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I have a group of friends, all mature, independent women, who all have accounts on a domain they registered for themselves as a joke, megabitch.org.

As pointed out in transform's Bitch Manifesto node, reclaiming the word bitch is quite the feminist thing to do - but all five of these women routinely drive me up the wall by staying clear away from any potentially heated discussion of feminism with the claim that "they're not feminists". They can call it whatever they want, I call it moral cowardice.

I think that it's about as right for the word "feminism" to fall from grace and turn into a slur as it is for the word "democracy". After all, they're both terms which describe doctrines, ways of thinking, ideologies - there's no ethical value in semantics.

There are, however, examples of both happening - the difference is, democracy has been a dirty word in various totalitarian, joyless and oppressive regimes (or at least that's the way we were taught to view them), while feminism is a dirty word in the allegedly enlightened western world - worst of all, from my experience, the USA.