By Carly Guise
Feminism. One word, four syllables, meaning the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. One would think that it is a simple concept that’s easy to digest, yet so many seem to misinterpret what feminism actually is.
I am a feminist in every sense. That being said, I am not a misandrist (man-hater). I do not want women to overpower men and take over the world in a sudden rage of PMS. I do not want to burn my bras and anything else that has to do with patriarchy. My actions are not outrageous and unjustified just because I am not afraid to label myself with the f-word.
What I want is equality. What I want is for women to no longer be objectified. What I want is for gender stereotypes to be erased. What I want is to end rape culture. What I want is for both men and women to have mutual respect for one another as human beings.
What I want are the same core ideas of feminism, so why is there such a negative stigma surrounding it? The goal of feminism is to unite the sexes, not distance them even farther apart than they already are. Feminism is not about dragging the male population down, but rather to raise the female population so that we’re finally on an equal playing field. Men, we do not want to overpower you. We do not thrive off of your eternal suffering, nor do we want your suffering to be ignored like the sufferings of so many others have. We want you to be courageous and strong and confident in who you are, but we also want the same thing for ourselves too. And that should be okay, but for some reason, it still isn’t.
According to a recent survey, only 20% of Americans consider themselves to be feminists; 8% call themselves anti-feminists and 63% say that they are neither, though 82% agreed that men and women should be equal.
Isn’t that in the definition of feminism?
In my short sixteen years on this planet, I have learned many things, one of them being that, sometimes, people are uneducated. I don’t mean this in a patronizing way—I mean that, sometimes, people just genuinely do not see the whole picture.
Feminism is something that needs to be talked about. People need to know that feminists are not awful people who only want white women to climb to the top. People need to know that feminism is not just about topless women on Instagram, but fighting the sexualization and objectification of the female body. People need to know that feminists are not just radicals who shove their beliefs down the throats of others. People need to know that feminists will fight for anyone who needs them.
We will fight for the men who are raped and then shamed by their friends for not liking it.
We will fight for the 99.3% of women and girls in Egypt that have been subjected to sexual harassment. We will fight for the victims in Saudi Arabia and Morocco that can be charged with a crime for being raped.
We will fight for the over 130 million women in the world who have undergone female genital mutilation. We will fight for the 14 million girls married off before the age of 18.
We will fight for the 44% of teenagers that feel unsafe at school because of their gender identification and the 64% that felt unsafe due to sexual orientation.
We will fight until our daughters are allowed to show their shoulders at school and our sons are not glared at for playing with dolls.
We will fight until the sexes are equal, until women are no longer objects to own, until it is okay for boys to like dresses and girls to play with mud and insects, until rape culture is ended, and until all human beings are treated with respect.
Feminists are not freaks, and it’s about time that people start recognizing this.
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