First thing’s first, let’s discuss what it means to be a feminist:
A feminist is a person (male or female) who believes in equal rights and opportunities for men and women.
I have gathered that a lot of people who don’t support feminism have a misconception about what it entails. I have seen a lot of people take it to mean women scorned or who feel they deserve to be treated better than men. It’s honestly just the simple notion that all people should be equal and that human rights are women’s rights.
It is a belief that sexes should be treated equally in economic, political and social grounds. My first realization of the different treatment of men and women is when I was watching Beyonce’s interview a few years ago. She was talking about how men in the music industry get more respect and better salaries just by virtue of being male. Not because they sell more records, are “more talented” or have a larger fan base. That left an impression on me but not enough to want to explore the idea of feminism at the time.
The thing that truly galvanized me into exploring feminism is when I started realizing that depending on your gender you are cut a lot of slack even for things you should be accountable for. When a man sexually assaults a woman the blame almost always is shifted on the girl:
- What was she doing walking around at night?
- Why was she wearing that?
- She must have been drunk
- Why would she get in a stranger’s car?
When a man is assaulted by a woman:
- The man is weak
- He’s an embarrassment
- He’s a joke, what kind of man can’t stand up for himself?
Feminism encourages getting the respect that you deserve, regardless of your gender.
5 Misconceptions about feminism
Some women do not want to be feminists or put labels on themselves because of the false core values they think feminism upholds. Some misconceptions are:
- Feminist are only women. Since feminism advocates for equal treatment of all genders, anyone can be a feminist.
- Feminist are bitter women who hate men and want vengeance for the inequalities of the past… Firstly, the hating of men is misandry not feminism. Secondly, we just advocate for equal treatment of men and women. Not to have either one above or beneath the other.
- Feminist are too emotional and think of a gender inequality problem even when there is none. Well you cannot deny the facts that there is no country in the world that has achieved gender equality.
- Feminists have a superiority complex. We honestly don’t want to make men feel small or feel as though we are too good for them. We just want equality.
- Feminists lack feminine qualities. Feminists have to be tough because that seems to be the only way to get attention on the core issues. We also don’t want our behaviour to be dictated by societal standards. We are not conformists.
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Gender inequality and feminism
Gender roles are fluid. I cannot understand for the life of me why people are so narrow-minded about this. We have a female hip hop mogul, female truck drivers, male nurses and the world’s most renown chefs being male. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie even says that cooking is a skill everyone is supposed to know, why should the nourishment of oneself be dependent on somebody else? It is baffling to me how in today’s day and age people are still bent up about who is supposed to do the cleaning or who should ask who on a date.
Limiting people to a single behavioural set because of their sex is doing a disservice to the world. This why you find men who are afraid to seek help with mental health issues because “men are not supposed to be weak” or women sitting at home and forgoing their careers because their “life’s purpose is to take care of their husbands and kids”. I went to a technical high school and was in a mechanical technology program. As you would imagine, it involved practical work throughout the year and we worked with heavy machinery for some projects. For the most part we treated each other with respect but you would occasionally find male students who were condescending in their behaviour towards their female counterparts. And that was displayed in little things such as arguing to use a machine first assuming that the girls can’t use them properly and would take too long.
Feminism speaks on these issues because it encourages the notion that men and women should be afforded equal opportunities. It does not only speak on behalf of women but humanity. Feminism aims to encourage social change and blazing a new trail, it moves away from the notion of “what is supposed to be” and looks at what it potentially could be if cultural and societal chains were dismantled.
There is no country in the world that has overcome gender inequality and that is an unsettling reality.
Feminism liberates humanity, not just women
To learn more about feminism, watch: