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If Feminism Is A Dirty Word, We Should Adopt A New One

Kimmy K doesn't like labels. Unless they're wearable.

08/08/2016 1:09 PM AEST | Updated 08/08/2016 3:09 PM AEST
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Just because you're okay, it doesn't mean you should forget about all the women who aren't.

Another day, another celebrity denying that they are the dirty 'F' word... feminist. Over the weekend, Kim Kardashian was the latest woman (of immense privilege) to distance herself from the feminist label. In fact, the woman who is a daily model for elite fashion and lifestyle brands to an audience of millions worldwide, actually said when it came to 'feminist': "I don't like labels."

Fair enough?

Feminism has become, to many people, a dirty word; even an antiquated concept. Centuries ago, women started the fight for equal rights -- to vote, to own property, to have control over our reproductive systems -- but that's ancient history. Now, we take our rights for granted.

Those women, our ancestors, had to convince men that women should be equals, and employ all sorts of 'hysterical' tactics such as burning bras to draw attention to why the lack of equality was an issue at all. We don't need to do that in 2016, surely. We now live in an era of the most amount of choices and rights that women have ever had in history, so we don't need feminism now, right?

Wrong.

Because, here's the thing; just because you're okay, or things turned out okay for you, it doesn't mean you shouldn't care about what is happening to billions of women around the world who are still seeking things such as equal pay. In fact, in many countries, women are still fighting for the things that countries such as Australia gave women decades ago, such as the right to access contraception. Trying to distance yourself from issues that so significantly affect your gender is the equivalent of saying "Well, I've never had depression, so that's someone else's problem", or "I can get married, it doesn't affect me if gay people can't". It's a gobsmackingly selfish attitude, and short-sighted, if you think that the injustices that other people face don't somehow affect you and the world you inhabit.

Nevertheless, we also have to accept that obviously it is a problem for some women to be associated with the label of feminist. Apart from it being viewed as an outdated concept, it is also associated with anger. Many men find it alienating, evidenced by the fact that it's commonly used interchangeably with terms such as "ball-breaker" and "feminazi". It's sadly become an ugly word. In 2016, we are encouraged to have a more inclusive approach to things; the alienation of men is a concern for women such as Kardashian -- and a concern for me, because just as we have grown to understand with domestic violence, conversations about gender equality fundamentally need to involve men.

So let's change the terminology. Let's do a quintessentially Aussie thing and call a spade a spade. We've done it before: 'King hit' became 'coward punch', 'pro-abortion' became what it really means -- 'pro-choice'. Let's look at what we are fundamentally talking about when we are talking about feminism; equality. An awareness of double-standards. Equal treatment by law and society of men and women. That is simply what feminism is about.

I say we change the word 'feminist" to 'champion'. There are such positive associations with being a champion; winner, success. Champion also means advocate, and that's what we all need to be; advocates for each other. Furthermore, it is a gender-neutral term, used by both sexes, that's already part of our Aussie lingo (and I don't mean as what some people think is the mushroom topping on a super supreme pizza).

Let's associate the term champion with the ongoing process of seeking gender equality for everyone. To borrow from the iconic theatrical piece of art 'Mean Girls'; let's make #Champion happen.

Then maybe Kim Kardashian will call herself a #Champion and honour all those who've fought for her, and those who are still fighting now.

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