminisms and feminists. When I see people engaging in a feminist act, like organizing the Lilith Tour, I usually approach it from a different angle and say "so what other feminist work have you done?" Most people would ask - are you a feminist? I assume that everyone is.

Clearly we need more people to own their feminism - this will inevitably give us a greater range of feminists and we won't have to limit ourselves to these narrow definitions. I know it's frustrating, but thanks for trying.



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