November 9th, 2012
09:30 AM ET

Where are all the millennial feminists?

Editor's note: Hannah Weinberger is a college student and former CNN intern.

By Hannah Weinberger, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Country singer and millennial Taylor Swift recently told the Daily Beast she doesn't consider herself a feminist, explaining to the interviewer who posed the question: "I don't really think about things as guys versus girls." But many feminists would argue that Swift, 22, is missing the point, that feminism isn't a battle between the sexes.

I can't say I blame Swift if she hasn't quite pinned down the definition of the word. I do identify as a feminist - after all, I trust in my abilities, combat stereotypes and believe in equal rights. But I've also been unsure at times what exactly it means to be a feminist and whether the modern movement is the best vehicle for gender equality.

Women have been divided over feminism, its definition and practice, since the first suffragettes demanded space in politics. Even today, asking a roomful of millennial women, roughly those 18-29, whether they identify as feminist will elicit a range of responses: yes, no and someplace in between.

"If you went up to a millennial and asked if they believe in equal rights for all, they would look at you like you're crazy, because that's a silly question," said Lauren Rikleen, executive-in-residence at Boston College. "But if you ask if they're feminist, there's this backing away and an emotional reaction."

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Age • What we think • Women