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What is Feminism, and why has the word gotten such a bad reputation?

The word “feminism” simply means “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” It’s not about hating one gender over another or thinking anyone is better than another. It really is just about equality – nothing more, nothing less.

And yes, even men could be a feminist. It’s not about being a woman. It’s about the belief in equality.

Feminism is not a radical notion. Women are people too and deserve the same rights as men.  So how then did the word feminism get such a bad rep?

In the 1970s women fought for the right to work and then in the 1980s feminists fought for equal pay. If two people did the same job, and all other things are equal, shouldn’t both people make the same money?

A female shouldn’t get paid less just because she’s a female. Yet, more often than not, she does. Women on average get paid $.77 for every $1 a man earns.

But in the end, what you need to know that feminism isn’t a bad term. It’s about equality.  It’s not about hate or gender bias. It’s about the belief in equality. Nothing more, nothing less.

You can be a feminist and not hate men. Feminism isn’t about hate, it’s about equality.

The feminist movement refers to a series of political campaigns for reforms on issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, women’s suffrage, sexual harassment, and sexual violence.

A man doesn’t have to worry about being assaulted because of what he wears, but women sometimes do. That’s not okay. If all things were equal then it wouldn’t matter what a woman wore. A woman shouldn’t fear for her safety just because she wore a low cut shirt or a short mini-skirt.

Stop teaching women how to dress and start teaching men not to rape

For decades when a woman reported a sexual assault, one of the first questions asked was “What was she wearing?” It shouldn’t matter what a woman wears. We shouldn’t spend our time teaching young girls what to wear, but instead, we need to teach young boys, not to rape.

But more than just sexual violence, women face a variety of important issues. Imagine being told you can’t get a credit card because you are no longer married. For decades credit card companies discriminated against women. Although this isn’t as common anymore, it does still happen and it’s only one of the many issues that females face.

The perception of feminism needs to change. The misperception is that it’s about hating men or traditional family values. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Feminism is about equality. Not more. But equal.

A movement that is about empowering women is seen as threatening. Even worse, the media creates a negative stereotype of these powerful women. That’s a big reason why the term feminism has such a negative connotation.

If you have a group of right-wing commentators who claim feminists are braless lesbians who want to destroy traditional family values, and who repeat that message over and over again, people will eventually start to think that’s true.

Some people say we need to redefine what feminism means, but I don’t agree. I think the better solution is to reclaim the real meaning through education about what the feminism movement is really about. Education really is key.

Look at this post that I came across recently on Facebook. This is the kind of toxic masculinity that does real and serious damage to women. Sadly weirdos like this guy truly believe things like this.

So what can you do to make a difference? Start spreading the word, tell everyone you know about what feminism really means. Talk about issues like equality and toxic masculinity. Share this article with your friends on Facebook and post #girlpower memes on Instagram! It’s not the full answer, but it is a  start.

 

What is Feminism, and why has the word gotten such a bad reputation?

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