If you identify as feminist, then there are a few phrases that you must never utter. The reason for having forbidden a few phrases is that no well meaning and equality promoting comments can be mutually inclusive of racism, homophobia or even hospitable sexism. Sometimes people (read: hypocrites) proudly proclaim their feminism, and at the same time don’t shy away from slut-shaming someone. If you are not one of them then here is a list of phrases you must never say.
- “She/he was asking for it…”
No matter how scantly a victim of rape was dressed; no matter if he/she was drunk or sober, feminists recognize that except the rapist no one else is responsible for a rape. Justifying or rationalizing something as terrible as harassment, molestation or assault is nothing but victim blaming and slut shaming.
- “I will not cook because it is sexist!”
Said no feminist ever.
- “Stop crying. Man up!”
If you happen to be a normal human being and not a robot then chances are sometime in your life, you’ll cry because, you know, emotions. It’s perfecting normal to shed a few tears and if you are a boy and someone chides you by suggesting “Stop crying. Man up!”, then you should tell them to shut up.
- “That’s a women’s/ man’s work.”
A true feminist will always move beyond societal gender norms. He’ll never discourage a male friend from opening a beauty parlor and similarly won’t ridicule a female for pursuing bodybuilding.
- “A housewife? Ewww”
A feminist will never dismiss, demean or patronize someone for simply being a housewife. Instead we must recognize that domestic work is sidelined and needs to be recognized and respected as other labors. Besides feminism, at the end of the day, is about choice and therefore, whether you are a home maker or a sex worker, your work doesn’t make you any less of a feminist.
- “I’m not like other girls.”
It’s one thing to embrace your uniqueness and be different from others, but it’s another thing all together to practice othering. To emphasize that “I’m not like other girls” reinforces that the “other girls” are undesirable. According to Michaela McNamara, “Instead of saying we’re not like most girls, let’s clarify that we’re not like society’s preconceived notions of women. By striving to be different from the rest of the female population, we’re basically saying that being a woman isn’t good enough. It is unnecessary, and even harmful, to put down our entire gender to separate ourselves from the crowd. I’m not like a lot of girls. But I am like tons of other girls, too.”
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