We should all be familiar with what feminism means at this point. If you are unfamiliar, feminism is "the doctrine advocating social, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men and vice-versa". This is the only definition. Feminism does not mean they are "angry" or "unattractive" women who haven't shaved or showered in three weeks. Feminism does not mean compliments men give are "insulting". Feminism does not mean women hate men. A feminists' goal is to achieve gender equality for all, nationally and globally.
It's pretty simple, right? So why are so many people confused on what feminism is? That's because no one seems to understand the difference between feminism and radical feminists.
There are always going to be extremists in any movement or religion, everyone knows this. This goes farther than feminism. People will believe any Muslim is a terrorist, they will be frightened by a Christian and intimidated by a person for the color of their skin. Why is it that we focus the attention on the extremists and generalize the entire movement by them instead of listening to the actual message? Easy answer; fear is an amazing tactic to use on society when you want complete control (cough cough, I'm looking at you Mr. Trump). People will listen to anything that reassures them when it comes to fear, even if it's hateful.
Why would people look at feminism as a threat? Radical feminists are based off feminist beliefs but take an abrasive approach when protesting for what they believe in, which can scare anyone. People don't like change, that's why it takes so long to change anything. So, when someone comes out screaming why all men should be in jail for catcalling and why every woman needs to fight back by never shaving again, it can be a little much to handle. People get scared of the idea, and generalize the entire feminist movement by these people and refuse to support it.
It's important to remember feminism is not a dirty word. Feminism simply means gender equality for all, not just women. They do not feel this way because we are "unattractive" and "lack male attention", feminists feel this way because they are still not treated as equals and it's 2016. Many videos available online that bash feminism all have one thing in common: they all believe the feminists support what they do because they don't have enough sex (or never have). One YouTuber said in response to Dear Feminists (highly recommend watching the video before reading on), "It really shows you that feminists don't care about, ya know, moving to a paradigm where they don't need men anymore. Feminists are just angry that they are not getting impaled by a large erect penis. I mean, I've been saying that forever, other people have been saying that forever, and- uh- women like cock." He then continues by saying, "Feminists make rape where no rape exists....Feminists are so obsessed with rape that they kinda like rape."
I love the beauty of diversity in opinions and how we all have different perspectives but... really? I don't necessarily blame him, there isn't much education on this subject provided to people. Many don't understand that this is an actual problem. According to a RAINN study, 97 out of 100 rapists receive no punishment. As a woman, I grew up feeling scared to walk by myself at night or to wear certain clothing out because this is an actual problem that no one seems to be paying attention to. No, feminists do not feel this way from lack of sexual activity or attention. The facts are there: sexual harassment and rapists get away with it most of the time.
Other than sexual assault, women are also looked at differently in the workplace. In 2015, full-time female workers made 79 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to The Institute of Women's Policy Research. Even though we take up almost half the workplace and are the gender with the most college and graduate degrees, we still end up making less. Why is this? Gender inequality.
The statistics and facts are all readily available for people to see on the internet, but for some reason they aren't getting attention. Why? The assumption that all feminists are exactly like every extremist in the movement, because no one wants to raise awareness for the women being "over emotional," probably because they are "on their period."
Women are allowed to have the same social freedoms as men: if you don't like to shave, you don't have to. If you don't like to wear bras, you don't have to. To assume every person who identifies as a feminist does this, however, it completely generalizing the entire movement. The point is to do what you want and that you are treated as an equal, no matter the gender.
Feminists believe in gender equality in the workplace and society, nationally and globally. That is all that there is to it.