The article laments the fear of so many young women these days have about calling themselves feminists.
It argues - part in sarcasm, part in desperate pleading - that feminism is not about being angry or man-hating, although the author resorts to name-calling, despite this assertion.
'Did she just say she's not a feminist? She's obviously oppressed by The Patriarchy!'
What this article and its writer, Mary Elizabeth Williams, fails to understand is why so many women do not identify as feminists - its not just about not wanting to be perceived as an angry man-hater.
Busily and desperately trying to explain that feminism is not homogenous; that they do not all agree with one another, and that the true basis of feminism is only the belief that women are equal and have a right of authority over their own bodies, this article, like so many before it fails to see the forest for the trees.
You see, I'm not afraid to call myself a feminist, and quite frankly being challenged with the 'scaredy-pants' call-out does nothing to persuade me to identify as a feminist, either. The reason I don't identify as a feminist - despite knowing women are equal and despite believing I have an absolute authority over my own body - is that I don't believe in a particular conspiracy called The Patriarchy.
It seems, in recent times. feminists have been careful not to mention the word 'patriarchy' as much when trying to persuade other women - despite their protestations - they really are feminists. This also seems to be something every feminist I've ever met has in common; they tend to believe they know other people better than those people know themselves.
I used to hear a lot, 'We're all controlled by the patriarchy; whether we know we are or not, whether we believe we are or not. We are all oppressed by the patriarchy, even if we don't feel oppressed.' This statement of fact is not disimilar to, 'You are a feminist, even if you don't think you are - because you believe you are equal to men and should have the authority over your own body.'
What that statement doesn't mention is the little feminist clause of essentially having to believe there is an over-arching conspiracy theory call 'The Patriarchy'. You really must believe there is a conspiracy movement to oppress women - and men, too, it now seems... I'm sure there will be feminists who say they don't believe in the patriarchy conspiracy, but scratch the surface and they're all fighting the invisible evil force which compels men to oppress women, this belief is essential to the other belief that feminism is necessary. In the end it's a war - a war against the faceless patriarchy which controls and oppresses us all.
According to feminists this is why even though 95% of the magazine publishing industry is governed by women, written by women, and sold to women, they still uphold the cults of thinness and materialism. The patriarchy controls powerful, educated, supposed self-possessed women like the invisible demons which possess non-religious folk. This is also why women force female circumcision on their daughters and nieces and granddaughters in Africa. This is why women abuse their children. It all comes down the conspiracy theory of The Patriarchy.
And there you have it, I believe, the main reason so many women do not identify as feminists; they simply don't believe in the conspiracy theory.
As an aside, what is the desperate need for using the word feminist? Why is it so important women who already believe in equality and a woman's right over her own body must also call themselves feminists?
The hegemony of feminism, of the belief in the conspiracy of the patriarchy, and the desperate need to identify specifically as a feminist is off-putting. Is feminism a religious order? No? It certainly comes across as one, 'Be like us, or suffer eternal damnation - save yourselves, believe in Feminism!'
I don't care how nice all the feminists I know are (though, I have to admit, to one degree or another they're all pretty bloody angry, despite protestations to the contrary). I don't care whether or not 'All feminists do not believe the same thing' (well, except, you know, that whole patriarchy conspiracy thing... Hey, I could be wrong, but so far I haven't met a feminist who doesn't believe in some sort of patriarchal conspiracy). I simply don't identify as a feminist.
Now, if I - as with so many other women - have simply completely misunderstood what feminism is about, then feminism has a serious PR problem.
Chances are though every last feminist will say I'm oppressed by the patriarchal conspiracy...
And that's where they lose me.