For the conservatives, liberals, independents, libertarians, women, men, elderly, and children—this one’s for you.
Before you stop reading, let me inform you on the exact meaning of feminism. According to Merriam-Webster, feminism is defined as, “the theory of political, economic, and social equality of sexes.”
Let’s not be distracted by the negative connotation or stereotypical, radical feminist and focus on what this term truly means. On a side note, I would like to express that I am not trying to convince you to become a feminist, because frankly, I don’t really care. It is completely valid for people to not identify as feminists. For the majority of my life, I resisted the idea too.
Feminism may seem like a loaded term to some people. It is a popular belief that feminists hate men, disregard clothing norms, shun stay at home moms, strive for female supremacy, and claim that everyone and everything is sexist. However, none of that is true—usually. Like every social group, there are radicals. But feminism is not centered around vicious, power-hungry, testosterone-killing women. As directly stated by the definition, feminism is focused on equality.
Feminism is respecting everything a stay at home mom does for her family. It’s supporting the little girl who wants to play football, repair cars or become a police officer or engineer. It’s listening to the abused woman who wants her voice heard. It’s appreciating the women who have the courage run for public office. It’s fighting for a chance at equal opportunities and unprejudiced pay in the workforce. It’s defying the gender stereotypes that have encapsulated our culture for too long—because it's time we learn that women are more than the submissive, powerless damsels in distress.
It can be difficult to imagine a world where women were not provided the chance to vote or the opportunity to own a credit card. The women of the suffrage movement won the rest of us the right to vote in 1919. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act barred discrimination based on sex. In 1969, women were given the right to divorce their spouse without proving fault. In 1974, women received the right to own a credit card. In 1978, it was declared that women cannot be fired for getting pregnant. Without these women fighting for justice, us women in the present wouldn’t be where we are. Today, women fight for equal pay. They protest sexual violence. And they're not only fighting for themselves; they fight for the women of the future.
My intention here is not to encourage you to “free the nipple” or protest for female supremacy (but, like, if you’re into that, I'm not stopping you). My goal isn’t even for you to agree with my views here. However, I do want you to recognize why feminism shouldn’t pertain a negative stigma. I want you to understand why women are protesting, marching, and speaking out. My goal is to help you understand the true meaning behind feminism.