"The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes" - Merriam-Webster
"The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes" - Oxfordictionaries.com
"The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men" - Dictionary.com
"Feminist: the person who believes in the social political and economic equality of the sexes" - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Reread those definitions. Now tell me where in these definitions does it say that women want to take over, that women want to put down men and want to demean and discredit men on their beliefs, opinions and experiences on the basis that they are men? Oh, you can't? Well, that's because that is NOT feminism.
Recently, an article was published in which the writer claimed she is "so over feminists" because she hates the way "feminism" treats men. I, being the kind of person I am, left a comment explaining where she went wrong. In my comment, I used the term "real feminism."
A man commented on it telling me that I do not get to decide what "real feminism" is and that he has had horrible experiences with "feminists" who tell him that he is worthless or that he can't say anything because he's a man.
I went on to explain that there is a "real" feminism, and it is one that advocates equality. He had a bunch of questions about why feminists do or don't believe certain things, and we had a conversation in which I explained everything I knew, and admitted to the points that I actually did not know about. He ended the conversation by thanking me for being understanding of his lack of knowledge and of educating him in a respectful way. And even though he said he still considers himself an egalitarian instead of a feminist, he said, "I hope that voices like your's get louder for feminism so there can be less stigma."
This conversation didn't stand out to me because it took a person who misunderstood feminism and explained it to him and had quality conversation about the topic. It stood out because he thought that the women telling him he was "evil," or the women who tweeted "all men must die" were feminists.
People like that are not feminists, and their use of the title is bad for the movement.
I don't think that men are better than women, but I also don't think that women are better than men. We're different in some ways and equal in others, but all people deserve equal respect. That is the feminism I believe in, and that is the only "real feminism." Feminism incorporates men's issues, such as paternal leave or custody, and it tries to tackle toxic masculinity, which is dangerous for both men and women. Feminism incorporates issues for transwomen and transmen and the LGBTQIA community and is and should be completely intersectional. It needs to address class issues and race issues and sexual identity issues and every other issue because they all stand in the way of full equality.
Reread those definitions again, and remember them the next time people claiming to be "feminists" put down men. Those people are not feminists. Feminism is not "the f-word." It's good. It's important. It's all-inclusive. It's equality.