The year of 2014 is when feminism came back. It’s now being talked about on new shows (Parks and Rec, Bob’s Burger’s), celebrities are declaring themselves as feminists (Taylor Swift and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and I bought two new t-shirts with feminist text on them. It’s been a good year, in my opinion. Some may not agree with me because of various reasons. One main reason I find is that people that disagree don’t really know or understand what feminism means.
Going into 2015, the term “gender equality” has been introduced as a synonym for feminism. It’s very much true. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, feminism is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” Male and female are two of many genders. Equal rights and opportunities constitute equality. So why would people be against that?
I firmly believe that the anti-feminist/anti-gender equality population is made up of those who don’t understand how it breaks down. Feminism is for equal rights and opportunities. So that covers not only legalizing abortion but also the ability to represent the pro-choice support fairly in our government, with well-informed legislators on how the female body functions. I’m talking about Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri asking if one can swallow a camera to see a fetus in an abortion debate. Feminism is in support of making informed abortion legislature, and Rep. Barbieri does not qualify.
Equal opportunity means equal pay for equal work in any sort of business place. Equal opportunity means that female students should be able to attend a university and not have to worry about becoming a rape statistic. Equal opportunity extends into other countries through addressing the issue of rampant sex trafficking around the world, the issue of child brides in India and the lack of education given to women in other cultures. Equal opportunity means breaking down gender roles that are harmful to all genders. The fact that we equate “manly” with strong and tough and emotionless and “feminine” with weak and vulnerable and emotional are not only limiting individual potential, but reducing it as well. Feminism encourages that individual potential, regardless if you’re a man or a woman or anywhere in between or no gender at all. Feminism works on recognizing a person for what they contribute to society, not what they’re labeled as.
Feminism does not mean in any way, shape or form that women are superior to men. Feminism calls attention to the fact that as a whole, the society that we have formed as a people is tailored to the success of the middle-aged white male. This does not mean being a white male is bad. That’s great if you’re a white male or male at all! Feminism encourages the acknowledgement of the advantage given to white males and then calls attention to the women that are suffering because of that initial disadvantage specifically based on gender.
I wish there was a simple diagram to give those who are confused about feminism, but it’s not that simple. It’s a mish-mash of combating racism, sexism and classism. There are many different facets of feminism, but there’s one goal: equality.