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'Feminists are man-hating' and 4 other fears about feminism

Last time I checked, "feminist" wasn't a bad word. But not everyone agrees. Vlogger Melissa Fabello shares five reasons you might be shying away from calling yourself a feminist.

'Feminists are man-hating' and 4 other fears about feminism

In recent years, feminism seems to have gone mainstream, but not everyone's on board.

In her video "5 Reasons You Don't Want To Call Yourself A Feminist," Melissa Fabello has some ideas about why.

The good news is that with feminism back in the pop culture spotlight, lots of people are being exposed to important conversations about issues like sexism, the wage gap, sexual violence, and intersectionality. Feminism is becoming cool for an entirely new (and younger) generation.


Beyoncé "woke up like this." GIF by MTV Style.

But the downside of this renewed interest in feminism is now it seems every female celebrity is expected to make some sort of feminist declaration — and not all are ready. It took some, like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Shailene Woodley, a while to warm up to the word. But a lot still aren't super comfortable with it. Take Sarah Jessica Parker for example:

On being a humanist and not a feminist:
“As [playwright] Wendy Wasserstein would say, I'm a humanist. ... But I see a lot of people trying to sort out their roles. People of color, gays, lesbians, and [transgender people] who are carving out this space. I'm not spitting in the face or being lazy about what still needs to be done — but I don't think it's just women anymore. We would be so enormously powerful if it were a humanist movement." — Sarah Jessica Parker, Cosmopolitan


The problem is, humanism and feminism aren't mutually exclusive ideas, which says Sarah may have some learning to do. But the funny part is that she then went on to champion some pretty feminist ideas like income equality and child care. So why the shyness to wear the scarlett "F"? Whatever the reasons are, she and other celebrities are not alone.

Here are the five reasons listed in the video above (with my commentary) for why some people — maybe even you? — don't identify as a feminist.

1. You don't want people making assumptions about your sexual orientation.

For some reason there's this pesky rumor floating around that being a feminist means you're gay. Lemme first start off by saying there's nothing wrong with being gay. Still, the stigma associated with being LGBTQ is not something some people want to deal with, regardless of their orientation.

But here's the thing: You can't control what other people think of you no matter how hard you might try. Remember, the only person who has a right to define your sexual orientation is you. When it comes to people assuming you're gay, "that's none of your business" or "that's not relevant to this conversation" goes a long way.

2. You're worried people will think you're "too serious" or "can't take a joke."

Yeah, that happens. Lots of people incorrectly assume that being a feminist means you're uptight or oversensitive. Now I'll admit, I've been accused of being a Negative Nancy for shutting down rape jokes or speaking out against street harassment. And while I don't like being told to "lighten up" when I bring up these issues, people are always going to object to being called out on problematic words or actions, feminist or otherwise. So you might as well speak the truth, right?

3. People think feminists are "man hating."

Of course no one wants to be called a "hater" of any kind. But there's one major flaw when it comes to linking feminism to hating men. Feminism is about social, economic, and political equality. And equality isn't about hating anyone. Boom. Myth busted.

4. Calling yourself a feminist could alienate you from your friends and family.

When it comes to standing up for your beliefs, there are always going to be people who have a problem with it. Learning more about feminism means being more aware of the things around you that are keeping progress from being made. And sometimes the people and things that are standing in the way might be in your own circle. Sure they could react negatively and pull away, but they could also be happy to talk and learn too! You never know. And being yourself, standing up for what you believe in and educating people you care about is definitely worth the risk. Trust me.

5. You don't want to act differently.

Calling yourself a feminist isn't a one-and-done process. Saying you want equality for women isn't enough. You have to do some work too. But everyone's activism isn't the same. For some people, being a feminist means going to protests and rallies; for others, it's tweeting about important issues or sharing articles on Facebook. Action is important, but how you choose to express your values is completely unique to you and doesn't have to change your entire personality or lifestyle.

Do any of those fears sound familiar?

Are they holding you back from calling yourself a feminist? Or maybe some of your friends? Or maybe — god forbid — even your favorite celebrity? Well, I'm a proud feminist, and even I had some of those worries back in the day.

But eventually I realized that while a label doesn't define me, it could help me be a part of a powerful movement of people who are fighting for something I really believe in: complete and total equality. I figured out that as a woman, I have the power to kick those fears right in the ass forever. All in the name of feminism.

Xena was a warrior princess, not a man hater.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less