Feminism. It seems like that word has become risqué. With so many negative connotations, and hateful synonyms, it’s no wonder why our generation does not want to labelled as a feminist. But lets cut the crap, and get down to what feminism is really about.
Feminism, as defined by the dictionary, is “the theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes… the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” Now lets get one thing straight off the bat, the definition of feminism has not changed. The feminist movement, is still the movement towards equality for all genders; men, women, and trans*.
For whatever reason, anti-feminists, people who do not believe in equality for all genders, have tried, and been somewhat successful in re-creating the meaning of this term. This new meaning has become synonymous with man hating. If you think about it, this literally makes no sense at all and I have no idea how this trend even took off. If to be a feminist means you are a “man-hater”, then, at most, you only support one of the sexes, and since feminism is about equality of sexes, then by definition, you are not a feminist. The definition itself boycotts this entire argument! Yet, for some reason, people are still buying into it.
Now many people have an issue with it being called feminism, and I don’t blame you for that. In fact, until recently I felt the same way. However, I recently watched a video on YouTube that changed my perspective. The man who created this video explained that it is called feminism, for the same reason gay rights are called gay rights and not human rights. Gay rights are called gay rights, because we need to bring gay rights up to the normal standard for human rights. If, and when, gay people finally receive the same treatment as straight people, only then will it be called human rights. And feminism is the same thing. We call it feminism, because females are the ones whose rights need to be brought up to the standards of men.
Because of this reason, and many others, lately the majority focus of feminism talks and articles has been on women, and that’s because women have been on the receiving side of the majority of equality incoherence. But why don’t we talk about men? Feminism supports men staying at home and raising their children if that is what they want to do, or what is best for their family. Feminism supports women treating men with respect. Feminism supports men getting paid paternity leave so they can stay home with their newborn child. Feminism supports men being vulnerable, sensitive, strong, tough, or whatever they want to be. Feminism supports men. Feminism supports people. There’s a common myth that men cannot be feminists, but if you’re a man who believes in the equality of men and women; if you believe your sister should make as much money as you; if you believe you should get as much credit for raising your children as the mother of your children does, then congratulations you’re a feminist!
To say you are not a feminist is literally the same as saying you do not agree with the things above. To say you’re not a feminist is to say you agree with a woman earning, on average 0.71 dollars for every 1.00 dollar a man earns in Canada. To say you’re not a feminist, it to say you believe “real” men are only those that possess “masculine” qualities. To say you are not a feminist is to say you are okay with the fact that women are still forced to marry their rapists in some countries. To say you are not a feminist is to say that boys who are bullied, often to the point of suicide for being too “feminine” should just suck it up. To say you are not a feminist is to say you accept the statistic that one in five girls, and one in seven boys, will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
To say you are not a feminist is to say you do not believe in equality, and that is the fact. This is not a myth, not an opinion, but a fact. Of course everyone is entitled to his or her own beliefs, and I’m not here to tell you that you have to be a feminist. Instead, I am trying to help educate you on what being a feminist truly mean, because my bet is if people really understood the true meaning of feminism, we would have a lot more men and women identifying as feminists.