A New Definition

Despite feminism being around for many years, and feminists having made a huge amount of progress, gender equality is still a pressing issue. One cause of gender equality taking so long to achieve is people not fully understanding what 'feminism' means. Feminism, by definition, means, "The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men," according to The Oxford Dictionary. Contrary to common assumptions, it is not anti-men or believing that women are better. Men these days don’t seem to understand that the term “feminist” means gender equality. In a rebuttal against this idea of feminism being the equivalent of “man-hating”, users on Twitter have invented this idea of “meninism”.  Meninism t-shirts have been made and #meninist has been used on Twitter millions of times. This is not what we need. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

It’s not just men who don’t understand the word ‘feminist’ or think of it as being negative. In a study that the Huffington Post did, they found that only 20% of Americans identify as feminists, 23% of them being women and 16% of them men. If people continue to carry on with this belief that feminism is negative, is there a point to having feminism being such a pressing topic in our society? Won’t this belief just encourage the opposite of what is intended? To be gender neutral is impossible, so what we need to do is think of each other as equals, rather than needing one gender to be considered better than the other. Today, we need to look at the world as a whole, not divided by gender. We are equal. Feminism does not mean women are better, and feminists are not all over-opinionated, masculine women. It means gender equality and in order to achieve this, we need more than just 20% of Americans to understand this. 

 

- Lauren '15