“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions, for safety in the streets, for child care, for social welfare, for rape crisis centres, women’s refuges, reforms in the law. If someone says, ‘Oh, I’m not a feminist’, I ask, ‘Why? What’s your problem?” – Dale Spender
Feminism has gotten a bad reputation in the same way that many other things get a bad reputation – it’s misunderstood, it’s threatening to the status quo, and there have been some extremists claiming things in the name of feminism that don’t necessarily represent the movement appropriately.
Very simply, feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”
Read that a few times and let it sink in and tell me why you wouldn’t support feminism? Why wouldn’t you want women to have equal rights and opportunities?
Feminists don’t hate men. Feminists actually think men are more capable than society makes them out to be: men can run a home, men can take care of children, men refrain from sexually and/or physically assaulting women no matter what they are wearing, men can be faithful, men can be sensitive, men can be kind, men can be supportive. Feminism doesn’t just free women from unhealthy gender expectations- it frees men and boys from the boxes they are put in as well.
Feminists don’t think being a stay at home mom is a bad thing. Feminists don’t think raising your family, making a home, wearing makeup, being gentle, wearing dresses, being scared of bugs, or getting your nails done is a bad thing. It doesn’t make you any less of a feminist if you like baking cookies or serving your husband at dinner, if that’s what you do because that’s what you like to do or want to do.
Feminism isn’t about telling you what you can and can’t do with your life.
Feminists don’t want special treatment, they want equal treatment, for men and women.
Feminism is about much more than reproductive rights and feminists fall along a spectrum in regards to this and the issues it entails.
What’s the enemy of the feminist? The patriarchy, the “good ol’ boy network”, the stereotypes, the lies, the misinformation.
Feminists are all different ethnicities, genders, religions, and nationalities and those identifying aspects affect all feminists differently. Feminists still struggle with but strive for intersectionality within the movement – the work of including everyone, not just straight white women.
Feminists don’t ignore the biological differences between men and women (or between men and men and women and women). Feminists acknowledge that our bodies do different things and that our biology does affect our experiences. What feminists are fighting for is for the time when women’s bodies and bodily functions are not treated as weaknesses, liabilities, or reasons for discrimination. The functions of a woman’s body are not shameful, and women shouldn’t feel shame for the way their bodies function.
Feminists believe the default role for a woman shouldn’t be limited to “sexy temptress”, “modest homemaker”, or “secretary”. The default role for a women should just be “human”, as it should be for men.
Feminists want to see the day when doing something “like a girl” is no longer a joke or an insult because being a girl is no longer seen as weak or silly.
Feminists want to see the day when influential women are not merely asked about their clothes and workout routines in interviews, but are asked the same deep and meaningful questions that men are often asked. We believe there’s nothing wrong with being interested in clothes and workout routines, but there’s a time and place for that focus and in the midst of an interview where you ask male counterparts more meaningful questions, we want to see women have the chance to answer those questions and have a voice in the conversation too.
Feminists believe that a woman should make as much as a man does. There should be no wage gap. Our work, our time, and our resources are not worth less than a man’s.
Feminists believe that women should not be held responsible for the acts that men commit against them – rape or assault. Feminists know that women can rape and assault men too and believe that those women must take responsibility for those actions. We don’t think they get a free pass.
Feminists want to see a time when a woman being assertive or opinionated is not dismissed as bossy or “b*tchy” because men who are assertive and opinionated are not called those names and are not dismissed.
Feminists want women to stop being deemed “hysterical” or assumed to be “pms-ing” when they are upset because men’s anger isn’t dismissed so easily, and is often viewed as justified and reasonable. To dismiss a woman’s passion with such insulting assumptions is another way to silence her voice in the conversation. Do women get unreasonably upset sometimes? Sure. So do men. Let’s not pretend otherwise and instead do the work of assessing everyone’s thoughts and opinions equally, not just writing people off because it’s easier.
Feminists believe that men should get and use family leave as much as women – whether it is to be home with a newborn or to care for a sick family member. Men are important parts of a family too and what they contribute (as a person, not just financially) matters.
When you see feminists post about that time only women showed up to work in the senate, or how companies with female CEO’s performed better, or just generally remarkable women, we’re not saying anything bad about men, what we’re saying is: women deserve a spot at the table of power too. What we are doing is encouraging women and girls to keep showing up and showing that women are not merely sidekicks or sex objects: women are smart, strong, and talented too – not just “for girls”, but for real.
“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” – G. D. Anderson
We believe a society in which men and women share the power as equals is a world in which everyone will be better off.
My father was the first man who spoke into my life, and thankfully, he is a feminist. Being a father to two girls, he’s said what else would he be but someone who wants equal rights and opportunities for his children?
If this isn’t what you thought feminism was about, then let that old idea go. This is what feminism is about: equality and opportunity. With that new knowledge, why wouldn’t you be a feminist?