The Word: Why Joss Whedon hates the word ‘feminist’ (VIDEO)

Like most young millennial women, Joss Whedon played a major role in my feminist awakening; “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was our “Feminine Mystique.” So it’s surprising to say the least to hear geek lord Whedon say that he feels ambivalent about the term “feminist.”

Whedon was being honored by Equality Now when he gave the speech below. Surprisingly, Whedon opens by announcing, “I hate ‘feminist.’ Is this the right forum for that?”

Whedon quickly clarified that it was the word feminist he hated, not feminists themselves, because he feels that phrasing it as an “ism” positions it as a marginalized agenda one adopts, rather than the state of believing in gender equality that we should all expect from each other.

“My problem with feminist is not the word,” he explains. “It’s the question. It’s the question. ‘Are you now, or have you ever been, a feminist?’ The great Katy Perry once said – I’m paraphrasing – ‘I’m not a feminist but I like it when women are strong.’ That’s lovely Katy. Don’t know why she feels the need to say the first part, but listening to the word and thinking about it, I realize I do understand. This question that lies before us is one that should lie behind us.”

OK. Well, a gossip blog maybe isn’t the best place to get into my own particular strain of third wavery, but I’ll just say that maybe Whedon should let us fems decide when our ism lies behind us.


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