At my school, our freshman year we have an end-of-year project in English instead of finals, where we are supposed to identify a problem and make a change in my community. After giving it some thought, I came up with this: I feel like the younger generation doesn't have an accurate understanding of feminism.
Maybe they have never heard of it. Maybe they aren't clear on what "feminism" really means. Maybe they are not comfortable enough with the concept to really affiliate themselves with it. After carrying out my project, I decided to create this blog post to educate you, my readers.
I'm sure some of you are feminists (you go!). But if you're not sure of what feminism actually is, here's a simple definition:
Feminism: The belief that men are equal to women, and should have the same rights, opportunities, and treatment.
Not so complicated, huh? That's the basic principal. Women, quite simply, deserve to be treated as equals to men. Below, I've pasted the information I wrote to put in a brochure for my project.
What is Feminism?
Feminism, quite simply, is the idea that there should be equality between the genders. It addresses issues like the wage gap between men and women, the over-sexualization and objectification of women, unrealistic and unfair standards of beauty and femininity, reproductive freedom, sexual assault and harassment, representation of women in the media and politics, and much more.
Am I A Feminist?
Do you believe that men and women are equals, and should be treated as such? If so, you, my friend, are a feminist! It doesn’t matter your gender, as the name “feminist” might seem to suggest, as long as you understand and agree with feminism’s core beliefs. There’s no shame in calling yourself a feminist--be proud of it! You are helping this society grow and evolve in a positive direction!
Why Do We Need Feminism?
We need feminism because women in the US get paid 78% of what men do. Because women make up only 19.4% of the US Congress. Because the US has never had a woman president. Because only 3% of rapists go to jail. Because women’s bodies are constantly objectified, scrutinized, and over-sexualized. Because women are afraid to admit when they have been sexually assaulted. Because women are shamed for having sex, while men are congratulated. Because women are still commonly expected to take their husband’s last name. Because it is still unsafe for a woman to walk home alone at night. Because panels of only men are deciding women’s reproductive rights.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
Stereotypes About Feminism
There are many stereotypes around the word “feminism.” Feminists do not hate men. They do not think women are better than men--they believe the two are equal. Female feminists are not “less feminine.” There is no standard feminist--feminists can be anyone, with any appearance or background or the like.
There you have it. Those are the basics of feminism. Just because women can vote doesn't mean we've achieved equality. We still have a long way to go--but you can be part of the solution! Be a supporter, an activist; speak out against misogyny* and sexism. Speak up when you hear feminism being misrepresented or misunderstood. Educate your peers. It takes everyone to change the world.
While you're at it, take my survey and tell me why feminism is important to you. Your answers will be recorded anonymously, and maybe I'll make a follow up post.
Go gender equality!
*misogyny: dislike of or prejudice against women