Imagine this: you’re a white woman living in a nice house or apartment. You have a great job and get paid a significant amount. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend of your choosing and have never experienced sexism. Your life is amazing.
One day, you stumble upon a blog post mentioning sexist events that have happened some place else. And you wonder, “Why are all these feminists upset? Why are women ranting about inequality between the sexes?”
You read about the horrid things happening and learn about the phrases ‘rape culture’ and ‘slut shaming’ where the women who have been raped or assaulted are being blamed for the actions of their rapists. You read about how women are being judged for what they wear and what they do, and you think for a minute before beginning to type your response to the article. “I don’t need feminism because I am doing fine without ‘women’s empowerment’. There is no such thing as sexism anymore. It’s 2014, be realistic.”
These are just some of the responses that have been posted on the ‘Women Against Feminism’ tumblr page. The messages seem to express the person’s feelings about the topic entirely, however, some posts are interpreting feminism all wrong.
Feminism is, to put it bluntly, the radical belief that women are people and should be given the same opportunities men are given. It is gender equality. Nonetheless, some seem to take it the wrong way.
So many people seem to feel threatened by feminism because the word sounds similar to ‘feminine’ which means women or having qualities and appearances associated with the female gender. Despite this, feminism doesn’t just advocate women’s rights. It also brings awareness to the events taking place around us, and that includes sexism.
It took less than ten minutes of scrolling through the ‘Women Against Feminism’ tumblr page to determine that some women are getting the wrong idea. The most popular belief the women posting on the site seem to have is that feminism is here to ‘belittle’ men.
That is not the case.
The whole reason women and girls should identify themselves as feminists is not because they want to be superior to the opposite gender, but because they want to be seen as people who have the opportunity to make their own choices without pressure of any kind.
Another common misconception of the term is that it ‘victimizes’ women who identify themselves as feminists. Feminism does not victimize women, sexism does. Men and women alike find it difficult to comprehend the real meaning of the term because of the propaganda and the harsh media that surrounds them.
Most of the posts on the site are “laughably incorrect” as stated in LA Times article, ‘The willfully ignorant women who post on ‘Women Against Feminism’’. However, as blunt as it sounds, it is true. Anyone with an anti-feminist perspective should reconsider their thoughts and take time to fully comprehend what feminism is before judging it.
Over time, feminism has become a sensitive topic to talk about. Not many people are open about their opinion on the topic. Some of the people that are, however, are often scared to admit it because of the negativity that others have faced. Theresa Marin, a freshman in the Health Science & Environment Small School, said, “Feminism is trying to achieve equal rights between the sexes. I’m neutral about the topic because I know that in my lifetime, [congress] won’t do anything about it, but I sort of do consider myself a feminist.”
However, Marin isn’t the only student who believes in gender equality. Health Science & Environment freshman, Omar Diaz identifies himself as a feminist as well. He said, “I believe anyone can do anything if they want to no matter gender or gender identity.” Despite the number of people who do identify themselves to be feminists, there is still a larger number of people who don’t.
According to Huffington Post’s poll ‘Few Identify As Feminists, But Most Believe In Equality Of Sexes’, statistics show that only 30 percent of the U.S. population identify themselves as feminists, but about 80 percent believe that men and women should be social, political and economic equals. So many people sometimes don’t even bother to dig deeper into a subject before jumping to conclusions.
It’s exactly the same thing here.
Feminists are not misandrists and they’re not dictating the choices of every woman on the planet. If anything, the most “relevant” feminists are the ones who believe that a woman, including transgender and every other woman that people tend to leave out, should have the right to choose the life she wants for herself.
Misunderstanding after misunderstanding is what led to the creation of this blog that almost completely misses the point of feminism. Feminism is almost like an antidote for sexism. Sexism is a social disease, so to say, and the only way to cure it is to understand what it is. The only way it seems possible to fix anything in the world is if we learn.