Feminism Isn’t What You Think It Is...
“Oh, so now a man is going to tell us what feminism is?”- If that’s the first thought that comes to your mind when you clicked here, this article is definitely for you! Hopefully by the end of this, you’d be convinced (or at least educated) that feminism is for everybody. Let’s break this down.
A woman holding a book that reads '#Girlboss'.
What is Feminism?
The first records of the word “feminist” dates back to the year 1852 . In the strictest sense of the word, it refers to 4 separate waves of liberation movements spanning over a century. But what feminism really means is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of equality of the sexes- at least according to Google. To put it simply, it is the belief that both women and men must be equal in all spheres, be it social, political or economic.
So, if feminism is about equality of the sexes, why isn’t it called Equalism?
Glad you asked! (Or I did) Well, it is no secret that over the course of history women have always received the short end of the stick being underpinned and discriminated against with bias and sexism. A century on from the Feminist Movements and women are still under-represented in positions of power and leadership and in more than plenty cases, undervalued. (Not to mention victimized by violence- that’s a whole different story) So to achieve “equalism”, society must liberate the position of the ‘woman’ or ‘female’ thus making it ‘Feminism’.
Feminism is NOT about the superiority of women or hating men!
The purpose is to attain equality between the genders. Contrary to popular belief that a feminist is this male hating, triggered by everything a man says individual; you wouldn’t even recognize a true feminist when you see one. For all the people that scorn at Feminism for being too radical in their approach, you’re thinking of a whole different group of people with a completely different cause- Misandrists. Misandry is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against men or boys in general. These groups have been long hitch-hiking the feminist movement in an attempt to further their ideology; inevitably giving Feminism a bad name in the process. They fall under a category of feminists called pseudo-feminists. Before anybody gets triggered by the term, let me explain.
Who is a pseudo-feminist?
Being a feminist doesn’t come with a “conditions apply”. In a lot of cases, one starts out with a noble cause in mind but loses track in certain situations. You can’t call yourself a feminist and allow your son to be out late at night while your daughter wasn’t allowed to. Or maybe you watch a film with a female lead concluding that she did it for the PR. Granted, humans make mistakes. But what separates a feminist from a pseudo-feminist is their ability to rectify the impact of their actions in the uplifting of women. For actions to have long lasting and far reaching consequences they must be directed at creating a change at the institutional level and change always starts at home. Pseudo-feminists include but are not limited to Misandrists.
Even men can be feminist!
Feminism is not owned by women and they are not the sole beneficiaries of feminism. If equality of all genders is what we’re talking about, the role of men is intrinsically linked to feminism. The role of men spans all the way from having equal views towards the genders and making sure they are represented equally to simple acts such as leaving out “Would you want to have children?” from a job interview questionnaire. In many cases, men that mean good are misrepresented by a larger demographic of the contrary. The success of feminism lies not in undermining and blaming men, but making them understand that what they’re doing or saying is detrimental to gender equality. It goes without saying that it is the role of men to realize their mistakes, intentional or unintentional and rectify them while calling out other men when they do the same.
“If you believe in equality, you are a feminist” quoted actress Emma Watson.
Don’t be a feminist to impress people. Don’t be a feminist because social media says it’s trending. Don’t be a feminist because your favorite celebrity said they were one. Do it because you truly believe that we have gone wrong as a society and those wrongs need to be corrected- starting with YOU!