The reason they’re able to claim feminism at all is a bit more complicated, because feminists themselves — myself included — helped to enable it. Before Walmart sold “feminist” T-shirts and celebrities embraced the cause, we worked to make feminism more accessible.
We wanted to reach the young women who said they “weren’t really feminists” but who believed they should make the same amount of money as men or be able to attend a campus party without fear of being assaulted. The hope was to make the term less scary to those who believed in feminist values but avoided the feminist label.
In our eagerness to make feminism more friendly to the mainstream, we didn’t fully consider what it would mean if any woman could claim the label.