Monday, November 17, 2014

What Feminism Is And What It Isn't

Feminism IS: 
By definition, supporting the political, social, and economic equality of men and women. Basically, women wanting to be paid the same as men, wanting the same rights as men, and wanting to be seen as equal human beings to men. It's good for everyone and harmful to absolutely no one. 

Feminism is NOT: 
Women hating men and condemning every man on earth for being a scummy rapist or douche bag, women blaming men for all the issues with the world and attempting to take control, or women who think they can do no wrong.

     Feminists have been hated on for reasons that are not at all even related to feminism. Many men and women have completely inaccurate ideas about what it means to be a feminist and what actions are motivated by feminist beliefs because of the reputations and stereotypes created by people who have misconstrued ideas about feminism. These are those ideas set straight.

1. Feminists hate men

Feminists simply do not hate men. Look back up at the definition of feminism and you will see that there is nothing whatsoever insinuating man-hating. Any woman can hate men if they really want to, but it has no basis in the beliefs of feminism, regardless of whether they identify as a feminist or not. The only men that feminists and all women should be against are the ones that rape or beat women. This is not to say that men are the only ones who rape and abuse, because women can and do.

2. Feminist women want to be in control of men

I'm sure there are women who would like to think this to be beneficial just like there are people who believe all sorts of strange things, but it has no basis in feminism. Feminist women do not believe it would be helpful to have a place in society above men or to have control over men because that would be the exact same issue we have already, except with reversed roles. It would defeat the whole purpose of the idea of equality for the sexes.

3. Feminists burn their bras and refuse to shave 

Wearing a bra or shaving is a personal preference and is different from girl to girl, feminist or not, and that's all there is to it. Feminism supports a woman's right to decide either way.

4. Feminism only benefits women

Feminism benefits everyone and that includes men. Feminism is for all people. Many feminists want to break down traditional gender roles, meaning that men don't have to be big and strong and good at fixing cars and women don't have to be pretty and fragile and good at cooking. This means men won't be looked down on or seen as less of a man for enjoying things that are deemed "girly" or for not living up to the "manly" ideals. Also, if women are seen and respected as human beings and accepted as sexual beings without being condemned as a result of feminism, they'll be more comfortable acting on their sexual desires and impulses, which means better sex for everyone.

5. Feminists hate chivalry 

This is just false. Some women like a man to pay for the check or pick them up and some women prefer to do it themselves. If someone is more traditional in the sense that they want the man to be the first to make a move and pay for dates, that's fine. If someone thinks it's cool for a girl to make the first move or split the check, that's fine too. Feminists aren't against the romance in dating, it's just that some women don't care for it and some women do. Every individual is different in what they expect and want from dating and relationships. Feminists simply want equality in relationships so that a man doesn't rule over a woman in a relationship or the other way around.

6. No feminist would ever be a stay at home mom

Feminists have nothing against being stay at home mothers, they just don't think that it should be expected of them or that they belong in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Feminists believe they have just as much right to work in the corporate world as men do and that they can be just as successful. We also believe that women have the right to choose whether they want to go the career route or be a stay at home mom and either choice is just as valid and worthy of respect as the other.

7. Men can't/shouldn't be feminists

Any man is more than capable of believing that women should be equal to them. A man being a feminist does not mean that they think women are always right and that men should be condemned or seen as horrible people. It just simply means they believe in equality, which like I said, is good for men anyway.

8. Feminist women hate being touched sexually/condemn sex in general 

When feminists argue that they don't want to be seen as sexual objects or that they don't want to be catcalled or raped, they're simply saying that they don't want sexual advances from people they're not interested in, which nobody does anyway. Women should be able to embrace their sexuality and act on it as they please without being shamed for it or having to fend off men who don't understand the meaning of no. Women are sexual beings just as men are, but want to be acknowledged as human beings first. Feminists are not claiming that men should ask for consent before everything they say or do, but simply that it should be 100% clear that both people involved want to actually have sex before it happens.

9. Feminists want to blame men for every issue they face in life 

There are plenty of people in the world who don't want to take responsibility for their actions, but this is not exclusive to feminists and is not a feminist belief. Feminists do not blame men for their everyday problems, neither do they blame them all for their inequality. Not all men are misogynists and most feminists understand this.

     Of course there are people who are exceptions to any of these, but those people are not the ones who embody the ideals of feminism. There are people who differ from the ideals of any and every belief system, but those people do not make that system invalid. It just means that there are people who don't fully understand what feminism stands for or what it is trying to achieve, just like there are many people who claim to be Christian, yet are not loving or accepting of other people. It should be the beliefs and ideas that feminists stand for that define us as feminists, not the stereotypes created by people who don't care to try to understand those beliefs.

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