‘Feminist’ Is Not A Dirty Word

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Kelly Searle / Unsplash

The soap you use to wash away misogyny.

Webster’s defines a Feminist as a person who advocates for the social, political, legal and economic rights for women equal to those of men. The definition does not suggest that Feminists believe that women are better than men, or that women deserve special treatment, no do they believe that women are victims.

I first heard this word in grade school; I remember asking my mom what it meant. She sat me down and explained to me that not too long ago women didn’t have many rights, in fact, they had little to no rights. But, she said, some women started to argue that they deserved the same rights as men. Thus, the idea of feminism was born. Feminism aims to empower women, not take power from men. Its goal is to change the way society view women. Seems pretty simple.

Recently, I asked a friend of mine if she considered herself a feminist, she quickly replied “No.” Now, this came as a shock for me because, as I said, it all seemed fairly simple to me. So, the idea that a woman did not consider herself a feminist seemed odd. But, then she continued saying, “I believe in equal rights for women and equal pay for equal work,” she said, “but I think the term feminist has been ruined by feminazis who just continuously bash about patriarchy. Feminism started as a good thing, it started with Title IX and civil rights and it stood for something great. The exploitation of feminism in the media led people to become feminist but for the wrong reasons.”

This attitude has become very common, young women do not want to be considered a feminist because they are then seen as a crazy woman who hates men and believes in female superiority rather than equality. And, sometimes, either consciously or subconsciously, women seem to reject feminism because they fear it will make them unattractive to men.

Another friend of mine identified an additional problem, “It also has to do with people not wanting to admit that inequality is a problem,” she said. “Sexism is so ingrained in our culture—in the entertainment industry, the government, the workplace, and the household—that people don’t even realize it. Inequality is a huge problem globally.”

Feminist are given a bad rep for those select few who take these common-sense beliefs to a whole new level. As well as the media who shows the extreme actions taken by feminists. So, some people believe in advocating for equality but don’t want to be called a feminist. And, some people don’t want to face inequality and so they don’t want to be called a feminist. I even heard one woman say that she didn’t want to identify as feminist because she believed in equality for all which ironically is the definition, “feminists” –see Webster’s. I believe it has something to do with the “femi” part of feminism, meaning that people automatically associate it with the advancement of women at the expense of men.

Did you ever notice that we teach women how to avoid being raped instead of teaching men to respect women and respect consent? Did you know that in certain parts of the world, women are not allowed to go to school or even talk in public? Did you know that men earn more money for the same work as women? In fact “Equal Pay Day” is April 12 because that’s the day that a woman’s salary would catch up to what a man earned in the prior year. As a woman, do you ever think that men are judged by their credibility and women are judged by what they wear? Or, that you’re seen as weaker, not as smart, not as logical, too emotional?

I’m a female, but I’m also a human being. I am not a man-hating, crazy woman, nor am I a victim. I am a normal person who believes all humans are equal under the law and should have equal rights. So, what should you call me? Better question. What should we call those who don’t believe that? TC mark

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