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Conservatives try to figure out #HowToSpotAFeminist, are quickly enlightened by feminists

A sexist hashtag gets quickly -- and wittily -- co-opted by the feminist blogosphere


Jenny Kutner
May 5, 2015 10:54PM (UTC)

I know, I know: It has gotten very confusing to live in a time when most of the mainstream believes in gender equality. I get it. It can be really perplexing to see a woman -- maybe even an attractive woman -- do things like go to work and earn her own money and, say, buy her own dinner and drinks and general livelihood without the help of a man; it can be doubly confusing when she does the same job as her male counterparts, just as competently, and then demands she be paid the same, because she's a feminist, dammit.

Conservative talk radio host Doc Thompson totally gets it too. What's more, he gets how difficult it can be when a person doesn't look like the stereotype of an unshaven, braless, makeup-free feminist woman, but instead just looks like your average human being -- except secretly, she (or he!) is someone who believes that everybody, regardless of gender, deserves the same rights, opportunities, treatment and respect. It is almost too scary to contemplate.

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To cope with the challenges of navigating the 21st century while still believing that women are subordinate, Thompson decided to compile a shorthand guide to spotting the feminists (because they're out there, hiding in plain sight). He issued this call to his Twitter followers on Sunday:

The responses began to pour in from an array of people sorely confused about the definition of "feminism" or of "feminist." Apparently, #HowToSpotAFeminist is as simple as looking for a woman who is "wearing a pantsuit," or who "drives a Jeep with oversized tires," or "uses the word phallus a lot," or dates "'Pajama Boy' emasculated beta-males, then complain(s) that there are no 'men' out there."

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Of course, there was also plenty of mention of feminists being people who "play the victim" and "murder babies," but we already knew that, right? (Oh, and a feminist is always, undoubtedly a woman -- never a man who fights for or even believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. But we already knew that too.)

As the #TCOT crowdsourcing continued on Tuesday, however, a beautiful thing began to happen: All of those feminists whose covers were about to be blown decided to make the whole process easier, by using the hashtag themselves.

If the misguided initial responses to Thompson's #HowToSpotAFeminist roundup provided an illustration of how completely off-the-mark people's conceptions of feminism are, the co-opting of the hashtag by real, live, ever-so-difficult-to-spot feminists offers a clarifying and witty counterpoint -- as well as a positive sign that sometimes, online sexism and misogyny can be drowned out. Here are some of the best #HowToSpotAFeminist guides:

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Even Woman Against Feminism got in on the action:


Jenny Kutner

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