Why We Still Need Feminism

Today, I came across an article on Facebook that caught my attention. It was about why a certain female is so over feminists. I’m not going to share the title of the article or the person who wrote it because I think that would perpetuate a problem within society — women putting down women (and frankly one of the reasons why we still need feminism). Not to mention, I’ve seen numerous articles about that exact topic so it isn’t the only one out there.

After reading the article and taking in that perspective, I thought it was time to speak out. I typically keep my religious, political and overall societal views to myself but as a woman who has the platform to share an opinion, I think it’s time I said something about the issue.

Before I begin, there are a few things I need to say; a disclaimer, if you will. I am, in no way, trying to speak for the whole female population. There are too many differing opinions on this issue so I can’t speak in generalities. All I am trying to do is take in things I’ve seen about feminism and express my view on it.

Let’s start with misconceptions about feminism. When some people picture feminism, they picture women running through the streets, burning bras, and chasing men with pitchforks. That is not feminism. 

Yes, some women burn bras to express themselves, but that isn’t what the basic meaning of feminism entails.

Some believe that feminism is only for women. That is not feminism. 

In fact men, we can’t do this without you! As women, we cannot attain complete equality if you aren’t willing to participate. Emma Watson gave a speech to the UN in 2014 about the HeForShe campaign, which invited men to join the feminism movement. “Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too,” Watson said in her speech.

Some believe that women who practice feminism want to be greater than men. That is not feminism. 

When you look up “feminism” in the dictionary, it says “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.”

Let’s focus on one key word in that definition. It is the most important and the only word that should stick out to anyone in that definition—EQUAL. Feminism isn’t women > men. Feminism is women = men.

We need feminism. We still need feminism because we are still not equal.

We need feminism because women are paid 80% of what men are paid for the exact same job. According to AAUW, this wage gap won’t be closed until 2152.

We need feminism because one of the presidential candidates thought ten years ago that it was okay to use his “prestige” as a celebrity to grab women’s pussies without their permission. Oh, and then tried to justify the comments as “locker room talk.”

We need feminism because the other presidential candidate was once a lawyer who helped rapists get less jail time.

We need feminism because my friend’s high school teacher told her that her looks where more important than her intelligence.

We need feminism because there is currently a hashtag, somewhat of a “movement,” to get the 19th amendment repealed. It’s 2016 and people want to take a woman’s right to vote away.

We need feminism because there are still people who think that the only place a woman can thrive is in the kitchen of her own home.

We need feminism because woman are told not to walk alone at night instead of men being told not to rape.

We need feminism because a powerful male boss is viewed with respect while a powerful woman in the workplace is called a bitch.

I got someone else’s opinion, so you don’t just have to listen to me ramble on this issue.

“Right now our society is unequal. Women are at a disadvantage to men in the workplace, in society, and in the media. The problem is that many are uneducated about the feminism movement. Feminists don’t believe women are superior or more deserving in certain fields, feminists believe in equality and a level playing field,” says Claire Picard, a junior and fellow feminist.

I understand that men were created physically ‘superior’ to women. Biologically, they have a tendency to be stronger. I’m not going to make a rude comment if a man holds the door open for me or offers to lighten my load if it looks like I’m carrying a lot of stuff. That’s polite and I appreciate those gestures. I just expect that if me and that same man have the same job and we do the exact same work, we get paid the same amount. Feminism is the movement trying to attain that.

I’m not trying to get two votes on November 8 when men get one. I just want my one vote and feel I have the right to say fuck off to any man (or woman!) who tries to take that right away. Feminism is the movement that gave us that one vote.

I’m not trying to get a bigger piece of cake than men. I’m just trying to get my equal share.

I was fortunate to be raised by a strong woman, a father who told me I could be anything I want to be in life and surrounded by successful women who are constantly my role models.

I can only hope that every young woman has at least one strong woman she can look up to or one great man who tells her constantly “you can do this.”

“We need this equality so that younger generations can develop into the people they aspire to be without limitations or societal expectations. I want my future children and students to believe in their capabilities, whether intellectual or physical,” says Picard.

Men, I am not putting you down. I just want women to be on the same level. Women should support you just as we ask for the same support. We are in this fight together. You know how it was a saying in middle school that “real men wear pink?” Well in 2016, real men are feminists. I hope you grow up to be whatever you want to be in life but I also hope you understand that it wasn’t until this presidential election that little girls even realized they could someday run for president. I’m sorry if there are women out there who put you down and use feminism as the reason why.

I can’t say this enough — feminism is about equality. I don’t understand why feminism has become such a negative word with a strong connotation because all it means is that we are equal. Isn’t that what most people want? To have the same shot? To be on the same playing field? I don’t get why that is such an issue.

To all the women out there who shoot down the idea of feminism, I hope women continue to fight for you and I hope that one day you get to reap the benefits of being equal to men. Why you don’t consider yourself a feminist as a woman, I don’t know and I can’t judge but please don’t put other women down for fighting for equality. If women can’t agree on this issue, how are we expected to extend an invitation for men to join this as well?

I understand many people advocate feminism differently, and there is so much more on this topic that I could write 5,000 more words, but for now I’m done. This is what feminism means to me and what I think it means to the majority of women who are feminists.

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