Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
In modern day and age we finally get to hear the word “feminism” in the media from time to time. That’s brilliant news. The thing we don’t really hear that much is a good, decent definition of it. There’s rarely enough coverage and we mostly get things out of context, which leads to confusion and tends to bring up old memories of rumors from the past about angry, man-hating, bra-burning lesbians with no makeup and unshaved armpits who want to rule the world. Which is definitely not what feminism is all about. However, that makes many women reluctant to use the word feminist.
Lets look at the most ridiculous misconception of all – the notion that all feminist are man hating lesbians who want to take over the world. First and foremost you should realize that you don’t need to be anti-men to be pro-women. Think about the contemporary icons of feminism: Lena Dunham, Louise Brealey, Beyonce, Caitlin Moran, Lady Gaga, Zooey Deschanel. Do any of these women look like they hate men? No. They’re all related to many men, have many male friends, are dating or are married to men and just love men in general. It’s not about men at all. It’s a whole separate issue. The only reason men come into this discussion is cause they’re the only other gender and they’ve been monopolizing all the power for thousands of years. Feminists don’t want to take anything away from men. They just want guys to share. Why can’t we be equals? We have the same education. We have jobs too. We work just as hard. Why are we treated as if we’re in some way lesser than men? Before anyone out there says that “well, it’s historically predetermined that men are the ones who work and women stay at home” let me remind you that historically slavery was absolutely alright until the 19th century, but we’ve evolved and moved on and realized that race shouldn’t be a problem and we should have equal rights. Why can’t we now do the same with gender? Women in general earn less than men. It’s 2014 and yet according to the World Bank Statistics only 1% of all wealth is owned by women. What’s up with that?
The bra-burning comment is simply ridiculous. No one ever said that to be a feminist you must hate bras with a passion. It’s a personal preference. I, for one, love bras. They’re lovely beautiful things that allow me to go down the stairs, run and jump around without the discomfort of having my boobs jiggle around all the time. That doesn’t stop me from being a strident feminist. I quite enjoy the convenience of being able to dance and rock out to my favourite jams without worrying that i’ll hit myself in the face with my tits, thank you very much.
Same goes for make up and shaving. No one banned makeup and razors for feminists. Many find comfort and pleasure in the ritual of putting on makeup and making yourself look like a princess or a pin up model or perhaps a gothic vampire lady. Whatever rocks your boat. The issue feminist have with make up is the mandatory nature in which these cosmetics are presented to us in media. The notion of putting on makeup first and looking absolutely perfect just to go to the shop to buy some jam seems a bit stupid and delusional, yet many feel like they can’t possibly leave the house until they put their “face” on. We shouldn’t have to be perfect all the time. You don’t see men worrying about their looks as much, do you? And they seem to be doing fine. You don’t see other men shouting in outrage “But James, you haven’t shaved and your eyebrows are all over the place! Oh my god, are those wrinkles on your forehead? I’m booking you for botox this weekend, we’re going together, this is no way to live.” Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? So why are we stressing out so much?
Hopefully this brief explanation answered some of the questions people have about feminism and possibly helped to bust ridiculous myths about feminist.
Feminism at its core is not an “anti” movement. It’s a pro-women movement, with a core idea of equality for all.