Feminism, What Does It Really Mean?

Kayla Timmerman, Editor

The advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. This is what you get when you Google the definition of feminism. Such a simple idea, yet so controversial, and so many people not understanding what it truly means. I would like to call myself a feminist. After saying that, many people would get the wrong idea of me and what I stand for. Why is that? Why do so many people get the wrong idea of a feminist?

There are many misconceptions of feminism, as well as many questions people have about it, as not many people truly know what it is all about. What is feminism? Who can be a feminist? Is being a feminist a bad thing? Do feminists hate men? What does it mean to be a wrong feminist? Most importantly, how do you be the best version of a feminist?

When doing some interviews with people and asking what they thought about feminism, I got some different answers. Some responses like, “It’s equal rights for women,” how it is “a scary topic to talk about with opinionated people,” and how “feminists always seem like they have something to say.” After getting other people’s views, I decided that I wanted to clear up many things about feminism as a whole.

Let’s start on an easy question: who can be a feminist? It’s simple. Anyone can. Men can be feminists too! Girls Globe says, “If you are a man who supports equality for all, doesn’t support patriarchal views on sexual abuse, doesn’t treat women as objects, doesn’t stereotype women as emotional and unfit to be in charge, then YOU ARE A FEMINIST.” Being a feminist is not limited to just women because it is about women’s rights, and anyone can be one because it’s about equality.

Next, is being a feminist a bad thing? This is quite a sensitive topic to many, because many men who hear the word “feminist” think of angry, aggressive women who hate men and only care about women. That is not what feminism is about. Being a feminist is NOT a bad thing in the slightest, and what we feminists stand for is equality among everyone, something many people have fought for, for decades now. So if you hear the word feminist and suddenly get a negative idea, you have the complete wrong idea of what feminism really is.

Do feminists hate men? Honestly, I can understand why some people may think this. Some “feminists” think this idea of women’s equality is about trashing and hating on men. These “feminists” will go and hate on any man for things like his simple opinion on a topic that involves women, which is defeating the purpose of what feminism is about. That is the exact opposite of what we, as feminists, want. A true feminist does not hate men, but simply wants men to treat women as equal to them. Why would a true feminist hate someone who they see themselves equal to? They wouldn’t.

Girls Globe has also said, “Feminism is NOT a movement aimed at destroying men, but at destroying the patriarchal ideas that are cemented in society. Feminism is NOT aimed at making men lesser than women, but at improving the status of being a woman so that it’s equal to that of being a man. Feminism is NOT about treating men as trash, but rather pointing out the ‘trash’ things that some men do that increase the degradation of women. Feminism is NOT about reversing the status quo and oppressing men, but about challenging the status quo to stop oppressing women.”

Over the course of working on this article, I was able to learn and understand many of the misconceptions of feminism, as well as know what it takes to be a true feminist. Feminism is not about women being superior to men, but about women being equal to men and having the same opportunities and respect men are given. The movement of feminism is aimed at eliminating the ideas of women that have been stuck in our society for decades now. It may take a while, but with our power and motivation, we feminists can make a difference.