Posted by Elizabeth B.
Featured image by JasonMacker
The word alone makes some men (and women) roll their eyes and women (and men) get defensive about their ideas. But in reality, people are making a bigger deal out of the word than the ideas it supports. Feminism is not about proving all men are chauvinistic pigs or trying to convince women to stop shaving. Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. And a feminist is just someone who supports feminism.
It’s just wanting basic human equality.
So why do people have such a problem with it?
Many believe that a feminist is a man-hating woman. Many men (and some women) have started using ‘feminist’ as a form of insult. They are using the term for misogynists and not people who want equal rights for genders. People are stereotyping all feminists as man hating and power hungry women who dislike feminine things.
For example Pat Robertson (a televangelist) once said, “(1)The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. (2)It is about a socialist, (3)anti-family political movement that (4)encourages women to leave their husbands, (5)kill their children, (6)practice witchcraft, (7)destroy capitalism and (8)become lesbians.”
The 8 things wrong with this idea:
1. The ‘feminist agenda’ is, in fact, about equal rights.
2. Socialists want everything to be equal and controlled by the government (i.e. wages, ) feminists want people to be treated equally and have the same opportunities. There is a difference.
3./4. In no part of the definition of feminism did I read about it being an anti-family movement. Marriage is about an equal partnership of two people who love and support each other and feminism is all about equality so these are false claims. Just because women want equality in the working world doesn’t mean they don’t want families or to leave their husbands.
5. No. Just no.
6. The only explanation I can think of for the cause of this, is that this guy probably took the Harry Potter series a little too seriously and now that Emma Watson is the face of feminism and gender equality for the UN, he probably thinks all feminists must have gone to Hogwarts.
7. Again, the feminist agenda is about equal rights. Not about whether industry should be controlled by individuals or the state.
8. Sounds like someone got dumped one too many times…
Comments like this of Pat Robertson make it seem as if the idea of feminism is women vs everything, when feminism is really about fighting for gender equality all around the world.
Women’s Inequality Around the World:
In each country people are facing their own problems with inequality. And some places are more violent than others.
Middle East: In 2012 Malala Yousafzai was walking home from school and was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban for going to school and thinking that women should get an education too. In the Middle East women have little to no rights and speaking against what the men decide is one of them. But gender inequality isn’t just there.
Asia: In some asian countries they are facing a problem of “missing girls”. These missing girls are the 2.6 million females not born each year because of parental gender selection. In India, 48% of judges in India believe it is justifiable for a man to beat his wife. (Despite existing laws criminalizing domestic violence.)
America: Our President acknowledged this when he said, “Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns…in 2014, that’s an embarrassment.” So men and women can pay the same amount of money to go to college to get the same degree to get the same job, yet women will be paid less for the same job.
Then there’s the social aspect of gender inequality in the developed world. Men and women have been taught very different standards towards how they should behave. Men are have to deal with the expectation to pay for things, open doors, and not be too sensitive to prove their ‘masculinity’. Meanwhile women are pressured not to be prudes but also not to be sluts and are constantly being judged on how well they are attempting to balance these expectations through the way they dress to the way they behave.
Many of these ideas are expressed in Emma Watson’s He for She speech given at the UN. She is an advocate for gender equality and encourages both genders to support one another and fight for equality.
Why it’s a big deal:
What is stated above is what feminists are fighting for. Instead of fighting for feminism people are fighting against it when they don’t even know what the word means. Feminism is about the equality of both genders. This is about helping the women in third world countries who aren’t allowed education, the right to vote, or even the right to make decisions about their own bodies. This is about helping the women globally who are paid less for the same job as men. This is about treating males and females as people and not their gender stereotypes. Instead of fighting against each other, we should be fighting for each other. As Emma Watson said, “It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals.”