Feminists: You know, those crazy bra burning, aggressive, men-hating women. Yeah right…
Unfortunately, this misinformed idea is what a lot of people think feminism actually is, including even some of my own friends. My friends in college would always laugh and make fun of me when I told them all about the newest feminist book that I was reading or when I would go on a rant about how women are objectified in society. They would tell me that I needed to move on because I was just in a short, silly phase of life and that I shouldn’t get so offended over people’s stereotypes made towards women. They even repeatedly told me that I really shouldn’t affiliate with those crazy feminist people in my WGS classes because I wasn’t truly one of them.
Unfortunately, 37% of people have a negative connotation of the word “feminist.” Why do people automatically equate the word feminism with such horrible stereotypes? I absolutely despise the fact that when I tell someone that I consider myself a strong feminist, they will almost always roll their eyes at me and say, “Oh, you’re one of those people.” They act like I’m some weirdo when in fact I’m just standing up for my rights and freedom. I strongly believe that society needs to be reminded what feminism really is and the power that it holds for women and men.
If you are a stay-at-home mom, you can be a feminist. If you are man, you can be a feminist. If you are the CEO of a company, you can be a feminist. If you like to clean, knit, craft, be in the kitchen (gasp), or whatever you like to do, you can be a feminist. You want to know why? Because feminism is about doing what you want to do because you have the freedom to do so. Feminism is about freedom to choose. It seeks to end discrimination and exploitation of people due to their gender, race, and class.
Bottom line, feminism is for everyone. It is not an exclusive club that pigeon holes women into certain careers, personalities, or interests. Instead, it should and does provide freedom of choice. Contrary to the belief, feminists really don’t think that they are superior and better than men. Feminists just want equality. Simple as that.
It is time for people to move forward in their old-fashioned thinking and stop defining feminism as such a bad thing. I think that if society really thought through the actual definition of a feminist, instead of automatically believe incorrect stereotypes, most would find that they too would consider themselves feminists.
Do what makes you happy and fight for gender equality. Figure out what feminism means for you.
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