So Nigel Farage doesn’t know what a feminist is?

In a television interview, the former leader of beleaguered right wing political party UKIP claimed not to understand the question, when asked if he would consider himself a feminist.

His bumbling answer seemed to imply he was confused by the notion that a man could be a feminist; almost that he didn’t know what feminism was for.

Right back at you, Nige. Most of us are struggling to work out what YOU are for. Why are you still talking?

It is absolutely the case that the word feminism has caused confusion, even division, amongst men and women in recent years,

Younger women, some in the glare of the celebrity spotlight, profess not to “be” feminists, causing older women to throw their hands up in horror. (“Don’t they understand what we went through? Sacrificed?” etc.)

If your very narrow understanding of the word is only ‘champion of women’, then I see where the problem arises.

But it is really all very simple.

Feminism is a commitment to equal rights, opportunities and choices for people of all genders.

According to the British Library, the first recorded use of the word ‘feminist’ in English is from 1852, when a conservative American magazine, the Debow’s Review, used it as an insult: ‘Our attention has happened to fall upon Mrs. E.O. Smith, who is, we are informed, among the most moderate of the feminist reformers!’

The term, however, caught on, and different international women’s rights movements used it.

Identifying as a feminist became problematic for some women when the term was hijacked by militant groups, more interested in being anti-men than pro-women, which is why the t-shirt campaign by the Fawcett Society sprang up.

Having men and women, including celebrities like comedian Bill Bailey and physicist Brian Cox, wear t-shirts emblazoned with “This is what a feminist looks like” helped ditch some of the misconceptions surrounding the word.

Virginia Woolf, back in the 1930s, recognised that the problem with feminism is in the word itself - it comes with a lot of baggage. (Mind you, she probably thought by now we’d have sorted it.)

Saying you are a feminist doesn’t make you anti-men. nor does it mean you think women are better than men.

Basically, if you say you’re a feminist, you think all people are equal and should work together to make sure everyone, whatever gender, gets the most out of life.

Now that’s not too hard to understand, is it Nigel?