When a woman says “I am a feminist”, the first thing that comes to the mind of certain people is “that’s another man-hater on rampage”.
The definition of feminism is simple. Any addition to it is not feminism. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines feminism as
1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.
Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines feminism as
“the belief and aim that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men; the struggle to achieve this aim”
The idea that feminists are men haters is untrue. Just the same way people could abuse the idea of human right, people can also abuse the idea of feminism.
For example, many people who claim to support human right but not feminism also do not support “gay rights”. Is gay right not human right? Abortion is also human right and there is a growing voice of paedophiles who pushes the agenda of “love knows no age” but in a way, that could also be called human rights!
In a nutshell, feminism pushes for the fundamental rights of women. The discussion on feminism largely has nothing to do with marriage. I see it as childish to tell people how to be married, who cooks and who washes the dish but it is right to advocate for the rights of the woman even in marriage. Been married doesn’t mean a woman has lost her rights.
The argument for gender equality has always been to “give women an equal opportunity to contribute their quota to the society”. It doesn’t mean every woman must do what every man does, it means every woman should be allowed to do what they want to do and try the limit of their strength themselves.
It is insane for a man to wake up and say “women can’t be leaders because they are weak”. No, it’s the women that decide if they can lead or not and where they can lead.
The problem is that many men haters and anti-marriage advocates parade themselves as feminists so that they can look acceptable but there is a name for that, it is misandry and not feminism. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, misandry is
“a hatred of men”
There are no synonyms to it, feminism is not even close.
Presently, many people who believe in the original concept of feminism are beginning to distance themselves. They still advocate for it but they rather chose not to be labelled a feminist as a result of the misconceptions.
Feminism does not advocate a power switch from men. Feminism doesn’t say “men have been in power for long, it is time for women”. Feminism advocates that men and women can lead together.
The advocacy for women’s right did not start as a result of marriages, it started because women were not allowed to work, they were denied properties, they had little choices and they were considered inferior. Till today, the problem persists, the bias is still there, it still looks surprised when a woman becomes a prime minister.
In the United States, women only started voting in 1920 and were able to enter the workforce in the 1960s. That is not so long ago! You see why the feminism movement started and why it is important that we remind ourselves of the true meaning of feminism?
We must know this. Feminist women are not macho-women. They fell in love, they love to go on a date, they love flowers, they love dinner gowns, the behave like every other woman. They are not women who want to be treated as men, they are women who want to be treated as humans.