At first I was like, "Where is this feminist vs. Taliban analogy going?" But then I was all like, "Oh, I see what you did there!" It takes a special kind of dude (like Joss Whedon, noted writer/director/creator of feminist characters) to hate on the word "feminist" in a way that doesn’t make me immediately want to light him on fire. You should watch his whole speech because it’s very well crafted. But if you're short on time — at 8:16 and 9:20, he says two things that are irresistibly quotable, at 9:54 he comes up with my new favorite hashtag, at 10:53 he pitches a new word, and at 12:39 he brings the house down with a pep talk that is both humbling and totally invigorating.
What’s strange about this speech is that he's identifying a problem that a lot of women, especially women of color, have been talking aboutfor years. He acknowledges that himself at 10:36, but of course, coming from a straight white male, suddenly this all sounds groundbreaking and has everyone talking. Huh. Wonder why that is… It’s almost like sexism and racism are inherent in media coverage of sexism and racism or something. WEIRD.
Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with labeling yourself a feminist. It's a label I apply to myself, after all. And it's not a dirty word. But not everyone is comfortable labeling themselves as such for a lot of different reasons. A new word to explain what it is we, as feminists or not-feminists, are trying to move past is actually not a bad idea. Whether you agree or disagree with his speech overall it's, at the very least, good food for thought.