It is time for a very serious conversation about feminism. Yes, feminism. While so many people believe it is this extreme institution where women come together and sing “Sister Suffragette” and resist the existence of the man, that is not the true essence of feminism. While I am not the next Elizabeth Cady Stanton, waving the flag of feminism higher, and revolutionizing the 21st Century ideals of the feminist institution—it must be understood that it is not a faction of idealistic women that create a gap between genders, but rather brings them together in complete liberation for all. Feminism spells out equality. Not literally, but if there is an infinite understanding of the movement, that is what it means.
The topmost common misconceptions of feminism become a true-false game. It is important to realize the differences between a true feminist, someone who claims feminism as their own but only preaches it in 140 character statements on Twitter and leaves it at that, and someone who thinks feminism is a waste of time. It is time to address it all, the right way.
False: All feminists hate men.
Truth: Feminists cannot possibly, or morally, despise their male counterparts. It simply does not make sense and to create an environment of comfortable equality, being hypocritical will not make that transition any easier. Also, when did it ever become OK to call any feminist, or anyone who believes in something, some variation of a Nazi (like a ‘feminazi’)? It is not OK to equate a school of thought with the most brutal political group and ideology in history and normalize the use of that comparison. Plus, feminism is not just for women, but we will get to that later.
False: Women are attempting to liberate their gender at the cost of men.
Truth: Why does anyone need to be granted liberation to begin with? Shouldn’t it already be there? Why has it even come down to the point where any human being must compete for liberation, when it is birthright? Equality and liberation is not for anyone to choose to give it, because it is beyond us. A true feminist knows this all too well, and thus would not inflict that upon someone else. But I guess from the moment of the establishment of common sense, women were never paired with men when we, “held these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” We have Thomas Paine to thank for that.
False: Men cannot be feminists.
Truth: Men partook in a major part of the march in a crowd of pink hats for women’s rights, equality, and understanding in the most recent Women’s March and in the history of foregone time. That should have given every bit of an indication to the opposition that men are important in feminism, and they have power in making this change achievable. Rational behavior delineates rational action, and to stand by a fellow human no matter what their biology is, is just simply the right thing to do.
False: To be a feminist, you must be neutral*.
*To be too feminine makes you vulnerable, and defeats the purpose of your cause.
Truth: Are women sexualized in what they wear and how they are portrayed in really anywhere they go? Yes. But does that mean we have to stop doing what we want with our look for fear that we aren’t going to be taken seriously? Absolutely not. It does not make them any less of a feminist because they spent a little more time on their winged eyeliner in the morning.
False: Feminism is only about women.
Truth: The biggest misconception of all is that feminism is geared towards the cause of women only. A feminist, according to Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche (and Beyoncé) is a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Notice, it said person and not man or woman. A person…regardless of your biological makeup, or your social power, can be a feminist. And if you believe in human equality, you are already a feminist, you just didn’t know it.