As you read that title, you probably either rolled your eyes or silently shouted YES. And whichever side you’re on, I hope this article will help eradicate some misconceptions you have about feminism (and hopefully give you some absolute powerhouse comebacks in an anti-feminist argument).
What you’ll find is, the only reason (hopefully) to the anti-feminist side of this argument is the basic grounding of what the word ‘feminism’ means. Which is why I hope to share with you what it means to me!
What does it mean to be a feminist within the 21st century? This is a question I am frequently asked in class or on social media. And in its most basic form, feminism is simply the belief that all genders should be treated equally. And before you read on, I am IN NO WAY supporting misandry. I mean, who doesn’t love a bit of Zac Efron!
Everybody wants equal rights, right? But I feel like we, as a society, are more disorientated than ever. Feminism could be seen as 1,000 different meanings and we are treating it as something you can define with a post on Facebook. It gets to the point where you cannot liberate women and feminism in fear of being penalised due to the argumentative nature of the topic.
The thing I wish people knew about feminism the most, is that the words ‘gender equality’ and ‘feminism’ can and should be used interchangeably. People will often be put off by the word 'feminism' itself. A word that has baggage, much of it negative. But you have to understand that feminism is different to each person. The world is full of Christians yet not every Christian likes brussels sprouts. Just as, not every feminist is shirtless and setting men on fire. So the word should mean what it is - a movement that has been viciously fought for, and against, over the course of half a century.
So why does the word feminism exist rather than gender-equality? Well, think realistically. After everything that’s been achieved over the past 50 years, renaming feminism will likely only serve to abandon the progress that’s been made for women everywhere. As summed up by Christina Sweeney-Baird, 'renaming feminism isn't the way forward. Rebranding and rethinking feminism for the modern day is.'
The problem with gender is that it identifies the way we were born and refuses to change for who we want to be. Our experiences, our mental health, our intellect and our physical and mental abilities. So why is it statistically women hold less positions of power? And equally why are boys raised to be less emotional. COME ON PEOPLE, we are all humans. So, even if I haven’t persuaded you that you were a secret feminist, I hope you can stand with me in saying, "yes, even today, there is a problem with gender equality. And I want to change that.”
Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales every year. So why is it so hard to talk about? By suppressing feminism, you suppress a human's voice and restrain speaking out. And that’s what feminism is. Speaking up about gender inequality. So to the number of people who will look at this article and circulate a thousand contradictions, I finish by saying this. When I say I am a feminist, I am not demeaning you at all, I am simply asking for equality and peace.