It has come to my attention recently that the term “choice feminism” is gaining popularity in the feminist blogsphere, used by feminists on feminists. This has got to stop. Why? Simply put, there are some words that should not be in the feminist lexicon. “Choice feminism” is one of them and I’m going to tell y’all why.
First, some backstory. One of the widely accepted terms that feminists do not lob at each other is “feminazi”. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, the term was
coined popularized by Rush Limbaugh specifically to discredit feminists. [Note: the term was actually coined by Tom Hazlett. I apologize for my mistake.] Through its usage, it has gained enough popularity to be listed in dictionaries such as Dictionary.com.
Secondly, because it is used to describe “extreme feminists” — which is itself a very subjective term — it is commonly used to reinforce the strawfeminist version of femiism: that we’re all angry, hairy legged, militant man-haters. For reasons like these, if feminists use that rhetoric against each other, we all lose, so, as a matter of principle, most of us don’t use it.
Now, as for “choice feminism” let’s first look at the origins. Linda Hirshman — who I have criticized for her anti-feminist rhetoric — coined the term specifically to create this pretend group of feminists who she could then attack.
So, parallels to the term “feminazi”. Created with the intention of discrediting certain feminists? Check. Is a term that no feminist self-identifies as, but rather is designed to create a strawfeminist that can be used to attack anyone who disagrees? Check. The popularization of it is contributing to the bad rap that feminists get? Well, no hard evidence on that one, but I personally think so.
Not to mention that the terminology tars with a rather large brush — to those unfamiliar with the nuances of the word, it is all too likely that they’d assume that any feminist advocating free choice as a driving factor of feminism is part of this crazy “choice feminism” that so many feminists have been ragging on.
The bottom line is that we don’t need any more terms used to attack feminists by creating these imaginary groups that don’t really exist. We don’t need to give our opponents more fodder, or give non-feminists yet another reason to distance themselves from us. And we most certainly don’t need any more divisive tactics.
So, I’ll say it again, if you’re a feminist who uses “choice feminism” please drop it from your lexicon. You’ll be doing us all a big favor.