Reason Writers Around Town: Katherine Mangu-Ward in Slate on Who Gets to Be a Feminist


just say no?

Over at Slate, Senior Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward mixes it up with a bunch of other ladies on the question of who gets to be a feminist.

When people use the word "feminism" in casual conversation, they mean something like this: Ladies are pretty OK, you know? They're more or less as smart and competent as men. They deserve to own property and make contracts and vote and stuff. And they're sometimes good for things other than having babies.

If you were born into the American middle class after, say, 1950, you are almost certainly this kind of feminist. The term is so widely used as to seem nearly meaningless in certain social settings. It retains a specific function only because this view doesn't happen to be typical of attitudes about women held by most people for most of human history.

But when Sarah Palin calls herself a feminist and a variety pack of pundits and activists from around the nation freak out, they're not talking about this definition.

Read the whole thing—plus an bonus entry from Reason Contributing Editor Kerry Howley!—here.