Feminism: It Isn't What You Think

Feminism: It Isn't What You Think

Why we need to change our perspective
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feminism

noun fem·i·nism \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\

When looked up in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, two definitions of this word are found:

1. the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

2. organized activity in support of women's rights and interests

There is no third definition that says something like

3. the belief that women need to hold power over men

or

3. organized activity against the interest of men in order to uphold the interest of women

The reasons these definitions do not exist is because, contrary to popular belief, they are not feminism.

If you say you disagree with feminism, you are saying that you disagree with men and women being treated equally. Before you start thinking it, let me stop you: this is not about physicality, because I know that men naturally have more muscles than women, and if I can't lift something, I have no problem asking a guy to help me.

This is about rights, expectations, and the roles that we are expected to play in society. And it doesn't just apply to America. My very good friend Timeri has put it well:

"Feminism is...advocating for the equality of women and men. Not the superiority of women over men, which is the most common misconception. And not only fighting for the rights of women in America but all over the world. I want to be the voice of women who are facing injustices in the Middle East...who get shot in the head for saying they want to go to school...For the girls in Africa who don't have feminine hygiene products, so they're forced to miss school during their periods."

We are not here to destroy the lives of men or take away their rights. We are not here to hurt anyone. We are here to stand up for ourselves and the women who are unable to stand up for themselves.

I read an article recently that said feminists find it "disrespectful" when men pay for their meal. This. Is. Not. True. Are there probably some girls who would say that? Yes. Is that the main idea of feminism? No.

The main idea of feminism is that a man doesn't have to pay for my meal. If men and women are going to be treated equally, that means feminism should benefit men as much as it benefits women. When there is equality between the genders, suddenly, all stereotypes and gender roles are unimportant.

Men can dance ballet with no problems.

Women can become CEOs (or president) without being called bitches.

Men can love men.

Women can be stay-at-home-moms.

Men can spend Sundays watching football.

Women can choose to be single.

This is not a gender issue. This is an issue of not treating humans as people who bare the image of God. When girls are told as children that their bodies need to be covered so that boys don't look at them in lust, there is a problem. When boys are not allowed to play with dolls because they are supposed to play with blocks, there is a problem. When girls are thirteen years old and forced to marry because they have no rights, there is a problem.

Feminism is not something we should be scared of.

The intention is not to make people into something they are not. In fact, that is something that gender roles, stereotypes, and patriarchy are doing a great job of on their own. Feminism is encouraging people to be who they were created to be.

We should be doing something about the women that are trapped in the sex-trade. We should be doing something to keep husbands from feeling like they are not men if they want to stay home with the kids.

When did my gender get to decide what I am and am not good at?

Yes, men are naturally stronger than women. Yes, women are naturally more emotional than men. I also know a woman who can leg press 500 pounds. And one of my roommates is the least emotional person I know, while I have a guy friend who makes nearly every decision based off of emotion.

All of this is okay. Feminism is not trying to re-draw the boundaries of gender roles, it is trying to erase them.

Feminism is not about you. It is not about me. It is about the human race as a whole. It is about letting people be people, letting their strengths rise to the top, and empowering each other, every step we take. It is about hearing the stories of women and listening instead of justifying what happened. It is about loving people as they are, not as we want them to be.

So, instead of arguing about semantics and whether or not men should open the door for women, let's look at the bigger problem and stop putting expectations on people because of their genitals. This is 2016. It's time to move forward.


If you need more resources, check out this podcast, this poem, or this blog.

Cover Image Credit: pexels.com

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.

rahma
rahma
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These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.

rahma
rahma

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