This is what a feminist looks like, and it isn’t like me at all

****transcript to come later. sorry******

Something has always irked me about the shirts and buttons that read “this is what a feminist look like”. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but now I think I get it.

The subtext is that what you think feminists look like is wrong. We’re not ugly and hairy!

Um…………..

(yes the ellipses needed to be extended that much.)

In advertising campaigns like the one above and other places on teh interweb, the womyn stating “this is what a feminist looks like” are mostly thin, usually white (especially if they have a greater speaking role), able-bodied, almost always make-up wearing, with legs shaved (if they are shown), or showing embarrassment at not having their legs currently shaved. The men that are claiming the label don’t have such stringent beauty requirements.

One make-up-ed womyn has pink hair! how alternative! they are throwing me a bone. How “individualistic”.

It reifies the gender normative world we live in. One man even says “I’m a feminist, though I do like to wear a lot of make-up.” LOLZ! Isn’t that hilarious! Its funny because men and feminists aren’t supposed to wear make-up! see it’s a joke, because he is a REAL man who doesn’t do that girly thing.

It doesn’t only leave me out, but it is the epitome of liberalism. It is saying:

Yes we are feminists, but look we’re still pretty! We don’t go TOO far. We’re not like those crazy hairy legged butch girls that don’t take the time to pretty themselves up. Those people are the radicals and can be safely ignored while faux-feminist men can pretend to agree with us because we are still fuckable, and are even really great in bed.

and the men who are “feminist” don’t have to have their masculinity challenged. They are still REAL men!

Does anyone else get that sense? I may be exaggerating for effect, but I think that is what bothers me. I don’t want to discourage womyn who are currently performing femininity from being feminists. But at the same time I think that focusing on the “look” of such people (and trying to show that that “look” falls within accepted cultural norms) is counter productive. Shouldn’t we be focusing on their views of female oppression and their personhood instead of how feminists “look”?

I understand wanting to reach out to people who are afraid of the “f-word”. But diluting the movement can have the the same effect as it being co-opted. Eventually you might even get a person who is anti-choice and makes women pay for their own rape kits calling herself a feminist.

Wait. that already happened? Oh.

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