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15th Apr 2024

What is micro-feminism? Fighting gender inequality in little ways

Anna Martin


What’s it that they always say? It’s the little things that count

It seems that this idea has been taken into the world of feminism as micro-feminism is a new trend doing the rounds on TikTok.

So what exactly is it and why are people now refusing to move out of the way when walking on a footpath?

What is micro-feminism?

@katiewood____ as always, I am for the girls 🎀 #microfeminism #feminism ♬ original sound – katie wood

The term first appeared in a March video from producer and host Ashley Chaney, who says she can’t take credit for the term, but her video appears to have made it go viral across social media.

She filmed it organically, after reflecting on her previous workplace and how maddening it was to experience misogyny, even in seemingly minute ways.

The answer to what it means is kind of in the name, it is small acts and changes that a person may decide to make, especially when it comes to the workplace, to combat gender inequality.

“Instead of like, standing up, burning your bra, and screaming at people, it’s like little acts that make men pissed off,” TikTok creator Katie Wood said in a video about the subject.

“And it’s my favourite f*ing thing to do.”

Katie then goes on to give some examples of how she practices this in her own career as an attorney.

For instance, she said, if somebody at her job says “I have to talk to the board,” or the chairperson of the board, she will always reply with “let me know what she says.”

“Always she,” Wood emphasised, “By default.”

While the (often harmful) stereotype we’re fed about feminists is that they stand in the streets burning their bras while shouting, this type of action is all about practical, everyday actions like these also make a difference.

In fact, they are likely a response to “microaggressions,” otherwise known as an action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude.

Think of someone thinking a pilot or a CEO has to be a man, not always intentional, but they still express a gender bias.

How has it been inspiring others?

Credit: Canva

Through Katie, Ashley and many other TikTok creators, it seems that women around the world have been inspired with thousands commenting on their own micro-feminist actions, encouraging others to embrace it.

“I write real estate contracts, and I always put the wife’s name first,” one commenter wrote, “The husbands question it a lot, even though it makes zero difference to the contract, just their ego.”

“I addressed my wedding invitations as ‘Mrs & Mr Jane Smith,'” another wrote.

“When a group of male coworkers complete some kind of project or presentation I say ‘great job gentlemen’ or ‘great job boys’ in the same way professional men say ‘great job ladies/girls,'” one user shared.

While these small actions are, well… small, seeing thousands of women come together to share them and discover which other tiny ways they can reclaim their power seems to amount to one big change over time.