It’s 2015 and when I say the words “I’m a feminist” it’s often met with a groan.
“Are you a feminist?” is a staple interview question with almost every female celebrity and the word “feminazi” is thrown around by men and women alike when referring to feminists. Many girls still triumphantly claim that they’re “not feminists” or “don’t need feminism” – notably Shailene Woodley who caused controversy when she said she was not a feminist because she “loved men.”
It seems the reason for this is because there is still some confusion on what feminism is, although it means equality for everyone it can still be associated with the ‘radical feminism’ stereotype.
What is radical feminism?
Radical feminism first became popular in the ’60s and radical feminist beliefs are associated with the ideas of man hating, female supremacy and overruling men. Their ideas are extreme and for the most part they are not feminism. As the feminism we want to promote today stands for equality, it’s important for us to move as far away from this radical feminism stereotype as quickly as we can.
I believe men are rational human beings… pic.twitter.com/CujRQsS8Tt
— WEP Bath (@WepBath) July 19, 2015
The best way to move away from this stereotype is to simply show how inclusive feminism is. Feminism is equality for everyone, regardless of gender, race or age. Modern feminists do not want female supremacy, we simply want to be respected and treated equally to men regardless of what other people think feminism is.
Many people may not want the label of being a feminist due to being uncomfortable identifying as something that they feel represents hypocritical views. We need to make our feminism more inclusive, we need to eradicate the myth of reverse sexism but highlight the importance of misandry and men’s rights (most men will not get custody of their children during a divorce case due to their gender), and we need to acknowledge that men too are feminists and fight against female oppression.
— em (@CatherineBrens) September 15, 2015
Feminism or misandry?
Although reverse sexism does not exist, misandry (meaning a hatred of men) is a very real thing which some feminists sometimes accidentally assert. Whilst it’s important to empower women and fight for our rights, it’s also important to remember that equality is for both men and women and acting like men can’t be feminists or fight for women’s rights reinforces the man hating sterotype. Although women are opressed and men are not, there are many aspects of feminism that they can benefit from.
if you believe that feminism is ONLY about WOMENS rights, you need to reevaluate what youre fighting for.
— isobel (@cruciforms) May 21, 2015
feminism is about bringing equality between men and women by improving a woman’s status misandry is women trying to oppress men
— zaza (@TWlSTEDFANTASY) February 9, 2015
It is not, nor should it be, shameful to admit you’re a feminist regardless of your gender. In fact many women and men are in fact feminists but do not want to admit it due to the label and untrue sterotypes it comes with. If we want to break out of the patriarchal society we live in it should be everyone’s aim to work together to fight for our rights, and to do that we need to break away from the man hating feminist approach.
What radical feminist stereotypes have you faced? Share your experiences in the comments below, and don’t forget to submit your Ask a Feminist questions here or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved!