Feminism. Just saying that word can cause heated debates, and that’s why I wanted to take a moment to address what it really means. Let’s start with what it’s NOT:
Feminism is NOT about hating men.
Feminism is NOT the opposite of misogyny.
Being a feminist is NOT something you should be embarrassed of.
Feminists are NOT ALL bra-burning, radical women who aren’t “feminine” (which is a word I hate because what even is that anyways?)
Feminism is NOT about telling women how to be, be it regarding what they should wear or how they should act.
Feminism is NOT just for women.
So now let’s move on to what it really is. A feminist is:
“a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists
That’s pretty much it. Nope, nothing at all about hating men (shocker!). Actually, feminism fights to break gender roles, including those established for men by society. Some examples of male gender roles are that they should be “strong”, they shouldn’t show emotion, etc.
For me, feminism is basically about choice. A woman can wear a hijab or a miniskirt, if that is what makes her feel confident/strong/happy. The choice to pursue a career or to stay home and take care of her children. Now, there are other factors involved in some of these actions, like the context and acquired patterns. But it all goes back to choice. If a man feels like holding a door open for a woman, he can but he shouldn’t feel like he needs to do it simply because she’s a woman. And voting for a presidential candidate just because she’s a woman and not because of her ideas isn’t what feminism is about to me…
And let’s not forget that white feminism should not be the norm, despite the fact that it seems to be many times. The struggles that women in developing countries or women of color face are quite different and should not be brushed off, but addressed taking into account their point of view.
Yes, feminism is quite complex, but it is and has always been about equality. To read more on it (and a thousand times better than I could explain it) check out these essential feminist reads:
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
Sex Object by Jessica Valenti
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
Feminism Is for Everybody by bell hooks
Sexual Politics by Kate Millet
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
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