Marissa Mayer Doesn’t Need to Be a Feminist

by August 3, 2012
filed under Activism

In honor of the main example in the piece of writing, Marissa Mayer, I’m going to go with blunt for the opening of my complaint: Leave her alone!

This woman is a powerful woman who as set a beautiful example for business oriented gurls everywhere. Does that mean we need to use her as a mascot for feminism? Being a strong female doesn’t mean you are a feminist.

A feminist, as described by the dictionary, is a person who advocates social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men. Now, advocating, also according to the dictionary, is to speak or write in favor of, support or urge by argument or recommend publicly. Marissa Mayer has done a lot of things, but she has not, to my knowledge, come out publicly to push the issue of equal rights for women. She has, admittedly, been an inspiration and speaks to the fact that women can survive in the business world formerly thought of as a man’s only world. But she has not made herself a champion of women’s rights.

Who are we to do that for her?

In high school, we hold auditions for the mascot for the team. These poor saps, for some unknown reason, offer themselves up for the audition- it is not compulsory, but by volunteerism. Why should being the mascot for a massive political, social, economic and legal revolution be any different? If she doesn’t want to do it, don’t make her. Anyone who is saying Marissa Mayers should consider herself a feminist is wrong. If you look at the definitions above, she is not a feminist, who is essentially a champion for the cause, but simply a strong woman. And she shouldn’t do anything she doesn’t want to. That entire idea goes against the fundamentals of feminism.

One comment she made did capture my attention, however. “I don’t think that I would consider myself a feminist. I think that I certainly believe in equal rights, I believe that women are just as capable, if not more so in a lot of different dimensions, but I don’t, I think have, sort of, the militant drive and the sort of, the chip on the shoulder that sometimes comes with that.”

I strongly dislike that view of feminism. People often associate “feminist” with bra burning, yelling and screaming at men, being a lesbian, having short hair, and essentially any way a woman can “act like a man”. Is that what being a feminist is?

I once made a joke about being a Suffragette. Suffragettes were actually the original feminists, and we owe a lot of, if not all, our rights as women, to these leaders. I made this joke, and the man I made it to looked at me and said, “You’re much too pretty to be a Suffragette.”

Granted, this was a long time ago, and personal hygiene wasn’t at a high point. But I don’t think that’s what he was getting at. What he was getting at was that a feminist is supposedly a woman with buck teeth who can’t get a man, so she wants to be better than him.

I am a pretty gurl. I am smart, and I have been with men. I could get a man if I wanted to. But I’m still a feminist. I still stand up for women when I see them being mistreated. I still say things that make people think about the legitimacy of a patriarchal society.

Is being a feminist acting like a man? Or is it being a woman that fights for a woman’s right to be seen as equal to, or better than a man?

You don’t need to be a self-proclaimed feminist, or even a feminist as proclaimed by others, to be a role model to young women. I think Marissa Mayer demonstrates this point.
Personally, to Marissa Mayer, I say “to each their own.” You don’t want to be a feminist, or seen as one, your choice. Good on you for knowing what you want. You get ‘em gurl!

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