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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Helen Mirren wants us to all be feminists. Great! However, we must stop annoying people like Kara McCullough.

British actress Helen Mirren has told students at a commencement ceremony that, no matter what race or gender we are, we should all be feminists. She admitted that until relatively recently she didn't even identify as a feminist herself, because she thought that would be too political. However, she came around to see the necessity of the feminist movement.

I agree that we should all be feminists. After all, feminism, as it is properly understood, means the equality of people, regardless of gender. If you can't support that, then you are a bigot, effectively. I also agree about the necessity of supporting the feminist movement. Equality can never be taken for granted.

But some people seem to have a different view on what feminism is. Just a few weeks ago, newly crowned Miss USA Kara McCullough said that she preferred 'equalist' instead. As feminism properly understood would have the same meaning as 'equalism', it's just that Kara McCullough has a biased view of what feminism means, right? But then, if she does, she's not alone. After all, even Helen Mirren thought it was 'too political' for her in the past.

And you can't really blame people for having a distorted view of feminism, when self-proclaimed feminists are out there saying that you can't be a feminist unless you oppose capitalism, or that you can't be a feminist if you are pro-life. These stances are decidedly personal beliefs that are not essential to a worldview of gender equality, and they are also clearly very political. No wonder views of feminism being 'too political' or 'not really about gender equality' are so common.

If we believe in feminism, we must stand up for the one and only definition of feminism, and argue against those who implicitly or explicitly suggest that there should be other requirements for memebership in the feminist club. Only that way can we not alienate many potential feminists. Only that way can we build a feminism that is inclusive and strong. You can be a feminist and a socialist, but it should be clear that you don't need to be a socialist to be a feminist.