Who Identifies As A Feminist?

Table feminism-01

Not many Americans, according to an Economist/YouGov survey:

Just one in four Americans – and one in three women – call themselves feminists today. But that’s before they read a dictionary definition of feminism. Even then, 40 percent of Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll – including half of all men – say they do not think of themselves as a feminist, defined as “someone who believes in the social, political and economic equality of women.”

Women are more than twice as likely as men to say they are feminists at first, although only a third of women describe themselves that way. The gap remains about the same when people read the dictionary definition. Once that happens, identification increases dramatically: half of men and two-thirds of women say they are feminists.

Roxane Gay confronts her ambivalence about the term in an excerpt from her new book, Bad Feminist:

There are many ways in which I am doing feminism wrong, at least according to the way my perceptions of feminism have been warped by being a woman. I want to be independent, but I want to be taken care of and have someone to come home to. I have a job I’m pretty good at. I am in charge of things. I am on committees. People respect me and take my counsel. I want to be strong and professional, but I resent how hard I have to work to be taken seriously, to receive a fraction of the consideration I might otherwise receive. Sometimes I feel an overwhelming need to cry at work, so I close my office door and lose it. I want to be in charge, respected, in control, but I want to surrender, completely, in certain aspects of my life. Who wants to grow up? …

The more I write, the more I put myself out into the world as a bad feminist but, I hope, a good woman – I am being open about who I am and who I was and where I have faltered and who I would like to become. No matter what issues I have with feminism, I am a feminist. I cannot and will not deny the importance and absolute necessity of feminism. Like most people, I’m full of contradictions, but I also don’t want to be treated like shit for being a woman. I am a bad feminist. I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.