In today’s world, “feminist” is a dirty word. In a class filled with women, my professor asked who would classify herself as a feminist. Half of the class raised their hand. Half. For some reason, we have decided that being a feminist means you are in some way denying or dismissing your gender. Today, feminist means you are a woman trying to imitate a man. Identifying as a feminist means that you hate men and resent that you were born a woman. Feminism means you don’t wear makeup or dresses and you dance around a totem pole in the shape of Hillary Clinton.
None of this is even remotely true. Okay, maybe the Hillary Clinton thing is for some of us. Modern feminists do not sit around burning bras (well, I’m sure some still might just for the fun of it). A feminist, I wear dresses and apply lipstick almost daily. Feminism is about demanding respect. Feminism is for everyone and benefits everyone. Do you believe that everyone should be paid the same amount according to ability? Congratulations, you’re a feminist. Being a feminist means you are fighting for your right to be whomever you want and to act in whatever way you choose. It’s about not being asked what you were wearing after you were raped. It’s about being able to be a man who cries without being chastised. It’s about how it’s no one’s business but your own when it comes to sexual preference or identity. Feminists fight for equality – it’s a fight for human rights, not just women’s.
We feminists strive to break down the stereotypes regarding women and men. Men are forced to adhere to a certain set of standards dictated by society just as much as any woman. They are encouraged to express their emotions through anger and violence rather than with words or tears. Men, think about the women you love finally being treated with respect and dignity rather than judgment and shaming. Think of no longer being judged on the size of your biceps, but, rather, the depth of your heart.
If in a room full of women, only half said they are feminists, what are the chances that anyone else is going to admit he/she is a feminist? But I wonder, if you’re not a feminist, what are you?