The Oxford Dictionary describes feminism as the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men. This is basically something that everybody with a brain agrees (or should agree) on, but when you explain that this actually means you are some sort of feminist, people seem to back out very quickly. But when did feminism become such a dirty word and what can we do to change that?
Ever since Emma Watson’s HeForShe campaign for UN Woman started two years ago, the image of the hard-core-men-hating feminist seems to vanish a little. Suddenly this gorgeous Hollywood actress talks about equal rights, fair pay wage and women empowerment.
But why do people associate the word “feminist” with such bad image in the first place? I once went on a date with a lovely guy but when we said goodbye, he joked that he would love to kiss me but he won’t because I’m a feminist. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been funny if it wasn’t just so damn sad.
Even often there is a similar mindset of men and women when it comes to equality, it is just the label that scares people off. It is some sort of commitment that people think comes with it, the fear of always arguing, always fighting, always having to defend your beliefs and views but this works both ways. The pressure applies to women as well as men. Fitting in this stereotypical world, where men are not allowed to cry because it makes them look weak just strengthens this limited idea of masculinity. Crying doesn’t stand for weakness, it stands for being a human being and not a heartless stone.
Equality starts at a very young age and is influenced by the interpretation we receive at home or at school. It is that form of potential misinterpretation that causes such an outrage against the movement of feminism. Different opinions and views are not allowed, they are needed. Thanks to the World Wide Web we are able to speak more freely without the fear of being judged or labeled to quickly. On the other hand we have to accept that Feminism will always be a controversial topic with tons of different views and opinions but that’s ok, because that’s what defines Freedom of Speech and a modern society.
What we do need to realise is, that we are all in the same boat and this time it is not women and children first, its humans first.
So, would you consider yourself a Feminist?