Recently, I viewed two articles written for the Odyssey that put down the importance of feminism. One was titled "I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Protest Sign," (https://www.theodysseyonline.com/not-feminist-not-...) and the other was titled "I'm An 18-Year-Old Female And I Will Never Be A Feminist." (https://www.theodysseyonline.com/female-but-im-not...) After reading these articles, it has become very clear to me that there is still wide spread confusion over what feminism actually is, so let me help. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of feminism is this; "The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes." That's it.
It is not women trying to overpower or condemn men, it is not forcing every woman to become a business woman and give up the thought of a family, it is not being told to burn your bras and to stop shaving your armpits (though women should certainly be able to do those things if they choose to). You do not have to identify as a woman to be a feminist, men can and should be feminists. This article is a response to anyone who is confused as to what the feminist movement is about.
The main issue that the author of "I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Protest Sign" has with feminism is that because she personally knows more women in the workforce than men, we don't need to fight the system anymore. As happy as I am for this author that she sees more women working than men, that isn't the case everywhere, and that especially isn't the case for women who aren't white and who don't identify as straight.
Further into the article, this author takes a sharp turn and says that women who work are not an inspiration and that they are insulting to her, as she feels that she is no longer allowed to want a life as a wife, a mother, or a homemaker. She concludes her article with the statement that, while traditional gender roles can be flipped, women are soft and should submit to their husbands (that's what the Bible says, after all) and that she has no interest in doing tasks that have been appointed to men. Her final sentence states that women should all support each other because "we all need some girl power."
To be honest, this article was a roller coaster, and the author contradicts herself with every new paragraph. If you feel like feminism is pressuring you to be a businesswoman, and that it is taking away the right to be a stay at home mom, that's your own misunderstanding of what feminism is. Feminism is about equality, but it is also about embracing who you are as a woman. If you want to bake cookies and be a soccer mom, great. If you want to run your own company and not take your husband's last name, great. Don't confuse restrictions that you've put on yourself with the movement that is fighting for your rights.
In "I'm An 18-Year-Old Female And I Will Never Be A Feminist," the author begins by saying that she believes in equality between the genders, but that realistically, it isn't feasible because some men are stronger than some women, and some women are smarter than some men, and so on and so forth. Obviously, people are born with different skills and talents, but that doesn't mean that they aren't equal as human beings. If someone gets a job, gets promoted, etc., it should be because of their skill set, not their gender. Some people are star athletes, while others are born with the IQ of a genius. Given a test in these fields, it is impossible for everyone to be considered equal; the human race just doesn't work that way. However, these things have nothing to do with the fair and equal treatment of the genders.
In the second half of the article, the author claims that the only reason modern-day feminism exists is because it is "cool." She says that it is "cool" to hate Donald Trump and that it is "cool" to fight for equality. Feminism isn't "jumping on the bandwagon of hating Trump." It is, and always has been, about men and women being treated as equals. That includes men and women of any orientation and race.
While it is not my intention to make this article political, it is important to say that people don't hate Donald Trump because it is "cool." They hate him because he mocks disabled people, he is sexist, and he makes broad statements without any knowledge on the subject that he is speaking on. Feminists have a large spread of reasons to hate Trump, not because it is "cool."
Feminism is not something to believe in because it is "the latest trend." Feminism is needed because so many people (male and female) need to know that they matter and that they are no less than any other human being. While both of the authors that I mentioned acknowledge that they realize that women of the past have fought for their rights, they don't seem to understand that proclaiming "I am not a feminist and never will be" is spitting on the women of the past 200 years who took a stand and fought for the rights that many women today take for granted. It is spitting on the millions of girls who will become child brides this year, the women who will be sold into slavery, and the victims of domestic violence. You are laughing at all of the people who are being discriminated against because of one thing; their gender.
It is because of feminism that myself, and the two authors that I have mentioned, were even allowed to write these articles. While the feminist movement has taken great strides over the years, we still have a long way to go. To anyone who is a feminist, and to those who are working to make the world a better place for all of the genders, I commend you. I know it isn't easy, but it is important to keep fighting.