In CBS’s nationwide random sample of 1,150 U.S. adults, 65% of women and 58% of men identified as feminist when an equal-rights definition was provided, but only 24% of women and 14% of men considered themselves feminist in the absence of a definition (Alfano, 2009, February 11).When 17% of women think "feminist" is an insult and 12% think it's a compliment, the feminist movement has a serious problem. And blaming conservatives for what people think of feminism seems mighty silly now that most American men and women support equality for all men and women.
The problem with "feminism" are feminists. If any American dislikes egalitarians, I haven't heard about it. I'm sure there are some—the distrust of democracy by rich Americans goes back to the Founders—but my suspicion is Americans like people who identify as egalitarian because there's no ambiguity about whether you're arguing that women should be considered equal to men or better.
I often wonder if it matters whether you define yourself with adjectives or nouns. I would be reluctant to call myself a feminist, but if I ran into a macho jerk, I would happily use "feminist" as an adjective to clarify my belief. I like simple nouns that aren't ambiguous. You don't need to add "feminist" or "anti-racist" or "pro-gay" to "egalitarian". Either you believe in equal rights for everyone, or you don't.
Frankly, I think modern-day feminists are clinging to an old and noble word that's as useful today as "abolitionist". That fight has pretty much been won, but the gap between the rich and poor of all genders and hues continues to grow. Keep your eyes on the prize: a world of opportunity for all.
PS: Compare the popularity of "feminism" with "socialism", which conservatives hate also. In Democrats, Republicans Diverge on Capitalism, Federal Gov't, Gallup found that 39% of Americans have a positive reaction to socialism.
PS 2: She Can’t Sleep No More | Jacobin
PS 3: Equity and gender feminism - Wikipedia
PS 4: Shakesville: Explainer: What are Gender Feminists and Equity Feminists? is a fine example of how gender feminists claim equity feminists aren't real feminists, just like any religious sect claiming the other branches of its religion aren't real members of their faith. See The best God joke ever - and it's mine!