Maybe it's my inherent hipster cynicism to dislike anything that becomes really popular and over saturated in mainstream media, but it's starting to seem like feminism is incredibly on trend. Suddenly, every third or fourth female (usually white) celebrity is 'coming out' as feminist, Tumblr is chock full of glitter feminist badges and anti-misogyny mini-skirts and the angry Twitterati is picking fights constantly over T-shirts and 'females these days' comments. While I'm glad feminism is no longer the angry lesbian third party, I'm not sure this is necessarily a good thing.
Hipsters always get a bad rep for "liking [things] before they were cool" but they are onto something with that. The moment a cause gains notoriety (think Kony 2012 and #BringBackOurGirls) it means everyone's quick to adopt it and tweet their blessed little hearts out but without any genuine sincerity, but more a desire to be a part of the crowd than actually research and identify with the cause. What's the point of Becky, Sue and Sally all identifying as feminists when they're quick to applaud faux-feminist events, see Chanel's runway last month, or do very not feminist things in the name of feminism (like this) or perhaps when it's time to do something very difficult or uncool; drop feminism altogether. And that's the thing about trends; they fade.
However, yesterday I attended a debate of feminism and gender relations in South Africa (here) and a recurring throughout the discussions was that there is no such thing as a perfect feminist. And, you know what? Does it really matter that a celebrity donates millions to an orphanage to appease the press but that progress and awareness comes out of their selfish act? What I'm saying is: not all of us arrived to feminism through reading The Second Sex or listening to Pussy Riot before it was cool, some of us learnt about it through trashy teen lit, our boyfriends or Tumblr. We've at least arrived to the party. It doesn't matter who invited us, just that we're here and we brought dip.
Maybe it's going to have to take feminism being hotter than those stupid Chanel espadrilles everyone bought last year to bring about some serious change. Trendiness means awareness. Trendiness means we're having conversations about street harassment and rape culture, we're creating spaces to talk about our 'bad' feminist woes (see: like all of Rookie). Trendiness means we're a little closer to progress.
I just hope that feminism's coolness right now doesn't mean capitalist (therefore patriarchal) debasement and spark up a greater need for people to take it off it's pedestal and create a counter-culture (see: #IDontNeedFeminism and, like, 70% of Twitter and its trolls).
I hope feminism remains cool, like it has always been, and y'all take this wicked ideology to the streets and pledge allegiance to pro-choice and anti-anti-mini-skirt legislation.