Feminism—It’s Not What You’re Thinking

Kaitlin Mahar

Based on comments I’ve heard on social media, television, and even in newspapers and magazines, there’s no question that feminism has a bad reputation. The term “feminist” has garnered jokes, eye rolls, and hateful comments for years, but society has it all wrong. Here are some facts about feminism, which hopefully will open people’s minds.

1) Feminism is not synonymous with hating men and everything male.

In fact, few feminists have this outlook. People associate modern feminism with the radical feminists and movements of the 1970s, bra burning and all, but that’s not what feminism is about. Women deserve to be treated as equals to men.

2) Just because you’re feminist doesn’t mean you hate all things “girly.”

It’s fine if you like wearing power suits, or jeans and flannel. If you prefer wearing skirts and high heels, you can do that too. You can shave your legs and wear makeup, or you can go au naturale. None of those things matter. Feminism is rooted in a need for social change, not trying to denounce any and all things feminine.

3) Guys can be feminists too.

Feminism is not just limited to women anymore. Guys can be feminists and, furthermore, they should be encouraged to be so. Do it for your moms, for your sisters, for your girlfriends, for your daughters. They want to be treated with dignity and respect – shouldn’t you?

4) Feminists do not think they can do EVERYTHING men can do.

Obviously, there are some exceptions, like being able to pee standing up, but there are things women can do that men can’t too—can you say childbirth? The point we’re trying make is that a woman is capable of doing plenty of day-to-day things that a man can do, from running a company to repairing a car. To put it simply, women deserve the same amount of respect, courtesy, and of course, pay as men. And, frankly, that isn’t too much to ask for.

5) Feminists believe that women deserve to be judged by more than just their looks.

It shouldn’t matter if a girl is beautiful, ugly, fat, or thin. It shouldn’t matter if she has big boobs, or a nice butt. There is more to us than being scrutinized and cat-called on the street. It isn’t okay to walk up to a girl and tell her to smile because she “doesn’t want that pretty face of hers to be ruined by wrinkles.” A woman’s body is nobody’s business but her own, and she can express herself however she deems fit. Women are strong, kind, intelligent, funny, and capable of much more than they are given credit for. Go yell across the street about that.

Feminism is about being treated with dignity and receiving the same social privileges as men. It is about being treated as equals to men, not being subservient to them. A woman can lead a country or a woman can lead a household, and whichever she wants to do is entirely her choice. What matters is that she is shown respect while doing it, and that’s what feminism is really about. So no, feminism is not all about hating guys, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to make you a sandwich. Unless I want to.