Why is feminism a bad word?

RobynRamseyI recently watched Emma Watson’s speech at the UN for the “HeForShe” movement.

“HeForShe” is a movement for gender equality, not only for women, but for men as well. Watson’s speech was very compelling, and it really hit home in the most powerful of ways.

In the beginning of her speech, she made a statement that really struck me: “Feminism has too often become synonymous with man hating.

If there is one thing that I know for certain, is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism, by definition, if the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economical, and social equality of the sexes.”

I have been a feminist since I was old enough to understand the injustices and prejudices not only for women, but for the men in my life as well. I have seen my father cry maybe twice in my 22 years of life, and that is because he has always been told that it is weak for men to cry.

In high school, I was told that since I am a girl, I cannot play sports like football, because I am too weak. In almost every job I have worked, my male counterparts have made as much as a dollar more than me for the same exact job. I had a very close male friend in high school that committed suicide because he was too afraid to ask for help because he was absolutely terrified that his peers would think him less of a man.

Being a feminist comes with a great deal of backlash, and in Watson’s words, she explains to the very core as to why.

“Feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, I am among the ranks of women, whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men, unattractive even. Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one?”

The word has become a joke in our society. Many feel that those that are feminists must be man-hating, “bossy”, “unattractive,” or even that we simply want everything handed to us.

They feel that we want more than men, and that we are not really seeking equality for all. Unfortunately, many that hold that view do not take the time to actually research what a feminist is, nor what we truly stand for. We recognize that not only women, but men suffer from inequalities as well.

Men and women each have their expected gender roles that leave us all imprisoned. Men must be aggressive, outspoken, make the money for the household, be strong, and have limited emotions. Women must clean, stay home, only bare children, and are seen as the weaker sex.

These gender stereotypes have to stop. We are all human and we have our rights to display emotions and to feel free. As Watson puts it, “It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, instead of two sets of opposing ideals. If we stop defining each other by what we are not, and start defining ourselves by who we are, we can all be freer.”

Emma Watson has brought a speech that is beautifully written, and it is moving not only for women, but for men as well. She touches on everything that people view wrong with feminism and how we all need to work to change it.

I completely agree with her standings, and I implore all of you readers to at least watch the speech. If you still hate the taboo word, feminism, at least you will know what we are all about, and that is freedom and equality for all.

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