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What If We Renamed Feminism To Make It Gender Neutral?

02/03/2016 01:07 EST | Updated 02/03/2017 05:12 EST
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Feminism is one of the hottest topics of our times -- almost too hot to touch, slithering through conversations, forums and popular culture like swollen flames, branding all those it touches. Inviting, enveloping and expanding the minds of its followers, or silencing, overbearing and ousting them, touting too many questions, too narrow an approach, too privileged a stance.

Initially my thoughts on feminism were a no-brainer. Not only am I a liberal-minded, strongly opinionated woman, but I'm a fully conscious being with a beating heart, eyes and a fucking conscience.

Somehow, though, we've managed to turn the continually debated subject matter into something people shy away from breaching and exploring. Something easily misinterpreted as "Latin for armpit hair." Something men and women with questionable ideals or lack of culture imminently roll their eyes at, slinking deeply into their chairs like lifeless putty, unwilling to see themselves as part of this pivotal movement they're already deeply engrossed in, by virtue of being alive.

Aside from the convoluted extremist approach that tends to ruin the perception of every denomination on the planet is the issue of the name itself.

Feminism, at first glance, denotes something inherently female. Which, of course, it is.

It's advocating for women's rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men -- or, more simply, the basic need to level the playing field, allowing 52 per cent of the sodding planet to feel acknowledged and wholly appreciated (without the insufferable, crippling weight of anti-feminist obstacles, delicately disguised in the very foundations of our societies, cultures and religions).

Why then name a movement based on the very vernacular that causes the types of people against such liberal discourse to recoil, feigning ill at the thought of 2016 progressive ideals?

These are the people and establishments for whom the word "vagina" is practically blasphemous, the idea of periods ungodly and the presence of female fervour deemed "crazy," "hormonal" and therefore "less than."

Don't we want to win these individuals/morons over? Don't we want them to feel included? Even some men for whom gender equality is an obvious want for some reason can't quite fathom how they, too, can be feminists. It just sounds girly.

And although we don't want to pander to those we're understandably pushing up against, I'd like to think of feminism as more of a spate than a fight. Something that's growing, infiltrating, shifting and changing life around us, instead of causing angry uproar and backlash when the amendment it's advocating for is, at its core, indisputably justifiable.

We started with suffrage (which sounds torturous), then stumbled across GIRL POWER, signifying Spice Girl bubble gum and childish, surface based proclamations, much too pink and laden in glitter to affably incorporate males and adults.

And now we've got "feminism," too niche and unappealing in sound to imminently win over those too macho in demeanour to jump on board or online and shout "I AM A FEMINIST HEAR ME ROAR, MOTHER FUCKERS!"

So, what then could we use to germinate feminism on a more gender-neutral, less daunting, less inadvertently discriminatory basis? Perhaps humanism? Damn, that's already a thing. I'll keep thinking.

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