We live in a world full of choices. We choose the people who we want to be with and we choose what we stand for. We believe in the things that empower us. So why does society make judgments for what we believe in, whether it’s a person or a cause? It’s because people often don’t know what it’s really like. They don’t know what it’s really like to be a woman in the workforce, let alone that the word “feminism” actually stands for equality, not female superiority.
Our world today has an interesting way of twisting things. With magazines, the press, and social media platforms, the truth can easily become something completely false. There are so many different versions of the truth, and with a movement like feminism, people struggle with whether to support it or bash it.
When most people hear the word feminism, they automatically think females only. The prefix fem- would make one think that way but that’s not the case. In fact, the definition of feminism is “the belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities.” Notice the words “women,” “men,” and “equal.” Another misconception is that this idea of fighting for female rights threatens men. There is also a preconceived notion that feminists loathe males. In reality, we just need men, women, and everyone to understand that female activism is not the enemy. Gender stereotypes are.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a female activist speaker, says:
“The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.”
From the time we are young, girls are taught to be one way and boys another. Not so long ago, mothers would tell their daughters, “stand up straight but keep your head down,” or, “you can be ambitious, but not too ambitious- otherwise you’ll scare boys off.” But boys were most likely never told that; they were never told to stay quiet. So growing up in a more male dominant world became common, and not many people questioned it. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that the fight for women’s rights, equal rights, began. Nowadays you see plenty of people, both male and female, at marches.
So, feminism when we distinguish it is a good thing. Women aren’t asking to be above men, but instead, to be right next to them. Supporting a friend, mother, or grandmother, does not mean males are out of the equation. This cause includes everyone to make the world a fairer place. We can all break down gender conformities and choosing feminism is a way to get started.
Graphics: Erin Kim