Equality is known as the state of something being equal to another something. Whether this be generic vs. name-brand products, comparing essays to one another, or people—not everything is seen as equal. Unfortunately, throughout our world inequality is an obstacle many people have to face daily. Especially women.
Throughout American history, a considerable amount of strong women have helped better the lives of the women and girls of future generations. Some of these individuals being, Susan B. Anthony, fighting for women during the Women’s Suffrage Movement starting in 1848; Betty Friedan, who was very involved in the “problem with no name” time period during the 1950’s and 1960’s; and Hillary Clinton, continuing to bring awareness to the inequalities so many people face in our world today.
All of these women would identify as a feminist. Indeed, they are all female; and yes, they are all fighting for the rights of women. Yet, they had to. They wanted the lives they deserved.
A recent survey was sent out to the student body of PHS regarding equality in our world today. One question that was included in this survey was, “Do you believe that no matter differences, everyone should be treated equally?” 96% of the 83 students that completed this survey agreed with that statement. However, when asked if they identify as a feminist, only 50% agreed.
The reasoning behind this drastic difference in numbers is because of the misconceptions on the word “feminist.” People do not understand the background and history of the word; therefore, they simply assume what they are hearing by word of mouth is correct. Some examples of these fallacies would be: feminists must be female, feminists only care about gender equality, feminists want women to be dominant to men, along with many more.
First things first, you do not have to be of the female gender to classify as a feminist. There is a large portion of the feminism population consisting of men. There are even famous male celebrities who proudly identify as feminists. Some of these being: John Legend, Will Smith, and former beloved president, Barack Obama.
Additionally, feminists do not solely fight for the rights of women. Modern feminism is about improving equality for every human. This means no matter your age, race, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, social class, or any other form of differentiation—feminists will crusade for your rights.
The last major misconception that must be addressed, is how many people believe feminists want to become dominant to men. That is not accurate in any way, shape, or form. Quite frankly, I’m not sure how this rumor even came to be—because it is so very wrong. Originally, feminists did indeed mostly focus on improving the rights of women. As I stated earlier though, this is because this is what needed to be done. In earlier ages, women were treated like animals. They were given no privileges whatsoever, and most certainly no rights. Women were not allowed to vote, work, or even be out and about without a male figure present to escort them. The women of colonial America were never given an opportunity to live out their dreams. They were to get married, have children, and take care of things at the house.
These victims were not treated as they were entitled to be. This is why something had to be done. Women were done dealing with inequalities day after day. They decided this was no longer something they would just learn to deal with.
Feminism was born.
So yes; initially, feminism was to advocate for the rights of women. And because of this, look how far we have come? Nowadays, there are women doctors, and women lawyers. There are anchor-women and women on the Supreme Court. We have come such a tremendous distance. Yet, we still have an immense distance to go fighting for everyone’s rights.
With all of this being said, please—I beg of you—next time you hear someone make a snarky, aggressive, or false comment towards feminism; speak up. Tell them it’s inaccurate. We need to have the negative connotation on the word “feminism” demolished. It is holding back so many people from joining the movement to end inequality within our world today. We could all be on the same team. We could all be fighting for the same rights. We could all be striving for justice—together.