Quashing our false definition

I am a feminist. I believe in equality between men and women in every aspect. I don’t have a problem with the word feminism, or the meaning behind it. I do have a problem with the way society has changed the meaning of the word and the fact that it is now associated with man-hating and overly aggressive women.

For the longest time, I didn’t consider myself a feminist. I’m not sure why I didn’t, because when I look back it is clear to me that I was, and still am, based on everything I believe in. Now I understand that I thought this because I felt that when I said I was a feminist, that people automatically assumed I was overly opinionated and aggressive. The image that has been created for feminists has changed into a tarnished one, something that should not have happened.

Sixty-nine percent of 214 polled high school students believe that the word feminism and being a feminist have a negative connotation. Despite this perception, there is no difference between the definitions of the words gender equity and feminism.

The way society has changed the meaning of feminism has started to alienate people who would have originally been part of the movement. The negative connotations that are associated with being a feminist today are estranging half of the puzzle in solving gender inequality: Men.

Feminists should be made up of all kinds of women, and all kinds of men. I like to think that all decent humans believe in something as simple as equal rights for both men and women.

Man-hating isn’t what feminism is about, and it shouldn’t be what feminism is about. The definition of feminism is: The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes. This means equal status, equal responsibility, equal pay between men and women, and simple equality in every aspect of life, most of which, if not all, aren’t currently happening.

The topic of gender inequality needs to be discussed, but it needs to be discussed in an environment where women who are feminists aren’t viewed as aggressive or overly opinionated. This topic needs to be brought up where both men and women are taking part in equal roles, otherwise no change will happen the way it needs to. Women need to allow men into the conversation and contribute; it is a two-way street.

Men need to understand what feminism actually is, and women need to be more welcoming and accepting of their ideas, rather than disregarding them as wrong.

I want men to not be afraid of joining the movement, and to realize that the pre-conceived negative notions that they have isn’t what being a feminist and believing in feminism is about. And I want women to realize that men need to be included in making progress in gender equality, and to allow them into the conversation.

Gender inequality is an important problem of discussion for our generation, something that we all need to be involved in fixing through discussion and action. Whether we use the word gender equity or feminism, the beliefs are the same and the goals are the same, and we must not allow society to hinder this movement.

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