Feminism…I can already feel the awkward silences. This ideology is generally buried in negative connotations, with assumptions about the core meaning. In this article, I’ll explain what it is, and why exactly people tend to roll their eyes at the mere thought.
What Really Is Feminism?
The exact definition of feminism is the advocacy of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. Feminism is the perspective that men and women are equal. They may be different with hormones and chromosomes, but they are still equal.
Men produce testosterone, which increases muscular mass thus making certain men biologically stronger in weight activities. But, patriarchal societies emphasizes that point and project it into the roles of women.
The Rise of Radical Feminism
The fact of the matter is, there are many people that believe that being a feminist is equivalent to being an angry man-hater. This preconceived notion may stem from the upsurge of radical feminism beginning from the 1960s to the 1980s. This era showcased feminism as the complete opposite of its original definition, it displayed feminists as aggressive, exasperated women that had a boiling hatred for men. However, this infringes the experiences of women around the globe. It takes away the core meaning of feminism: equality.
The Discrimination In Feminism
Mainstream feminism solely benefits white, able-bodied, cisgendered, heterosexual and middle or upper class women. This is something all human beings should acknowledge as it restores equality only for a very specific group of women. White middle and upper class women got the right to vote in the 1920s, whereas POC women only got the vote in the 1960s. That was only 60 years ago. There is an obvious discrimination towards race and socioeconomic background.
But there is such thing as intersectional feminism, which helps comprehend the experiences of LGBTQ+ women (specifically transgender women), disabled women, BIPOC women and lower class women. Intersectional feminism helps understand the different factors that come into sexism, and how there are ‘building blocks’. Meaning, if a black woman were to get discriminated against, it’s not only a case of sexism, but also racism.
Not All Men
In my opinion, like all equality motivated movements, feminism is stigmatized because of how it makes people uncomfortable. Whether that be from men and/or women. There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to conform to traditional roles as a woman, such as being a housekeeper, cook, etc. The importance in that sentence is the word choice. Not all women have to be scientists, engineers, etc, if they choose not to.
I often find myself saying “I’m a feminist, but… I don’t hate all men’’ in the same breath. Feminism is not an attack on the egos of men. In fact, it’s to highlight crimes that are done to women disproportionately by men. And if that hurts your ego, or you feel attacked, that’s a reflection of your own values. No apology required.
I find that people stir away from the label of ‘feminist’, and instead just say that they believe in equality. This may be understandable, since it’s a result of fearing judgement from a society that typically categorizes feminists in one box. There is no need to explain yourself, when all you’re doing is advocating for the most basic of human rights.
Hopefully, this article helped you further understand the importance of feminism, and where the stigma stems from.
Thanks for reading!