Considering I’ve been writing on the topic of feminism so much recently, I figure I should probably talk more about what feminism actually is! So I’ve compiled several posts into a “Feminism 101” category, as a general overview of what feminism is. Here’s what you can expect:
Now let’s get started!
Feminism is about equality between the genders.
It is not about female supremacy. If it was, feminists would be no better than your average misogynistic male — except that they don’t have the support of our entire society, since of course society does (right now) favour men over women.
Here’s a dictionary definition from Merriam-Webster, just to keep it simple:
- the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
- organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
While it says “women’s rights,” it also says “equality of the sexes.”
That means that feminism acknowledges that women have had the shorter end of the stick for a while now, but the general goal is actually just equality.
This means that feminism isn’t “MEN SUCK! WOMEN ROCK!” like a lot of people think.
Feminists are not a bunch of angry women with no reason. If they’re angry, they do have a reason: society is stacked against women after all.
It’s easy for feminists to become defensive — I mean, look how long it took to get where we are now! Women have been fighting for ages against people who tried to shut them down. Of course they’re angry!
Some feminists might place their anger on men, but man-hating is not what feminism is about. It’s about changing how society treats both and women, so that we have equal treatment. Because it’s true — feminism actually ends up helping men while it strives to get women on the same playing field.
Not sure if you’re a feminist? Let me help you.
- If you think men and women should be equal in any way, or that all genders should be equal, you are a feminist.
- If you think everyone should be able to vote, regardless of gender, you are a feminist.
- If you think everyone should be paid based on their ability to do the job, and not their gender, you are a feminist.
- If you think male survivors of rape should be treated just as seriously as female survivors, you are a feminist.
- If you think that gender roles are constricting, for any gender, you are feminist.
- If you think men and women are equally capable, you are a feminist.
So, basically, if you believe in equality regardless of gender, you’re feminist.
Want a little more info about what feminism is? Download my mini-ebook below:
“But why is called feminism, then, with fem at the root? That’s not about equality, it’s about women’s rights.”
It’s because feminism did start from women’s rights. It started back in the day when women fought for a right to vote, for the right to own land, and for the right to work. Society has been discriminating women for decades (centuries?). Feminism’s roots are in women fighting for equality. That’s why it’s called feminism.
But nowadays, there is a focus on more than just women’s rights.
It’s not that it’s no longer about women’s rights, as there are lots of ways that women are unfortunately still treated unfairly, but the general emphasis is now equality for all, no matter a person’s gender identity, sexuality, race, ethnicity, or background. There has been a lot of awareness raised about men’s societal disadvantages as well — for example, the pressure to be masculine is similar to the pressure on women to be feminine. Men can be objectified like women can. The difference is that men are not systematically discriminated against within our society, in fact oftentimes men are insulted by calling them feminine (“You throw like a girl!” “Don’t be a pussy!”) but even so, feminism strives for equality in general, for all genders — not just men and women.
(But if it was just about women, would that really be so bad? Considering how hard women have had to work just to get to where we are now…)
If your experience with feminism is angry women yelling at you about how unfair their life is, you haven’t quite experienced what feminism is about.
That isn’t to say that all feminists don’t get angry, or that they don’t think that women experience unfairness. Just that it’s not about beating down on men. It’s about equality.
So, yes, I may write a lot about how feminism affects my life, and me personally, which means I’m talking a lot about women and feminism. But I’m not going against men. When I’m angry at men, I’m angry at the men who are doing whatever it is that’s frustrating me — for example, the man who catcalled me, and the men who would not take no for an answer last weekend and Thanksgiving weekend.
No, I’m not angry at all men.
I’m angry at the systematic way that society supports the sexualization of women, and the “she was asking for it” view of rape survivors. I’m angry that society is fine with making fun of stay-at-home-dads, or little boys who want to play with dolls. I can’t stand that I can expect to be paid less than my male counterparts, despite my equal qualifications. It frustrates me that dads who might be the better choice for custody lose their child because of a bias in the system towards women. I hate that the words of choice in this discussion are “man” and “woman” and that there is no gender-neutral pronoun in our language.
Join the movement for equality! Download my mini ebook to learn more.
Yes, there is discrimination against all genders.
Feminism strives to get rid of that discrimination.
Indeed, women have different difficulties than men, and since it has been ingrained in our society’s culture for so long that women are inferior to men, they are definitely discriminated in ways that place men in a higher position of privilege than women — even with the struggles that they experience. There are holes in the system that provide these difficulties, but the system as a whole is against women and any other gender that isn’t “male.”
This is why I’m a feminist.