When you think of a feminist, who or what do you think of? If you're picturing an unshaven, angry, man-hating woman, you may have fallen prey to some myths about feminism. The phrase, "I'm a feminist" has become a loaded argument-starting sentence. However, the dictionary definition of feminism is simply "believing in the economic, social, and political equality of the genders." So if your first thought is to run for the hills when encountering a feminist, I suggest you read ahead as some common myths of feminism are debunked.
1. Myth: You have to be a woman to be a feminist.
Fact: Believe it or not, many men also believe that all genders should be treated equally. Oftentimes, people get stuck on the prefix of "feminism" and believe it means that feminists want women to be placed above men. But great news! That isn't true at all. The word derives from the fact that historically, it is feminine traits that are looked down upon. Still don't believe men can be feminists? Just ask Daniel Radcliffe, Aziz Ansari, Louis C.K., or President Barack Obama about feminism. Their answers may surprise you.
2. Myth: Feminists hate men.
Fact: Feminists do not hate men, they just believe both genders should have equal opportunities. In fact, there is a word for people who hate men: It's misandry. If someone truly hates men, then they are not a feminist.
3. Myth: Feminists look down upon stay-at-home moms or homemakers.
Fact: Feminists believe women should have a choice in their lifestyle, family, and career. Stay at home mom? Great! Top ranking CEO? Wonderful! Having a career and a family? Sweet! One of the major goals of feminism is making sure that women around the world get to choose how they live their lives, instead of women feeling as though they must follow one predetermined path.
4. Myth: Feminists don't shave their legs, underarms, or anywhere else
Fact: Feminists make their own choices based on their own personal preferences. Crazy, it's kind of like all us feminists want is a choice! Some women shave, some women don't, and nobody has a right to say anything negative about anyone else's choice. Capisce?
5. Myth: Feminists can't take a joke
Fact: Many feminists, myself included, love jokes. Give me a good one-liner any day (I'm a sucker for puns). However, usually jokes stop being funny when it's at the expense of someone and/or about something uncontrollable. So, while feminists might not enjoy hearing, "Get back to the kitchen!!" a million times, it doesn't mean we lack a sense of humor. It just means you should find some new material.
These are just five of many myths about feminism that float around. If you believe in the political, social, and economic equality of all genders, then I hate to break it to you, but you're a feminist. Anything else, and you've fallen prey to one of the myths.