Feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” However, for a movement that seeks to create a better world for both men and women, it has received a significantly terrible reputation. Be it calling us “feminazi’s”, man-haters, bra-burners or even simply misunderstanding what feminism means. I’m here to clarify some basic misconceptions about feminism, so keep reading!
- You can be a feminist and be a homemaker. In fact, being a homemaker can be your actual profession. How you choose to live your life is up to you and all that matters is that your profession doesn’t harm others and that you are happy. You cannot complain about a woman not having a “real job” when it doesn’t affect you. If your values centre around being a particular kind of working woman, then do you. They are not obliged to live your life for you. You have to go and live your best life and they have to go and live their best life. As actress Anushka Sharma rightly said: “The freedom to choose is empowerment.”
- Your literary protagonists do not have to be a swashbuckling heroine. They can be a diplomat, a domestic administrator, an embroider, etc. They can be… feminine. *Gasp!* Like it or not, you will need the skills of an embroider and it’s all very well to go and be an awesome fighter, but someone needs to make your clothes for you, someone needs to make sure that your allies are tended to, and that your home is running well. The truth is that we need both the Arya Stark’s and Sansa Stark’s in literature. All that should matter is that they are basically good and do not intend to harm others.
- You can wear make-up and not wear make-up. Embrace who you are! If you love make-up – let’s be honest, make-up is art – or prefer to go natural, it is your choice. It doesn’t mean anything, not really. It is just a preference.
- We encourage body positivity and we appreciate that all sizes are beautiful. All that should matter is that you are healthy, and that you are comfortable in your skin. And if you aren’t, well, we are here to support you and show you how incredibly beautiful you are!
- You can love who you are without bringing down another woman to make yourself feel better. It is not a competition. I repeat, your girlfriends and other women aren’t your competition. Don’t cave into the media’s poorly drawn picture of women. It’s okay to be insecure, God knows we are not perfect, but how you project your insecurity onto others is what counts. It’s okay if someone else is complimented, let them have their day, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t beautiful. You are both just fine.
- We don’t like being compared to other women. Polls asking which woman is hotter are highly derogatory and insulting and we are not here for it. Telling a woman that she is “not like other girls” is not a compliment. What is wrong with “other girls?” You are not scoring any brownie points by demonising my own sex. I am part of that sex. How is that supposed to be a compliment?
- We are not here for slut-shaming. I could not care less how many people you’ve slept with as long as you haven’t slept with a man/woman who is already in a relationship or married. I don’t care what you wear either. It doesn’t in the least bit affect our equation because, to reinforce, it has nothing to do with the person you are.
- You don’t need to be a “strong woman” every minute of your waking day. You are a human being, not a robot. Emotions are normal, embrace them. It is okay to cry. It is okay to not be okay. You don’t need to force a smile if that’s not how you feel. Please, remember this.
- Being a feminist does not mean that you will always get along with other women. Sometimes personalities clash, sometimes the puzzle doesn’t fit and sometimes they might be a bit of a prick and need to be called out. What matters is that you support equal rights and you recognise and care about issues affecting women.
- Feminism is for men too. We are here to break damaging stereotypes such as “men don’t cry,” “men don’t wear pink,” and men have to “man up.” Why should different rules apply when we are both human beings? How did pink even supposedly become a feminine colour? A colour is supposed to symbolise femininity, really? A colour? Also, to reinforce, more women are standing behind Terry Crews than men’s activists are! In addition, we need feminism in order to make men realise that they are not animals, that they are capable of controlling their sexual urges and that they have to take responsibility for the violence, whether physical or emotional, they inflict on both men and women. How can you be okay with women having to fear you? How can you be okay with being viewed in this light? How can you despise a movement that is attempting to elevate your reputation and status from a savage to a decent human being? For the record, I’m not saying all men are trash either because I don’t believe they all are. Having said that, where are the male feminists at? Why do we hardly hear from you? Why do you treat feminism like it’s just a “girls thing?” Real men are feminists!
What does feminism mean to you? How has feminism affected you? If you are a feminist, tell me about the reactions you’ve received and share your story. If you aren’t a feminist, tell me why. Let’s discuss!
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