What Feminism Really Means

By: Mosammet Asma ’17

Nowadays, feminism is represented by an army of unshaven female warriors who hate men. But is that an accurate portrayal of what feminism really is?

Let’s look at the definition.

Melissa Goodrum, part of the English department, says, “According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of feminism is: ‘the advocacy of women’s rights.’ Quite often, people paint negative connotations onto this term. I am proud to be a feminist and therefore, an advocate for both women and men.”

Huh. That sounds different from society’s views.

Men and women being equal—that is what feminism is all about. Think about Rosie the Riveter, in her red bandana and blue work shirt, saying “We can do it.”

Do what? Be successful and achieve all our endeavors without any restrictions.

On the other hand, in our culture, being a feminist immediately puts a negative quality on an individual’s personality. But why?

One reason could be that politicians and members of the media are stigmatizing feminism.

Of course there are women who hate men, but those women are not feminists, even if they say they are.

They are misandrists. It is a common mistake to confuse these two; however, nowhere does it say in the definition of feminism that females should be superior to men and that men are repulsive rapists.

In a survey conducted by YouGov in April, when asked if they consider themselves a feminist, 32 percent of Democrats, 19 percent of Independents and only 5 percent of Republicans said they do.

When asked if they believe that men and women should be social, political and economic equals, 87 percent of Democrats, 81 percent of independents and 76 percent of Republicans agreed, with an equal percentage among men and women.

This shows that the definition of feminism is widely mistaken and that their decisions were influenced by how our society portrays it.

Vergel Reyes’ 17 says, “Whether I’m a feminist or not depends on its true definition and how it is seen in society. I don’t support a gender’s dominance over another, nor do I champion sexual or gender stereotypes. I support equal rights, opportunities, and yes, consequences, for all genders equally, where applicable. If a feminist is one that champions equality, then yes, I am a feminist.”

He goes on to say that if a feminist is someone who is looked upon as a “feminazi”, then he is not a feminist. He supports equality, and whatever society makes of that is something he has no control over.

However, is allowing society to shape what is considered this or that ethical?

Rashadul Islam’ 17 says, “I am a feminist. Although people now see feminists as people who yell at men holding doors for them, I don’t find that true. I believe every human, whether woman or man, have the same potential and can be equal in all fields.”

Zak Foster, part of the LOTE Department says, “I am a feminist, I believe everyone should have equal opportunities regardless of their gender.”

Foster goes on to say that the only problem he has with feminism is that it only represents the feminine and masculine. He wishes that one day there will be a group that will support all the shades in the gender spectrum: men, women and everything in between.

I can say that I, too, am a feminist. I believe exactly what the simple definition of feminism says, for men and women to have equal rights in political, social and economic grounds.

It is shocking to me to hear a woman say she is not a feminist. It is obvious the true meaning and ideals of feminism have been twisted and deformed from what it truly stands for: equality.

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