Google search definition of “Feminism”: ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”
In many ways, feminism is an utterly misconstrued concept that leads to an over-complication regarding people’s views of feminists. The word itself even implies that the movement is in favour of the superiority of women, as opposed to the equality of both men and women.
The whole situation is made worse by the small yet prominent proportion of misandrists who make the whole premise of feminism unfavourable towards men, portraying unnecessarily jarring and forceful opinions, regardless of women’s rights. In my experience, the negative stigma around being a feminist is enough to prevent people from wanting to identify as one, in the hope of avoiding being labelled as ‘male hating’ and over sensitive.
“For many university students, we are aware of the true meaning, but for anyone uneducated on the topic, all they may see is burning bras and hate towards men” – Uni of Nottingham 3rd Year female Geography Student
It appears as though the perspective towards feminism is completely inaccurate. While it seems absurd that anyone in this day would object to equal rights for men and women, the radical feminists who come under a very similar umbrella of categorisation do not help the negative outlook towards feminists. The activities of radical feminists (criticising men and entering a rage at the slightest injustice), while being perfectly in their right to express their opinion, taint the portrayal of regular feminists who simply believe in equality.
This was especially poignant for me the other day: during a lecture studying an essay about women, someone put their hand up and said “I am a feminist, but shouldn’t this essay talk about men as well?”.
1. Just because something is only referring to one gender, does not mean that it is ridiculing, disrespecting or making the other gender more inferior. It is simply irrelevant to speak about the other gender in this scenario.
2. Pointing out that you are a feminist before considering men is unnecessary in my opinion. This is because it seems to be implying that if you are a feminist, you shouldn’t be trying to include men in an essay where the topic is dominated by a woman?
“Equal rights for women, the inclusion of all people in everyday life”. – Uni of Nottingham 5th year male Medic
While I am in no way suggesting that women should be restricted, have unequal opportunities, or be in any way inferior to men, I would suggest that the ideology of feminism which we have currently leaves little leeway for extraneous factors that may influence decisions; they are straight up labelled as ‘sexist’.
If a male were to apply for a job doing needlework, they not be as good as a woman because they generally have bigger hands, and may be rejected due to this. Likewise, a woman may apply to work on an industrial estate lifting heavy jobs, but a stronger and more physically able male may be better suited for the role. I do not think in these cases that it is due to the stereotype to keep women away from ‘male’ jobs, but actually in their personal ability, which just so happens to be easier for a certain gender.
I propose that it would be beneficial for non-radical feminism to be rebranded as ‘Equalism’. Not hating men. Not favouring women. Just both parties being indefinitely equal.
words by Katie Clough