No… not that one. With the reign of Trump possibly coming to an end by the beginning of next year, it had me thinking about the shift of women’s activism that took a major turn at the start of his campaign and eventual election. Feminism seemed to once be a title to be proud of and not something that is oftentimes, these days, used as an insult. Why aren’t people proud of it anymore?
In my women’s writing class earlier this month, we were discussing whether or not we identify ourselves as feminists. After my professor asked most of the girls (who all answered with a resounding “yes”), she moved on to two of the boys. When she asked them, the smirks and nervous laughs that arose from both of them was very odd to me. Both of them proceeded to say something along the lines of, “I mean… yeah, I think men and women should be equal but I wouldn’t call myself a feminist”. Okay… isn’t that exactly what feminism is? It baffled me how much shame it seemed like they would feel if they were to admit that they were feminists. So where is this stigma coming from and should we even care?
First I want to tackle the stigma that feminism is no longer needed or relevant. Women in the U.S. can now vote, work with men, and get an education. All our problems are solved! Feminism is meant to achieve true equality, and with discrimination against women still existing it is still totally relevant. Sexual assault and sexual discrimination are just a few instances where women still face inequality.
There came a time where feminism, to some, became a man-hating movement with members who had almost “Karen”-like behavior. While there are some feminists who may have lost the true meaning of what it means to be a feminist and try to bring their own extremist values, those few do not alter its core meaning and values. The response to the extremists was, ah yes, the “meninist” movement. Men had to try to prove themselves and defend their masculinity. We see this all the time: the majority feels threatened because the minority is getting a word in. Another great example of this, the Black Lives Matter movement. All of a sudden the meaning of a movement becomes altered by the majority and is turned into a villain that hates everyone but themselves and only they matter.
Not all women are (tbh most aren’t) man-hating vampires ready to pounce on the next male that comes in contact with them… unless it’s deserved. We simply want our problems that, yes, still do exist to be solved. There was a giant leap in the feminist movement when Trump became president mostly because he is a male whose treatment of women does warrant a vampire pouncing. With this shift, it has become important that we put the true values and actions of feminism on the front line. The word needs a turnaround and men need to understand that it isn’t a word to be afraid of, but the world also still needs the badasses to stand up for what they believe is right.
Feminism is for everyone who agrees that women and men should be treated equally and the stigma around it needs to end. It’s about women of all races, backgrounds, socioeconomic status, Trans women, gay, straight, whoever. If you’re willing to stand up for any kind of woman you should be proud to call yourself a feminist, even if you are a guy. There’s no need for smirks or nervous laughs before you admit it.
Feautured image: Stephanie Alleva Cornell via https://creatingsteph.com/graphic-design/