I had a friend in high school who would fit the stereotype of what some people call the “extreme feminist.” She had the pixie haircut, the demonizing attitude towards men, the insistence upon being able to do everything herself. And I found myself paled in comparison to her extremity. I thought to myself, “Am I not a feminist, because I like it when a guy opens the door for me, and I have no intention of learning how to fix my car?” And on top of that, am I not a feminist because I am afraid of the connotations of the word, of the way other people may perceive me if I claim to be a feminist?
The same friend dated this guy once who tweeted saying that he believed in equal rights for women, but did not consider himself a feminist. In response to this, she became extremely angry, demonizing him for his comment and breaking up with him. She had no patience to address his ignorance, merely to automatically assume he did not want to learn.
What I like the most about what Roxane Gay is saying about feminism is that you are allowed to have your own perspective on what exactly it means. In a society dominated by aggressively arguing one way of perceiving feminism, the thought that it could mean something different is both comforting as well as relatable.