Ask your average chauvinist what he thinks about feminists and the answer will likely be along the lines of "they're all hairy, ugly and single and haven't had a good shag in a while, innit."
While there is obviously nothing wrong with being hairy, single or less than model-perfect, the idea that feminists all conform to this stereotype is ridiculous.
Introducing the hashtag #FeministsAreUgly - it's been trending on twitter since hoards of women began posting stunning selfies below the phrase.
— kaylee ♎️ (@lloydita) August 8, 2014
— Becca (@becpuss) August 8, 2014
— Juliet Taylor (@Juliet_Taylor08) August 8, 2014
— Emily (@emilyxhaimeed) August 7, 2014
— Sarah B. (@imsarahb) August 8, 2014
— Paula Meadows (@pauladanut) August 8, 2014
The origins of the hashtag are unclear, but for many feminists (including some of us here at HuffPost UK Lifestyle), the movement is somewhat questionable.
We understand these women are trying to point out the ridiculousness of the 'ugly feminist' stereotype, but are they really re-claiming the phrase or just playing into the hands of the aforementioned chauvinistic pig?
Feminists believe in equal rights, which in turn means believing in an end to the objectification of women. But by posting selfies, are some not promoting the objectification of women by inviting others to judge their 'hotness'?
While the #FeministsAreUgly hashtag may have started with the best of intentions, like with many social media movements before it some seem to have jumped on the bandwagon with entirely different motives.
This latest movement comes soon after #WomenAgainstFeminism spread across the internet - making us concerned that the true message of feminism is getting lost.
Let's not turn feminism into a beauty pageant.
Laura Bates, founder of the Everday Sexism Project, has a simple mission - to raise awareness of the sexism that still exists "in a modern society that perceives itself to have achieved gender equality". Bates seeks to overturn this perception with an open invitation for all women to record their personal daily experiences of inequality online. The project has already garnered a collection of over 10,000 women's anecdotes. Aiming to remove the 'uptight', 'prudish', 'militant', 'bra burning' labels historically associated with feminists, Bates is one of a new wave of feminist activists using social media and technology to make feminism more accessible to all women.
... And Caitlin Moran's view seems to be part of a growing global ideology. Over on the other side of the pond, rising star, Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO series, 'Girls' said: “Do you believe that women should be paid the same for doing the same jobs? Do you believe that women should be allowed to leave the house? Do you think that women and men both deserve equal rights? Great, then you’re a feminist.”
For stand-up comedian, Bridget Christie, “feminism is really simple: everyone is affected by it, it’s not some academic subject – it’s just about equality for every woman in the world.” Christie's aim is to make feminism accessible by making it funny. Her Radio 4 comedy series, 'Bridget Christie Minds The Gap', offers her very personal take on modern feminism using humour and anecdotes to put the subject in context with everyday life.
When it comes to feminist theorists, she may not have the academic credentials of Simone De Beauvoir and Germaine Greer but today’s poster girl for British feminism, Caitlin Moran, has undoubtedly reawakened the feminist agenda and made it accessible to everywoman (and every man). For Moran, feminism is about a common belief in gender equality – and if you believe in that you can wear your feminist badge with pride. She told the New York Times magazine in an interview, “When I talk to girls, they go, ‘I’m not a feminist,’ And I say: ‘What? You don’t want to vote? Do you want to be owned by your husband? Do you want your money from your job to go into his bank account? If you were raped, do you still want that to be a crime? Congratulations: you are a feminist.’”
Karren Brady became the managing director of Birmingham City Football Club at the age of 23. Flouting any preconceptions about age and gender, she quickly turned around the club's fortunes, proving herself to be one of the most formidable businesswomen in the world. A regular on 'The Apprentice', she is an inspiration to millions of women and a reminder that women really can have it all if they want it. She told The Guardian in an interview: "I always say, women have brains and uteruses, and are able to use both."
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was Forbes List 2011. Her new book 'Lean In' (released March 2013) calls for women in all occupations to 'lean in' to their careers. Sandberg encourages women to push past their fears and address the ways in which they hold themselves back. See some of The Huffington Post's favourite Sandberg quotes.
Lily Allen raised more than a few eyebrows (not least those of her record company agents) when she announced she would be taking her husband's name and changing her professional moniker to Lily Rose Cooper. Not exactly known for her conventional or conservative attitude, Lily is a prime example of the modern feminist idea that you can flout traditional feminist conventions and still be a feminist. Feminism is about freedom of choice.
Taking the same path as Lily Rose Cooper, Beyoncé was derided by female critics when she announced she would be touring under her married name, Mrs Carter. But the star, who has made a name for herself singing about female empowerment, insists she is not compromising her feminist sensibilities. She told Vogue in a recent interview: "I guess I am a modern-day feminist. I do believe in equality. Why do you have to choose what type of woman you are? Why do you have to label yourself anything? I’m just a woman and I love being a woman," she said. "I do believe in equality and that we have a way to go and it’s something that’s pushed aside and something that we have been conditioned to accept." She defended her decision to pay homage to her husband, Shawn Carter (Jay-Z): "I feel like Mrs Carter is who I am, but more bold and more fearless than I've ever been. "It comes from knowing my purpose and really meeting myself once I saw my child. I was like, 'OK, this is what you were born to do'. The purpose of my body became completely different."
Labelled the 'Iron Woman' and 'Mother of the Revolution' by Yemenis, Tawakkol Karman became the international public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising. A feminist, human rights activist, Yemeni journalist, politician and senior member of the Al-Islah political party she heads the group 'Women Journalists Without Chains'. READ MORE HERE.
Previously the domain of white middle-class intellectuals, a monumental shift we are beginning to see in the feminist landscape is the inclusion of women that have never previously had a voice - feminists who are prepared to risk their lives to speak out in a society where women's voices are brutally suppressed. Malala Yousafzai, 15, was shot in the head by the Taliban fin October 2012, or speaking out in support of women's rights, in particular their right to an education. READ MORE.
Although its agenda has evolved over the years according to the political landscape, feminist activism is still very much alive. The most famous feminist activist group of recent years is Pussy Riot, a Russian feminist punk-rock group, founded in 2011. The group of approximately 11 women stage unauthorised guerrilla performances in public locations, which are edited into music videos and posted on the Internet. The group made global headlines when three of the group members were arrested and held in custody with two now subsequently serving two year prison sentences and two having fled Russia for fear or persecution. Their trial and sentence attracted criticism in the West and the case was adopted by human rights groups including Amnesty International. But while it stands to reason that extremist measures are used by feminists in countries where extreme sexism exists, there has also been a resurgence in activism in the UK. Here Jenni Murray of Radio 4 Woman's Hour, investigates the modern feminists getting involved in feminist campaigns today.