Tonight at work, a colleague was about to make a "how many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?" joke until I abruptly asked him to stop, because a) this was in a professional workplace where customers were present and would likely hear the conversation and b) because it offended me straight away and I wasn't prepared to let 'casual' sexism slide. My request was met with a disgusted "ugh, you're not a feminist are you?!" from a different colleague, which caused quite a ruckus.

Suddenly I was confronted with a barrage of utter bollocks such as "they just take it too far" and "I'm a woman but I certainly would never identify as a feminist".

Firstly, who is they? Radical feminists? Liberal feminists? Marxist feminists? Black feminists? There is more than one strand of feminism, many of which have conflicting ideas about what feminism is, does and should do. So calling feminists "they" is misleading and downright dumb, because fundamentally there is no such thing as a definitive, pure example of a feminist, we all differ.

Secondly, I have full respect for people's freedom of speech and believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but lumping me into a category of 'the evil, stinking feminist' that they essentially conjured up from misogynistic news platforms and bad press (women in sport was their main example) was unfair. They didn't give me the chance to counter what they were saying because they kept blathering on about how "feminists just complain about all the shit women have been put through during the past but who hasn't" (this came from a woman).

It was alarming to me that only one colleague supported me and admitted to believing in feminism as a principle but, like I've said before, would like to see the name changed to be more gender neutral and befitting for everyone. He said that he basically wants everyone to be equal, not women to overcome men or vice versa, and that he'd rather describe himself a 'humanist' than a feminist.

What was more alarming was that feminism is the butt of pathetically archaic jokes and 'harmless banter'. I'm not sure what was meant by "taking it too far" either but I'm for one am not going to apologise any time soon for fighting to be treated in adherence with my basic human rights and equally to my male counterparts. If that's taking it too far for you mate, then I suppose you're happy to settle with earning 20% less than a man for doing exactly the hours at exactly the same job? No? Didn't think so.

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