“I don’t know why that word is so scary to people, it shouldn’t be, because it just means equality.” Those are the words of the world famous actress Jennifer Lawrence on feminism, spoken during a 2016 Harper’s Bazaar interview. She uses the word “scary” to describe how many people view feminism. Yet “scary” is a word used to describe something that’s frightening, not something that helps us bring equality to this world. Generation Z especially has this problem with viewing feminism in the wrong way.
Now, you might think I’m only talking about the males of my generation, but no, a number of females misunderstand it too. I often talk to my friends about it, since I’ve been fighting for my rights as a woman from the moment I knew what that meant. I have never thought that someone is less valuable just by looking at their gender, but as years go by I have seen myself and my other girlfriends being disprivileged, just because we are “girls”. That gets me angry, it also gets every single one of them angry, and so we act!
Feminism is represented in an awful way, where feminists are described as women who are too loud, too aggressive, too strong, anti-men or even unattractive.That is definitely not feminism.
By speaking out, some people have found a way to make feminism about praising women, while denouncing men. Dr. Christina Scharff , the writer of a 2019 BBC news article claims that she has found associations of the term “feminism” with “man-hating, lesbianism or lack of femininity”, which was a key factor of young German and British women, while rejecting the label “feminist”. They explained that they wouldn’t want to be called feminists out of fear of being associated with such terms.
Feminism is simply not that. The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of this word is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”, which clearly indicates that feminism is misunderstood by some. Therefore, when a feminist would be asked to give the definition of a woman, she would rather focus on the human being aspect, than to define a woman as a “wife, girlfriend or a man’s companion”. She would always explain that she sees herself as an individual human being, but never as a man’s accessory. Individuals which fear feminists, fear being equal to women, because by admitting equality between men and women, they would actually have to acknowledge women and outwork them if they wanted to be better.
That being said, some women fear being feminist and some men fear feminists. But why would that be, one might ask. It is because feminism is represented in an awful way, where feminists are described as women who are too loud, too aggressive, too strong, anti-men or even unattractive. That is definitely not feminism, but rather a mockery of feminism, and that is exactly why many women do not want to be recognised as feminists.
Now, if feminism was described as a movement towards equality, like it actually is, I know many would change their minds. Feminism is living with the knowledge that your values as a female are equal to those of a male, so I know that the next time I don’t laugh at my friend’s sexist joke, they will get what’s wrong with it. I know that the next time a teacher chooses only boys, because of their “strength”, they will think about it. I know that for the next International Women’s Day my friend won’t send me a picture of a dishwasher again, posing it as a congratulations card, and thinking it is a funny joke.
We should be taught that women or men of equality do not fear feminism, because feminism means equality.
I am hurt. I am hurt by such daily actions of my classmates, family members, friends, teachers or other adults. I am hurt when their face changes after I make a feminist comment. I am hurt when they say I am controlling, after I have made a feminist comment. I want equality for everyone, and I think all other women do too. Now, if we change this wrong viewing of feminism, the world could change too. We could all walk together towards an equal future for ourselves and for future generations.
So, the older generations are not our main problem, but rather the newer generations, learning about feminism in all the wrong ways. We should be taught that women or men of equality do not fear feminism, because feminism means equality. This is not a black and white issue. I know that, however I ask you to understand that too, and acknowledge all the women working hard and all the women who have worked hard to get us here. From Victoria Woodhull, Florence Nightingale, Simone de Beauvoir, Gloria Steimen, Ruth Bader Geinsberg to Emma Watston and thousands more. All these women with different professions and different interests in life, but with one common goal of reaching full equality. Let’s not go backwards in history. Let’s move forward together and work towards an equal future, where we teach new generations how hard feminists have worked to bring us where we are today and how hard they will have to work to fulfill the ever longing wish for equality.