Many people have a fundamental understanding of feminism, but a vast majority of the population still has questions concerning specific details of the movement. Let this simple Q and A be your guide to anything and everything feminism.
Q: I like the general ideas of feminism, but it has a negative connotation with which I am not sure I want to associate myself. What do I do?
A: I agree. Even though feminism has been proven many times to be positive, we still can’t shake the stigma feminism has. However, disassociating oneself from the term will never make this issue go away. When a term is so stigmatized and carries a negative connotation, the only way to bring it into a more positive light is to normalize it. If you believe in equality, then you are a feminist. Do not shy away from the term, the more people that understand feminism, the more people will see it as a positive and comfortable atmosphere.
Q: Why does feminism say women can’t be feminine?
A: That is a common misconception. Actually, feminism is a movement that defends a woman’s right to do traditionally “feminine” things. If a woman wants to be a stay–at–home mom, cook dinner for men, have kids and wear pink, feminism says she has the right to do so without judgement. Feminism says a woman can be what our culture defines as feminine, if she so chooses. Feminism is all about personal freedom and living life on one’s own terms.
Q: Are feminists ugly, man–hating shrews who can’t find a boyfriend?
A: Although this stereotype is prevalent and many actually believe this, if someone claims to hate men, he or she is not a feminist. Simple as that. If you think that feminists are all ugly and hateful, I will gladly point you in the direction of Beyoncé.
Q: Why do we need feminism if men and women are already equal? I’ve never faced inequalities based on my gender.
A: I just ate, therefore world hunger is not an issue. There is absolutely no logic in these types of statements. If you’ve never faced inequalities based on your gender, then you are one of the lucky ones. In the Western World, it can be difficult to look past our own privilege. Did you know that women earn about 7 percent less than men for equal work in the United States alone? Or that in Yemen, the majority of girls are married before they turn 18? Did you know that in Peru, 61 percent of women are victims of domestic abuse? Or that in Saudi Arabia, women are not even allowed to drive? In many African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries, rape is rampant and criminals often go unpunished. Though this may not affect you, it is your responsibility to try and make a change. Feminism is one of the few movements combating these horrendous inequalities.
Q: As a guy, is feminism for me?
A: Definitely. Feminism, simply put, is equality for all human beings. Don’t be put–off by the name of the movement, equality is for everybody. To help you better understand this, imagine the “Black Lives Matter” movement. If you’re not African American, can you still participate? Obviously. Does it benefit you even if you’re not black? Of course, equality is beneficial for everyone. This is the same case with feminism. Modern feminists are discussing why gender inequality is a men’s issue as well. Our culture often limits men to acting stoic, unemotional, tough, dominating and insensitive. Not only are these stereotypes harmful for men, but they are harmful for women as well. Since men are conditioned to behave this way, women are taught to be submissive and weak. Gender inequality goes both ways and feminism is addressing that. Are you a man that advocates for gender equality? Do you believe men and women should not be held to offensive stereotypes? If so, feminism is for you.