What Feminism Actually Means

Feminists are just man-haters. They constantly shove their views on men down others’ throats and are irrational.”

Firstly, feminism is not anything like what it’s constantly represented as. We don’t hate men, or women, or anyone in particular. Nowadays, society has so negatively correlated the word ‘feminist’, that to say you are one is basic social suicide. You’re instantly barraged with insults and shunned, because you oh-so-obviously ‘hate men’. Even media portrays feminism in a negative way – for example, women that have committed attacks on men are often cited as ‘feminist’. No longer are the words equality and feminist interchangeable.

But they should be.

Feminists believe in the equal treatment of both genders – such as equal wages when performing equal jobs and being treated, to an extent, the same. Of course, there are the basic differences – men cannot carry children and so, whilst both parents should have equal rights to the child, men cannot take time off work. (Come on guys, you’re not carrying a baby around in your stomach, or squeezing one out). Of course, recent laws are coming into place about ‘paternity leave’. Still.

Women’s March January, New York. Photo Cred: Karla Ann Cote via Flickr

A feminist is a basic advocate for equality – they believe that things should be fair – if one gender is entitled to one privilege, then how can you deny the other the same privilege? The opinion that feminists ‘hate’ men is ridiculous, yet it is all too often used as the worst form of insult ‘shut-up, you feminist cow’. True feminists fight for men’s rights just as much as they fight for women’s (for example, I believe that women should pay for a meal just as often as men do and that the responsibility shouldn’t always fall to the male, just because of society’s expectations).

Suffragettes were feminists – men had a vote, so why couldn’t women? It’s almost inconceivable that once upon a time women were not allowed to work, own money, or even vote. Yet it did happen, so when (often men, although a few women do also) ask why women are always shouting about their rights, then consider this – women missed out on the most for so long and were subjugated. Men were not.

I could write a thousand pages on this topic, but this is a black-hole as far as I’m concerned

Of course, there is the argument that nowadays, feminism is obsolete and is no longer necessary. I disagree, for why is it women are still earning less than men in some jobs, when performing the same amounts of work? Why are women constantly having to prove themselves as being competent, when men are not being challenged? Again, it’s also not just about women being un-equal to their male counterparts…where on earth did the ‘macho’ stereotype appear from? Why are men not allowed to show their feelings and why is it still laughed upon when men are nurses and flower-arrangers?

The true definition of a feminist is, cited by Merriam-Webster:

“the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” and as “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” It does not mean women should receive special treatment or men should be put down in order for women to rise above.’

I could write a thousand pages on this topic, but this is a black-hole as far as I’m concerned. The term ‘feminist’ has become so negatively portrayed that I don’t know if it’ll ever truly shake off of the stigma it has somehow found. I just want to reiterate what the REAL term means.

At the end of the day, I’m proud to call myself a feminist and you know what? I bet you never knew that you were one, too.

words by Hayley Freeston

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