Let's Define Feminism
Let's Define Feminism
by Shaye DiPasquale
"I can't wait for this whole feminism thing to die down... It's just a phase". I can't even begin to count how many times I have heard this exact quote being said by males and females alike. The ignorance in our society never fails to astonish me. If people actually knew what feminism was about, they wouldn't be so quick to condemn it. Feminism has never been about man-bashing or hoping that women will take down men. Let's be honest, we need men in our lives as fathers, brothers, husbands and friends. Feminism is actually defined as "the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men”. Nowhere in that definition do the words, “We hate men”, appear. The empowerment of one sex does not mean the demise of the other.
I'll admit that I wasn't always so quick to identify as a feminist. At a point, I also would have fell for the misconception that feminists were too opinionated and anti- men. But as I have matured and become more open- minded, I have begun to see how the lack of female empowerment around the globe is hindering progress towards gender equality. I feel inspired to write about women's issues because I don't want to be the next victim of society. I want to see change and progress being made to give every person an equal opportunity to achieve success. Female empowerment is crucial to the progress of the entire world.
Emma Watson delivered an inspirational and influential speech at the United Nations a few weeks ago. Her speech has become known as the HeForShe speech, as she called upon billion men and boys to become advocates for ending the inequalities that women and girls face around the globe. Watson is both eloquent and inquisitive when she states, “I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive”. Her word’s hit home, as I have personally been ridiculed on multiple occasions for being too opinionated, too bossy and too expressive of my beliefs. I have been told that I ought to understand my place and the place of women around the world. I have been told it would be easier for me if I just denounced feminism and moved on. But I cannot.
Females make up half of the world’s entire population. Imagine what could be achieved if that half of the world’s population was actually allowed to fully participate in decision-making and leadership? How different would the world be if women from across the world were empowered to speak their mind and voice their beliefs? If gender roles could be erased and abandoned, the entire world order would change for the better. Gender stereotypes are limiting and crippling. They drive a wedge between the two sexes, ruining the possibility for complete unification and equality. But by relinquishing both men and women from the barriers that have always defined them, couldn’t equality be achieved?
I am a feminist because I am aware of the endless possibilities that gender equality could give to the world. I am fighting to empower women but I am also fighting for men. I am fighting for their ability to be true to their inner selves and to not be burdened by society’s standards. I am fighting for male empowerment just as much as I am fighting for female empowerment. That is all feminism really is: a call upon society to fight the injustices surrounding gender inequality for the sake of both men and women.
I urge you to join the movement, to make a difference, and to impact the future. Because feminism is not the f-word and it is not a term used by radical extremists. Feminism is a state of mind, accessible by males and females alike. Society may be ignorant, but that doesn’t mean we have to be ignorant too.