“The problem is—the problem has always been—that feminism is not fun,” Zeisler declares. “It’s not supposed to be fun. It’s complex and hard and it pisses people off. It’s serious because it is about people demanding that their humanity be recognized as valuable. The root issues that feminism confronts—wage inequality, gendered divisions of labor, institutional racism and sexism, structural violence and, of course, bodily autonomy—are deeply unsexy.”
So, no, we shouldn’t stop calling feminists “feminists.” To appropriate Simone de Beauvoir, one is not born, but rather becomes, a feminist. It is a deliberate political undertaking. It is an ethics of daily living, of fighting for gender equality under the law, of fighting for women’s agency and autonomy, of fighting for political power and representation for women. To be a feminist is to fight structural inequality and upend the patriarchal power structure. In this regard, it is inherently discomforting. But feminists are not here to make anyone comfortable—that’s the damn point. And no amount of clever, screen-printed tank tops will change that.