What is Feminism?

What is Feminism? from Carlos Cadorniga on Vimeo.

Feminism, as it is legitimately defined, is a movement towards equality for every person regardless of what gender they align with; men, women and everyone in between would be on—at the very least—similar standing were feminism to prevail on a relatively large social scale.

Feminism, as it is often interpreted, is an intensely radical movement that encourages people—namely women—to hate men unconditionally, put all women on a pedestal and reject all aspects of traditional femininity. A common argument against feminism are people accusing feminists of giving female criminals a pass on their crimes—however heinous—simply because they are women. An example of female feminists rejecting femininity would be burning one’s set of bras as an attack on what they consider to be “female normality.”

If feminism were supposed to advocate gender equality, it would seem rather ridiculous that anyone would be against it so vehemently. Where did this hate come from? Where does the fault for its misinterpretation lie? Perhaps the blame should go to feminism’s more radical activists.

They say “the loudest bird is the one that’s heard.” This could easily be applied to feminism. Unfortunately, the loudest voices of feminism tend to be the ones that perpetuate its negative connotations. It’s these kind of extreme radical feminists that create blogging sites like “ihatemen.org,” a website where users post various experiences that have led them to, or provide examples of, why they hate anyone with an XY chromosome in their coding.

It’s easy to see the impact of these loud and pervasive voices unknowingly making a bad case for such a good cause.

In response to fitness supplement distributor Protein World’s controversial ads featuring a bikini-clad model posing beside the words “Are You Beach Body Ready?”, local feminists defaced the ads with permanent marker scribbles over the model alongside the words “NOT OKAY.” In response to this protest, Brendan O’Neill of UK magazine “The Spectator” decried their efforts. In an online editorial, O’Neill equated these feminist protests to Islamism, comparing these acts to Muslims in Birmingham defacing H&M bikini model ads after being “offended by [their] flesh.” Whether or not O’Neill understood the meaning of the protests, it was clear that his current interpretation of feminism is not only deeply ingrained, but very far off from its actual meaning.

What the majority of people fail to realize is that feminism represents so much more than something that’s good for only women. Feminism means respecting the choices that a woman makes; whether she’s desperate for a man or never wants to have kids, no one would have a problem either way. Feminism means a man not having to be judged for liking “Project Runway” more than he likes playing football; his interests would be his own and just because he likes something doesn’t mean he’s one thing or another. Feminism means not having to be defined by your body image; with disregard for current standards of beauty, no one would have to feel bad for not falling in line with such “qualifications.” Just because “fem” is in the word doesn’t mean that only females can benefit from feminism. As a movement for equality, feminism is something for everyone. It’s certainly controversial, but it is not something to be feared. If more people knew what feminism were fighting for, I’m sure they’d be more open to embrace it.

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