Hi, my name is Kaleb, and I am a feminist.
"How can you be a feminist if you're a guy?" you may ask.
The fact of the matter is that you don't have to be female to be a feminist. Contrary to popular belief, feminism is not man-hating and misandry. Feminism is not the belief that women must rule the world or that women are somehow superior to men. Feminism is the crazy idea that men and women are equal and deserve equal rights, opportunity, and treatment. A feminist is so: someone who believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
I feel like most of the dislike from feminism comes from the aforementioned misconception. Feminism has helped women gain rights since the first wave in the early 1900s. Feminism is the reason why women can vote as members of society. Before 1920, women could not vote in any affairs as it was a man's business, but young feminists campaigned and lobbied for suffrage (the right to vote). The movement began at the Seneca Falls Convention in Seneca Falls, NY. The struggle ended with the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920. Voting was just the first of many hoops that the feminist movement has jumped through. First wave feminism was heavily aimed at breaking legal barriers (suffrage, property rights, etc.).
After voting was obtained the feminist movement moved into its second wave. From the 1960s until the 1990s, feminism changed from overtly legal barriers to social barriers. During this time feminists fought for reproductive rights (which were won in the Supreme Court Case Roe v. Wade), sexual freedom (wildly popularized by the counterculture of the 1960s), workplace discrimination, and sexual and domestic violence. During this time, feminists were fighting for the right to be able to lead a career and not be expected to stay at home; they fought for a tougher legal system to handle domestic violence; they fought for the eventual criminalization of marital rape. A huge win in this wave was the realization of the wage gap. Women still earn about $0.79 for every $1.00 a man earns.
Then came the third wave feminism movement of the 1990s to arguably the present. Some people say that we are in the fourth wave of feminism, but this is up for debate. For ease of explanation I will stick to three waves, but I do think we have transitioned into a fourth wave. The third wave of feminism focused on destroying boundaries and focusing on highly cultural aspects of misogyny or the hatred of women. Most of this comes in subtle hatred and discrimination towards women. Women are still afraid to walk the streets alone; women still view men as threatening; women still view themselves as less then; women still have unreal beauty standards; women still hold less prestige than men; women still are called slurs for living their sexual lives how they please. Women don't want to be dominant to men, they just want to be equal.
The overarching idea of feminism (or the idea that the sexes should be of equal status) is to dismantle the patriarchy. The patriarchy is the male dominated society in which we live. The problem with patriarchy is letting a rapist out of prison after only serving three months. Another problem is victim blaming women because they are still viewed as sexual objects; however, no matter how she presents herself she will never deserve to be raped. We need feminism to abolish rape culture. We need feminism so we can guarantee equal pay for equal work. We need feminism to finally see a woman holding the presidency. We need feminism to make like fair and equal for our daughters, sisters, nieces, aunts, mothers, grandmothers, and besties.
My question for you is: how can you not be a feminist?
To not be a feminist means to not believe in equality. It means to plead ignorant to the true meaning of feminism. Feminists are not man-hating lesbians looking for attention. Feminists are your teachers, family, friends, doctors, and president. Feminists are people who acknowledge that there are injustices that plague our society and actually plan on doing something about it. #YesAllWomen #WhyWeNeedFeminism