Joss Whedon has a way with words. That’s the crux of his reason for hating the word “feminist,” which he opens up about in a speech at Equality Now’s “Make Equality Reality” event on Nov. 4.
“I hope I’m being clear, I didn’t say I hate feminists, that would be weird,” he says. “I said I hate feminist. I’m talking about the word.”
He goes on to clarify, “You can’t be born an ‘ist.’ It’s not natural. … ‘Feminist’ includes the idea that believing men and women to be equal, believing all people to be people, is not a natural state. That we don’t emerge assuming that everybody in the human race is a human. That the idea of equality is just an idea that is imposed on us.”
His solution? There should be a new word that makes it clear that “you either believe that women are people or you don’t.” He says that he wants people who aren’t feminist to be known as “genderist” because it says “there was a shameful past before we realized that all people were created equal. And we are past that.”
That’s where Katy Perry comes in. “The great Katy Perry once said — I’m paraphrasing — ‘I’m not a feminist but I like it when women are strong.’ That’s lovely, Katy. Don’t know why she feels the need to say the first part,” Whedon says. With the introduction of “genderist,” “Katy Perry won’t say, ‘I’m not a feminist but I like strong women,’ she’ll say, ‘I’m not a genderist but sometimes I like to dress up pretty.’ And that’ll be fine.”
“This is how we understand society. The word racism didn’t end racism, it contextualized it in a way that we still haven’t done with this issue,” Whedon concludes of gender equality. “Does that mean that this will end the problem? Yes, definitely, we’ve done it. All of recorded human history against one benefit dinner? No contest. Okay, so, enjoy dessert.”
Do you agree with Whedon’s stance on genderism?