Does being a 'bad feminist' make me a hypocrite? Politics, commitments and moral consistency


A ‘bad feminist’ is someone who endorses feminist ideals and values but finds themselves falling short of them. Since bad feminists exhibit an inconsistency between what they say and what they do, this can generate worries about hypocrisy. This article investigates whether and when members of political movements with certain ideals ought to worry they are being hypocritical. It first provides a diagnosis of why worries about hypocrisy seem common in the political arena. I argue that accusations of hypocrisy are apt when one is in insufficiently committed to the values entailed by one’s pronouncements. It is particularly hard to assess what constitutes sufficient commitment in politics because many issues are multi-factorial, overdetermined, and involve numerous competing considerations, making it difficult to assess how genuine commitments to values should manifest in behaviour. Since there are many ways that one can act inconsistently with their pronouncements, mere inconsistency is not a signal of hypocrisy, particularly if one is disposed to take on costs to further that movement’s ends. I also consider and respond to a number of considerations against calling out hypocrisy, including worries about our accuracy, worries about the effects such accusations have on discourse, and worries about how accusations incentivise particular kinds of behaviour.


Hypocrisy, Standing to blame, Bad feminist, Commitment, Moral consistency

Link to Publisher Version (URL)


This document is currently not available here.

Find in your library