Feminism. A word meant for equality, change, and progress.
However, it is a word frequently associated with hatred, anger, and senselessness.
I once had a friend tell me that when she thinks of a feminist she “pictures a woman who freely bleeds, refuses to shave her armpits, and hates men.”
This word, this movement, is positive- but until society can free their minds of the negative connotations of the word, progress in terms of equality between men and women will continue to be harder to achieve.
According to the New World Encyclopedia, the English word feminism derives from the French word feminsime. The word started getting used in English in the 1890's and began slowly increasing in in popularity in the 1980's.
The commonly used word today is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”
Being a feminist is something to be proud of, not ashamed. Being a feminist means you believe women and men should be held to equal standards and have equal chances to progress and succeed. Being a feminist is something you should boast about.
However, with the overly negative view of the word, there are still people who genuinely are feminists, but won’t call themselves one.
This situation is quite sad to see because these people do believe in the term. This means they believe women should be equal to men in every aspect.
Yet, they still refuse to accept that they are a feminist in this way. The term truly is a positive term, fighting for equality between two genders, but people just picture angry women hating men for no reason other than being of the male gender.
For a long time, I was ashamed to proclaim myself a feminist. I thought that people would think I was just a “man-hater”.
Of course, I wanted women and men to have equal rights and the gender pay gap is something I have always been willing to go to war with anyone on.
Yet, I too had negative connotations of the word in my mind and refused to call myself a feminist.
I had dealt with so many people that convinced me I should be ashamed to proclaim myself a feminist. I had been told that being a feminist was crazy and that they were all just a load of lonely women who hate men.
I had heard the term "feminazi" and was told I was one whenever I stood up for equality between the sexes. When I took the time to educate myself on the term and the movement as a whole I finally realized I, too, am a feminist.
I am sure there are many, male and female, who have been in my situation but have simply not taken enough time to educate themselves on the movement, and therefore, will not proclaim themselves a feminist.
Something many people fail to realize is that feminism is not just for females. But, because of the negative connotations of the word, many men refuse to call themselves a feminist.
Why should they be linked to this word that is associated with crazy, man-hating women? Though the root of the word is quite literally female, this word and the meaning behind it does not just benefit the ladies of the world.
Men are taught from a young age they need to be tough, strong, and generally emotionless. They are taught that they need to be the head of the household and the sole bread maker.
This puts a great deal of pressure on men considering everyone has emotions and, unfortunately, not everyone can be tough and strong all the time.
Men are taught that crying (a completely natural reaction to sadness, anger, or panic) is wrong for a “tough man” to do. They are taught that if you cry you’ll be considered “gay” or “overly sensitive”.
It should be perfectly okay for a straight man to cry without having his sexuality questioned, and it should be perfectly okay for a gay man to cry without it being considered typical.
Men need feminism too, and once everyone can accept that feminism is not a dirty word, the term can start benefiting both males and females.
To all the people who believe everyone should be treated equally, no matter their gender or sex, yet refuse to call themselves a feminist: I hate to break it to you, but you’re a feminist.
Feminism is defined as the idea that men and women should have an equal playing field.
If you are going around saying that you believe this, yet you are not a feminist, you need to take a long look in the mirror and grab a dictionary because you are, most definitely, a feminist.
And no, that does not mean you are a single, middle-aged female that has been scorned by one too many men. It means you believe men and women are equal and deserve equal opportunities.
The word is positive and the fight behind it will brighten the future.
Associate the word with positivity. Associate the word with a little girl knowing she can grow up to be anything she wants to be. Associate the word with a female president. Associate the word with a boy being able to cry and feel emotions without being poked fun of. Associate the word with happiness and growth.
There should be no negativity associated with a word created to help the future become a better, equal place for all.