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What to Say Whenever 'Feminism' Is Blamed for Something Totally Absurd

14/02/2014 16:00 GMT | Updated 16/04/2014 10:59 BST

Feminism is coming to get you. It really is. It's overtaking schools, workplaces, the media, politics.....goddammit even sport. It's wrecking our society like, like, like a wrecking ball. The one Miley was swinging around on and what was wrong with that video clip anyway? Feminism wanted to ban that just like they want to ban everything. Those man-hating, hairy-legged feminazis won't be happy until they've taken all the power and ruined all the fun.

It's a disgrace.

Yes. It is. It's a disgrace there's so much misinformation about feminism. So much fear. So much disdain. To help clear that shit up, here is a concise list of eight things feminism is not trying to do.

There are many more but we're going to start with the top eight. Feel free to add more in the comments.

We suggest you bookmark this post and wave it in the face of the next person who blames feminism for something absurd. Like climate change. Or Paddle Pops getting smaller.

Remember, feminism is not trying to:

1. Kill all the fun

I'm not sure where the myth that feminists are buzzkills comes from. All the feminists I know (ie: all the women I know) are a hoot. The only kind of 'fun' that feminists aren't keen on are the ones where women are the victims of said 'fun'. Like pinching a waitress's bum. Not fun for her. Shouting for a woman to show you her tits as you drive past. Not fun for her. Making a public 'joke' about a colleague sleeping her way to the top. Not fun for her.

Also, insisting, "I was just joking" does not automatically make something funny.

2. Demonise men

Oh please.

This is such a lazy cop-out. If feminism had an enemy it would be inequality, not men. Feminists have fathers and sons and brothers and husbands and partners and male friends. Being pro something doesn't make you anti everything else. Loving tea does not mean you're demonising people who drink lattes.

Having an interest in women and the issues that affect them has nothing to do with being against anyone, let alone men. Feminism is not unlike civil rights. When black people got the vote, white people did not lose the vote. It simply meant EVERYONE could vote. Same with feminism. Equality is not a finite resource. Women having the same rights and opportunities as men doesn't cost men anything.

Oh - and feminists can BE men, you know. There's that.

3. Turn all women into lesbians

I wonder how you would actually do this? No matter. Because feminism doesn't give two hoots who you sleep with. Feminism has nothing to do with sexuality other than wanting women to be free to choose who they have sex with and under what circumstances (because the alternative is called, you know, rape). Despite the fact that many lesbians are feminists (just like many Asian people are feminists and many Coldplay fans are feminists) you should not confuse the two things.

4. Destroy the traditional family unit

The people who tend to blame feminism for this tend to be men who are threatened by the idea of women having the freedom to end relationships.

Because for centuries, we couldn't. Until relatively recently where laws around no-fault divorce were changed in the 70s, women were forced to stay in abusive, loveless or violent marriages. They had no choice. Without the legal right to work, without the legal right to custody of their children, without the social acceptance of unmarried women (be they single, gay or divorced), women were trapped.

Feminism has no problem with the traditional family unit. But there are other types of family unit - single mothers, single fathers, two mothers, two fathers, blended families - that are equally capable of providing love and security to children. And feminism wants women to be relationships by choice - not law or fear.

5. Make men and women the same.

Looked in your pants lately? Chances are, you've noticed humans come in two different versions (with a few rare variations).

Feminism has no desire to convince anyone that men and women are the same. But feminists do believe men and women should have the same rights, choices and opportunities. eg: we believe women and men should be paid the same amount of money for doing the same job. Because duh.

6. Claim to speak for all women / Make all women think the same way

This is plainly absurd because there are 4 billion women in the world and from the outside, the only thing they have in common is a vagina. But it's fairly safe to assume the vast majority of them would like to have control over said vagina - and the rest of their bodies. As opposed to having their father, husband, government or religious leader make decisions for them. Feminism is simply about believing women should have a voice and a choice. Not the same voice. Not the same choice. Feminism is neither a cult nor a club. There is no rulebook. No terms and conditions. Feminism is a loud, noisy, dynamic, engaging and ever evolving movement that is as diverse as women are.

7. Stop women from being sexy

Yep, for sure. Feminism will not rest until every woman on earth burns her bra, grows out her leg, armpit and pubic hair, scrubs off her make-up and wears nothing but clothes inspired by Amish grandmothers. Don't confuse sexy with sexist. One is fine. The other is not.

8. Ban everything

Talking about something is not the same as banning it.

When a feminist raises an issue like 'is it appropriate to make stripper jokes about your co-worker?', she is not suggesting anything or anyone be banned. She is not calling for public beheadings, boycotts or jail time. She's simply flagging something that jars in 2014 and starting a discussion - in which there will undoubtedly be a variety of opinions. That's how new social mores and standards are established. When enough people agree that something isn't OK - like drink driving or sexual harassment - laws sometimes change. Other times, it's simply a result of public opinion shifting. Remember when throwing rubbish on the ground was just what everyone did? Remember when women weren't allowed to work in the public service after they were married? A civilised society is always evolving. And feminism is simply an integral part of that process.

9. Kill boners

Feminism has no official position on boners. Although if they did, it would be this: boners are fine (provided they are only put in places where they are wanted). To suggest feminists are anti-boner is plainly absurd. Without boners, how would we make the next generation of feminists?