I want to address some stereotypes and assumptions about feminism. I was asked earlier today if I’m a feminist. When I said yes, she looked at me with doubt and confusion and then stated, “I’m not.” And then I asked her..
Me: Do you believe that men and women should have equal rights?
Her: Well, I don’t think we’re biologically equal. Men are usually stronger. So physically, I don’t think we’re equal.
Me: It’s not about physical strength. Yes, I do agree that men on average are physically stronger. But I believe we should have equal rights in the work place. Get paid the same for equal work. If I want to be a bioengineer and he wants to be an interior designer, then we should be allowed to choose those professions without discrimination.
Her: Oh, yes, I believe that too.
Thinking back on our conversation, I now realize that people have become very afraid of the word “feminism” because of its association with feminazi or man-hating. I want to clarify the definition of feminism.
To borrow Emma Watson’s words from her UN speech, “Feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” THAT’S IT. There’s no clause (I hate men, I’m a queen, women are better) It’s literally about social, economic, political equality.
A feminazi is a radical feminist. It’s similar to how the KKK claim to be Christian or how ISIS is Islamic. It’s just unfortunate that a few bad apples taint the entire category for the rest of the world.
Emma Watson invites men to be a part of feminism, because it affects them too. Men are discouraged from expressing their emotions or asking for help when they may have depression. They don’t want to appear weak or “less of a man” so they keep it to themselves. Suicide is the leading cause of death in men in the UK, which is a huge red flag that men don’t have the benefits of equality either.
However, if men and women choose traditional gender roles, this doesn’t mean they can’t be feminists. If a man chooses to work and a woman chooses to be a housewife, they can still both be feminists. The key is believing that both occupations are respected equally. It’s not about the job, it’s about how one perceives it.
To be honest, feminism has become a hard concept to grasp in modern-day society, in a first world country. We reap the benefits of feminists but don’t give them credit for it anymore. If it weren’t for feminists in history, women wouldn’t be able to vote right now, we wouldn’t be able to wear pants, children and housework would be our only identity, and we wouldn’t be able to speak in public without our husbands’ approvals.
The fact that I’m able to freely express my thoughts on a blog, get an education, travel as a single woman, play sports, and talk about politics is all thanks to feminism. Unfortunately, these “basic rights” are still not a norm in many countries, which is why it’s important to continue conversations about feminism and gender equality.
In Miss Watson’s words:
“If you still hate the word, it is not the word that is important. It’s the idea and ambition behind it.”
Don’t be like the idiots on this blog and embarrass yourself because you’re misinformed about the word. Ask questions, do research, understand what it really is before standing up against it.