Time Magazine is right: We should be sick of the word “feminist” by now

Time magazine is running a poll on words that should be banned in 2015, of which one of those proposed is “feminist”. I think we can all get behind that. Who wouldn’t be bored of feminism by now? It’s been going on for ages – for at least as long as women realised a) that they were people, too, and b) that men were behaving like shits.

So yes, I am tired of this whole feminism thing. Apart from anything else, it’s so bloody repetitive. Always the same thing, year in, year out. When will it ever end? I’m bored of being a feminist. Aren’t you?

I’m bored of using phrases such as male violence and patriarchy, fully aware that to far too many people I will sound more of a threat than the man who gouges out a woman’s eyes out, or kills his own children to seek revenge on his ex, or thinks rape is not real rape, at least not when it’s him.

I’m bored of having to tell people that unpaid caring work has an actual economic value.

I’m bored of explaining, for the millionth time, why women are not like ipads/open wallets/unlocked doors/meat left rotting in the sun.

I’m bored of hating my body, and seeing other women hate their bodies, and watching young girls learn to hate their bodies, too. I’m bored of men being the only ones to appreciate female bodies, at least as a resource to be used and then discarded.

I’m bored of being told which issues “really matter” for women (that is, nothing except FGM, always according to people who do fuck all to combat FGM).

I’m bored of having to point out that women are not whatever male people decide they are, and that our feeling and experiences matter – we are not empty shells or mirrors or universal mummies or plastic dolls.

I’m bored of people reminding me of all the compromises women make with their oppressors, as if this justifies any form of oppression at all.

I am bored of: choice, empowerment, agency, [add your own pointless word aimed at erasing the restrictive nature of the choices we make].

I’m bored of watching younger feminists treat older women in precisely the same way patriarchy does, dismissing them the moment they’ve either had children or hit 35, and then spending 20 years piecing together the very wisdom they delighted in trashing, only to end up “too old” to use it themselves.

I’m bored of having thoughts I’d assumed were original and then finding someone else – some radical harpy, some evil witch – thought the same, only better, decades ago.

I’m bored of neurosexism, postmodernism, queer theory and whatever the next “intellectual” justification will be for not seeing women as full human beings.

I’m bored of just how painfully obvious it is that women’s lives are not valued as much as men’s, and I’m bored of trying to imagine waking up one morning to find that 90% of violent crime is committed by women and that men represent 40% of the world’s paid workforce but hold just 1% of its wealth. It is unimaginable yet reverse the sexes, and it’s just mundane.

I’m bored of the oppression of women being used to justify wars but never the reining in of masculinity itself.

Most of all, I’m bored of men not listening. I’m bored of trying to make them listen. I’m bored of being patronised and ignored. I’m bored of waiting for men to be convinced, truly convinced, that women are people, too. I’m bored of opening a newspaper or switching on the news and seeing only men doing important things, men doing violent things, men kicking balls (oh, and perhaps some naked female tits).

I’m bored of being told that change is just around the corner, or that it’s already happened, or that it was never needed in the first place.

Feminism can be intellectually exhilarating. It can transform lives and make women realise their own worth. But of course one can get tired of it. Under patriarchy women are the losers. It’s bad enough being a loser without the added annoyance of knowing that morally, you’re in the right. Worst of all, once you notice this you can never un-notice it again.

So yes, feminism is boring. We’re all sick of having to fight the same old battles again and again and again. If only taking away the word could magically resolve the problem, but it can’t. Alas, only feminism – whatever we decide to call it – can do that.

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