What Even is Feminism?

Feminism gets a bad rap and so do the people who promote it. If you are not yet a feminist, hear me out on why you should be one. The dictionary definition of Feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes”. Many of the negative feelings about feminism just come from common misconceptions and ignorance on the subject. In this post I want to clear up some of those misconceptions and explain that the feminist stereotype is false. One common misconception is that only women can be feminists, but feminism is all about equality, and if you aren’t a woman, you can still be a feminist to support the rights of women.

Some people do not believe that women are still not treated as equals, but there is much evidence to prove that we aren’t. Women are angry about this inequality, and it is not an overreaction. We get paid less, we are abused, we are discredited, and we are fed up. It is also extremely important to understand that feminism is about the equality of all women, not just cis, white, or straight ones. To get this point across I decided to ask a bunch of feminists to send me a picture of themselves and a couple sentences on what feminism means to them. I recruited my blogger friend Olivia (absolutelyolivia.com) to help out, and we received tons of submissions! Eventually we want to create a website that focuses on women’s rights issues with a whole page devoted to the feminists who are participating. Hopefully, after reading this, you will understand that EVERYONE can and should be a feminist.

 

Chloe

“What feminism means to me shouldn’t be too hard to understand. It’s the belief that my mother, my sisters, and my future daughters and granddaughters deserve the same rights and opportunities as our male counterparts. Doesn’t that mean there can be a feminist in all of us?”

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Grace

“Feminism is fighting for equality. Feminism does not mean putting men down nor does it mean that to be a feminist you must hate men. I fight for feminism for myself, my mother, my sister, my friends, and for my future children. I want to live in a world where girls are not afraid to speak their mind, where they aren’t judged if they aren’t dating or have a boyfriend, where each individual is comfortable in their own skin for who they are. God created us all to be equal, in his image; no matter what gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or anything else. Women’s rights are human rights and we need to start acting on that and teaching our children that. I see hope for this world and even though it may not come for many more generations, I know one day everyone will be considered equal and everyone will be accepted for who they are. Feminism is important, it is relevant, and it is an issue we need to keep fighting for.”

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Tara

“Feminism = equality of the sexes. For me it is as easy as that. I would describe myself as a feminist and in my opinion EVERYONE should think of themselves as one. Feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes and that’s something that men and women have to achieve in working together. ”

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Brian & Martha

“I’m a feminist, but I came of age in an era when I didn’t need to call myself a feminist. It was a given that girls like me, born in the early 60s, had more rights, opportunities and expectations than our mothers had had when they were coming of age. For that we had the second wave feminist leaders to thank, mythical women (for me, a kid in the early 70s) like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, and groups like NOW, names I heard mentioned but didn’t fully appreciate until I was an adult.
Growing up in a conservative southern town, I remember hearing people bash the Equal Rights Amendment, something I could never figure out in middle school. I thought we were already supposed to have equal rights. I remember being shocked when I heard one of my teachers tell us that, when she was widowed, she had to have her father co-sign on the purchase of a house; the banks wouldn’t let her buy it herself even though she had the money. Or, later, hearing that one of my mother’s friends–an unmarried college professor in the 60s–had to get the permission of her father or brother before getting a hysterectomy, something that her doctor was telling her she had to have. When my mother graduated from college, her father made her return home to live under his roof. She had a job as a librarian, but was considered an “old maid” when she married at 25. When I graduated from college, no one batted an eye when I loaded up my Honda and moved to Washington, DC, to find a job and live independently. Times had changed — but still, the double standard governing men and women had not. It strongly affected my life as a young woman, and while it is not as pronounced as it was in the 80s, it still exists.
Today I call myself a feminist — out loud, in the Women’s March and elsewhere — because I believe in equality for all, and we still have much work to do.”

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Julianna

“I am feminist because I believe in equality and freedom for all people and because the world needs me to stand up for women’s rights. I am also a feminist because I believe in fighting for a day when the world no long needs me to be a feminist.”

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Leilani

“To me feminism is summed up in this quote: ‘feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.'”

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Sadie

“Feminism means unity. It’s loving the skin I’m in and helping others to do the same. It’s progress-it’s working against sexism and moving forward. Most importantly, though, it’s the hope that my fighting will help my daughters and daughters around the world achieve equality.”

