Okay, I’m pulling out the Oxford English Dictionary on this one, and someone’s about to feel like I’m yelling at them, but that’s not what’s happening. I’m simply clarifying a linguistic pet peeve of mine.
Feminism cannot be dead, because it cannot die. Ideas do not wither up under scrutiny and time and fall into a grave of their own insecurity. Even if you took the word “feminism” out of the language, the idea would still be there, stirring up controversy. People will always search for equality, and women have always struggled to gain and keep their rights. The movement may appear to “die off”, but there will always be someone working towards the goal.
Saying that a movement is dead is just a way for people to discourage others from joining that movement. When they say that feminism is dead, they really mean that they don’t believe it has power anymore and can no longer sway the public, or that the word has become so smeared that using the term can only hinder the cause. This is simply not true. The word “feminism” has been around for too many years.
Oxford English Dictionary traces it back to at least 1887. From there on people have been attacking feminists for their agenda, and nothing has ever changed. Newspapers have time and again placed feminists in the center stage when it came to social change for women. Even if the people fighting for women’s equality refused to call themselves feminists, other people would still call them by that name.
This is not a testament to the power of words; this is a testament to the power of a strong ideal. You cannot strike it down. You can’t kill it, and it can’t die. So stop asking “Is feminism dead”. Feminists, Femininjas, Feminazis, Femi-whatever, we’re still talking about working towards equality for all, and there is no grave for you to bury it in. So put down your word shovels and go do something else.