Zoe Williams in The Guardian:
What is feminism? “Simply the belief that women should be as free as men . . . Are you a feminist? Hahaha. Of course you are.”
Caitlin Moran's How to be a Woman is firm, delightfully firm, on many things – heels (against), pubic waxing (against), abortion (for), the disadvantages of economising on sanitary products – and she is firm, she insists on, this simple definition of feminism. Feminism is just equality. Would a man be allowed to do it? Then so should you. Would a man feel bad about it? No? Then nor should you. Everything else – the pressure to be sisterly (“When did feminism become confused with Buddhism?”); the idea that we should be held to account, as feminists, for every possible ill that could befall the modern woman (“There's a whole generation of people who've confused 'feminism' with 'anything to do with women'”) – all of that is just hassle in disguise.
Moran is right, it is simple: and yet, for such a simple message, its cultural penetration has been patchy, fluctuating and disappointing. People who like to sound the death knell for the ideology – it's remarkable even that such people still exist – point to the fact that young women tend not to describe themselves as feminists.