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 Jamila

“I am a feminist simply because I am a woman, and because I believe women should be equal to men. I believe that women should be equal  – not inferior, not superior – to men in every way, and this is not the reality anywhere in our world today. I believe that women should have equal opportunities, equal safety, equal respect, equal power, and equal freedom. Furthermore, I believe that all feminism should advocate for and protect our transgender sisters, our LGBT+ sisters, our sisters of color, and our refugee and immigrant sisters, as they face harsher and more brutal inequality; as a white woman, it is my duty to acknowledge my privilege and use it to advocate for them. Moreover, feminism is important to me because our culture of misogyny and hate of feminine traits is detrimental to all people, including men. I have hope for our community, our country, and our world, and for this, I am a feminist.”

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Emma

“To me, feminism simply means equality. I think that feminism has too often become synonymous with ‘man-hating’. This has to stop. As Jane G. Lewis said ‘you don’t have to be anti-man to be pro-woman.”

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Lily

“women’s rights are human rights, it’s as simple as that”

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Charlotte

“I’m a feminist because I want all women to feel safe and respected wherever they go regardless of skin color, religion, sexuality, or clothing. I want equal pay, equal treatment in the workplace, and equal access to healthcare for women, and I think that by being a feminist, going to protests, and campaigning for more women politicians these issues could one day be resolved!”

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Sofia

“Feminism means to me that I can live in a world where I receive the same respect and have the same rights as any man.”

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A woman I met at the 2018 Women’s March in D.C.

“Feminism to me is being able to wake up and know that I can make decisions for myself and not let other people make them.”

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Greg

“My view on feminism is that we should all wholeheartedly support the rights and viewpoints of women. I believe that women should be treated equally to every other human being.”

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Meg

“As a feminist, I believe men and women are equal–but that does not mean they are the same. For women to be equal to men, we need not ask them to act like men. We must value them for who they are and what they bring to our world. There is power in femininity– being a powerful woman is just to be a woman.”

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Kaili

“Feminism is about being able to go to work, no matter who you are, and never feeling less than your co-workers. It’s about walking down the street at night and feeling safe. It’s about acknowledging and embracing the fact that we’re all human and we all deserve to be equal.”

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Christie

“Feminism is not about hating men, it is about wanting equality amongst all genders, it is about people coming together to fix a problem that has been in our society for decades. It is about sharing love, balance, support, and courage. It is about letting women be heard, be encouraged, to stand up and do things that we thought we could never do based on our gender. It is about voices being heard and equal opportunities being spread.”

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Nick

“I am a feminist because I believe that everybody should be equal no matter their gender, race, or sexuality. Women are every bit as capable as men and should be paid, respected, and elected accordingly.”

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Justine

I am a feminist because I believe in equality. I believe that we need to take a stand because if we don’t, who will?

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Alana

“Before middle school dances, I was told that I shouldn’t ask a guy to dance because that was too forward. And if he asked me, I shouldn’t say no. Around the dinner table, I watched my dad laugh at women being ‘emotional’, dismissing us. As a young girl who hated dressing up, I heard over and over again that my looks were the most important thing. These comments shaped me. They made me incredibly tomboy-ish when I was 8, 9, and 10, as a way to avoid the weakness that came with being girlie. They made me obsessed with dieting and calorie counting when I was a teenager so that my looks could fit into what society wanted.

What makes this all the more infuriating is that these remarks are so subtle. When I’d point them out, or tell someone that they bothered me, I was accused of overreacting. But they add up and diminish the self-esteem and self-respect of generations of women. I need feminism because it insists these issues can be changed.”

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These feminists explain feminism perfectly. It is not a movement for domination over the male sex, it is simply a movement for equality of all people. From the women’s marches to the Me Too movement, women are fighting tirelessly to simply receive basic human rights and equal respect and treatment. Recently President Trump said that he does not consider himself a feminist because he supports all people, not just women. The issue with his response is that he clearly does not know the meaning of feminism. Feminism stands for all people and it only focuses on women (and other discriminated against groups) because we are not yet treated like capable human beings and are not yet equal to all other people. If Trump truly cares about all people and thus all people being equal, he should be a feminist and he should be working towards gaining rights for women. So take this information and try to consider what you want the world to look like. If you want equality and happiness for people of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities, and level of abilities, then you might want to think about becoming a feminist.

 

Check back soon on the blog and my Instagram (@currentcalllan) to see when the website will be up! Thank you to all of the people who participated! Go look at Olivia’s post on her blog!!

 

 

6 thoughts on “What Even is Feminism?

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