Why I Need Feminism

2:11 PM

“Feminists are man-haters.”

“Why aren’t they just called equalitists?”

“I don’t think we need feminism. It’s dumb.”

“Aren’t all feminists gay?”

I hear these phrases more often than not and it breaks my heart. Most people assume that men say this, which is true, but a lot of women are also against feminism and call themselves meninists because they don’t understand what feminism means.

To put it simply, feminism is the belief that all genders should have equal rights and opportunities.

The connotations associated with feminism have caused a lot of problems for the moment. People still believe that feminism is the belief that women are better than men and think that are all feminists angry lesbians. However, it’s not all about bra burning (although it is rad!) We, as women, would just like the same political, social, and economic rights as (white) men.

This sounds great, right? Equal rights? Well, it’s not that simple. A lot of people don’t like being called feminists because they are ignorant and don’t know the definition (looking at you, Shailene Woodley). The problem is that there’s always going to be a negative association with the word because it’s feminist, not meninist. I bet if history his story) was renamed herstory (her story) there would be riots.

Lena Dunham explained the problem with the second wave of feminism better than I can. “Feminism isn’t a dirty word,” says Dunham. “It’s not like we’re a deranged group who think women should take over the planet, raise our young on our own and eliminate men from the picture.”

Feminism is about empowering women. It’s about bringing women together instead of tearing them about. And it’s not about trashing men, either. It’s about equal rights.

I believe we’ve come a long way (I’m so glad I can finally vote, show skin in public, go to school, and work) but there’s still a lot that needs to be done until we’re seen as equals. It’s pretty known that there are fewer women in politics and STEM and that they’re constantly being made fun of in these careers. There’s also the fact that I’ll never make the same amount as a man, even if we have the same qualifications because of the 23% pay gap. Even in the entertainment industry women are underrepresented (only 29% of protagonists were women in 2015 and only one woman has won an Academy Award for Best Director).

We still need feminism because men are deciding if women can get abortions, making us pay tampon tax, and making birth control sometimes unreachable. Excuse me, no uterus, no opinion. There are still twenty-to-one male to female CEOS and are still sexually harassed and reprimanded for not wearing enough clothes. Don’t ever victim-blame. It’s not about what you wear, it’s about the perpetrator’s actions. Women are still more abused than me, are told by the media to have negative body images (men are too, but it is more common toward women) and are not taken seriously in the media or workplace.

I know what you’re thinking: “you’re a privileged white girl, you don’t really face any of these problems.” I am caucasian and middle-class, but all women’s issues affect me. It’s not fair that abortions are in the hands of men, that I’m paying for tampons and their tax, that I get cat called and stared at constantly down the street (don’t tell me to cover up when I’m wearing a sweatshirt and jeans). I’m all about empowering women. I love seeing women support one another, create powerful girl gangs, and stand up for each other.

We still have a long way to go. I hope that in my lifetime I see more victories for women, more protests, and more people speaking out. This is a subject really close to my heart, so I'll be posting feminism-related material such as my favorite female characters, directors, and humans. 

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  • Pillow Thoughts
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  • Looking for Alaska
  • One Day
  • Me Before You

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