Ah, yes. The F-word. Throughout the course of history, there have been serious misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding the concept of feminism and the men and women who label themselves as feminists. In order to avoid further confusion, let’s start with an accurate definition of what feminism is. Feminism is the belief that men and women are equal and deserve the same rights, protections, and opportunities, both legally and socially.
If you believe that men and women should be treated equally, then congratulations! You’re a feminist! Feminism is often confused with misandry, which is the hatred of men. A more commonly known word in the American vernacular is the word misogynist, which is someone who hates women. Unfortunately, it’s fairly common today to hear the term “radical feminist” be used to describe women with these beliefs instead of calling them what they are. True feminism condemns both of these beliefs and instead champions equality for all.
Feminists are responsible for some major legal and social advancements. For example, the 19th amendment that gives women the right to vote was passed largely due to the actions and efforts of suffragettes and the Republican (now Democratic)* party. Suffragettes who fought for women to have the same right to vote as men were feminists. Later on, those who fought for equal pay, regardless of gender, were also feminists. There is nothing radical about a woman who wants to be paid the same as her male coworker or to have a say in the politics of her country.
Because feminists believe in equality for all, feminists also advocate for women to be included in the draft, for women to receive the same prison sentence as a man when they are found guilty crimes like rape and abuse, etc. . . . True feminism is not about women wanting the rights that are convenient for them while still being given certain “advantages.” True feminism is about fighting for the equality of both genders. So if you believe in this equality—regardless of any stigma or preconceived conceptions of the label—, you are, undoubtedly, a feminist.
*If you’d like to learn more about the Republican and Democratic party switch, click the following link: http://factmyth.com/a-summary-of-how-the-major-parties-switched/
Photo Credit: Google Images