Feminism, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is ‘the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men’. The definition itself says that it is a movement for women to have rights equal to the rights that men already have.
One of the biggest misconceptions of feminism is that it is an anti-men movement. The idea that women are tired of being unequal to men so now all women are revolting against men. This is simply not the case*. In fact, feminism benefits men, too. Here is why everyone should embrace it instead of avoiding the label.
Thankfully we are past the days where basic human rights were withheld from women—the right to vote, receive an education, and own property. However, now that those basic inequalities have been corrected, many people think that the women’s rights movement is well on its way out since the problems are fixed. WRONG! Social injustices advance with time similar to how technology advances. As we have left the early wave of feminism, new injustices are coming to light and they need to be addressed.
For some reason, politicians (who are mostly male) still think it is appropriate to make legislation that prohibits a woman from making decisions about her own body. I thought this was settled in 1973, people! Another incredulous attack on women that still exists is the wage gap. It took us long enough to accept women into the workforce but now we are battling to be paid equal to our male counterparts. A man who has the same job title in the same company with the exact same credentials as a woman, will earn a higher salary. The epitome of unfairness.
How about the women who are blamed for their rapes? The women who are told they should not have put themselves in a vulnerable situation, or should not have gotten so drunk, or should have worn something less revealing? Instead of making excuses as to why their rapists did what they did, we should help the women who have been victims of this despicable crime. We should support her when she is brave enough to speak out about such a personal and emotional topic, not shame her.
These are just a few of the many reasons why feminism is still needed today. It is the fight to make everyone realize that regardless of your gender (or age, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.), we are all humans that should be treated equally.
As I mentioned before, many people hear ‘feminism’ and think of a man-hating woman who burns bras and forgoes basic hygiene but I also mentioned that it benefits men as well.
A lot of what feminism does is unravel hurtful, unrealistic stereotypes. Feminists in the 50s and 60s broke the stereotype that all women are supposed to be stay at home moms and do the cooking and cleaning. Now, we also are trying to make people unlearn the stereotype ‘slut’ by liberating women who like to have sex and do so frequently.
There is a stigma associated with many different groups of people and feminism often tries to rally against those generalizations. Specifically for men, the idea that being sensitive is unmanly is a common theme we argue against. Or that a man who stays home with the children while his wife works is a disgrace for not being ‘the provider’. We fight against unfair custody battles where women are more likely to gain custody of children solely because she is the ‘mother figure’ even if the father is better fit to raise the children. We strongly fight against using derogatory words to describe men, such as “sissy”and “pussy”, which is insulting to men only because those are words that mean he is acting like a woman.
So, to any man or woman who does not want to label themselves as a feminist, think again. The cause is in your favor and will only benefit you. All we want is for every human to be treated equally; with the respect and dignity we all deserve.
*this is not to say that man-hating ‘feminists’ do not exist. They certainly do but they are in no way actually feminists because it strictly goes against what the movement stands for.