(n) the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
This is the dictionary meaning of feminism.
Other than this the idea of feminism is quite subjective. For some people, it represents the end of the era of traditional manhood and the idea of men taking what they and when they want. For others, it signifies the beginning of a new time. The most saddening part though is that one of the strongest movements is also one of the most hated ones.
Yes, feminism. In the last few years, the movement of feminism has been one of the strongest ones globally. The traditional patriarchy has been incredibly damaging and destructive all-inclusive, and yet there is a category of people who carry stigmatized and inaccurate views of who feminists really are. They see feminists as man-haters, protesting on the streets for the dominion of the world by women and ultimately fighting for the extinction of men.
The definition above has in very legible and understandable words given the true meaning of feminism. If however, the word feminism is so justifiable, why are there so many stigmas about it? Why are people supposed to defend themselves for these “outlandish” beliefs? This stigmatization comes from overall ignorance.
The Misconceptions of Feminism
As a devoted feminist, truly dedicated to the cause, I looked for some very common, basic myths about feminism, which need to be dispelled right away.
Feminists hate men:
THEY DO NOT HATE MEN. Yes, you read it right, true feminists do not hate men. Misandry actually is the word used for “the idea of hating men.” We need to differentiate between the two concepts. The goal of feminists is to be heard, seen, and treated as equals. In fact, the ideals of feminism include a glut of gender issues, including the “hegemonic masculinity” and how the traditional expectations from men are racist, limiting, and unfair to them.
All feminists are the same:
There are a variety of feminists. They work for different issues ranging from liberal to radical to cultural to socialistic issues etc.
Feminism kills the traditional femininity:
It is time now that we understand, that the “traditionally feminine women” can also be feminists. It isn’t about tearing down traditional femininity. Instead, it works to allow those, who wish to stray from this idea of traditional femininity and explore new things, and ideas. This is a time of “choice” and “freedom”. Women should be allowed to choose something or the liberty of not choosing it.
Only women can be feminists:
“Men,- I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation, gender equality is your issue, too.
Feminists as an Institution
Feminism as an institution invites and embraces every person to be an advocate of equality and change. Men can be feminists too, and it most certainly, does not make them less of a man (if that’s the horror). There are thousands of men who are loud and out feminists, and that is because they recognize that there are no special needs of being a feminist, all it requires, is for you to believe that women can and should be treated equally.
There are plenty of men whom we look up to, and quite a number of them are true feminists. Will Smith, is one of those;” Boys laugh at what they put girls through, but they won’t be laughing when they are wiping tears, of their daughter’s face for the same reason”. Patrick Stewart, Mark Ruffalo, David Schwimmer, John Legend, John Hamm, and many others, are men who truly believe in the concept of equality.
Feminists want it easy:
Feminists understand the difference between equality, and privileges. They do not want to be raised on a higher platform. They do not demand privileges, they demand what they deserve.
Feminists do not have a sense of humor:
Yes, they have zero tolerance for any kind of sexist jokes, because they understand how these jokes, though unintentionally, play a further role in entrenching the patriarchal culture. Other than that, they don’t really mind a good laugh, nobody does!
There is no need for feminism now:
Look around, if you don’t cite a single incident that includes gender inequality of any sort; you are truly lucky. But if it’s isn’t happening around you, does not mean it isn’t happening. I happily agree that there is a tremendous change that we’ve made, but deep inside we all know, there’s still a lot to be done.
There are a plethora of more misconceptions that people have embedded in their minds regarding feminism, the list, unfortunately, does not end here.
If you ever come across a person claiming to be a feminist and using words like, “hatred towards men”, “revenge”, ”privileges”, ”matriarchal society” etc., trust me, they are not really feminists. Try not getting your mind influenced by their idea of feminism, as it will only, eventually lead to such misconceptions and hatred towards feminism. We need it, to empower people, not to make anybody powerless or weak. It includes words like, “equality”, “freedom”, ‘choices”, and these are not negative words. Are they?
“Women, they have minds and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they have got ambitions, and they’ve got talent as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying, that love is all a woman is fit for.”
– Jo March, Little Women.
Aarohi Mishra | Editor