Feminism is not a dirty word: Debunking 3 common myths

I am a feminist; I believe that the genders should be equal, and that is exactly what feminism is about. Contrary to popular opinion, being a feminist does not make you a man-hating bitch – it just makes you someone who wishes to unite people of different genders and offer equal rights for all.

In my first year of university I was sat in a lecture when the lecturer asked people to put up their hands if they considered themselves a feminist. With my hand in the air, I was shocked to see very few hands up, but what was worse was what people said. I heard one person say “Well I’m not a feminist but I want women and men to be treated equally”. This sentence is exactly what is wrong with the common perception of feminism. If you believe that people of all genders should be treated equally, you are a feminist; it’s just a label to put to what you believe. 

Commonly, feminism is not understood fully and this creates negative ideas about the movement. As a society we need to change the perception of that label, so that in the future an entire lecture hall will be brave enough to put up their hands when they are asked if they are feminists, because they believe in equality between genders. Below are 3 common misconceptions about feminism that need to be tackled in order to make this happen.

Feminists are women who hate men

The first thing that needs to be changed in respect to the feminist movement is helping people to understand the real message. The frequent expectation of feminist opinion is that feminist women are angry and hate men – this could not be further from the truth. The whole point of feminism is to make the genders equal. So why would women hate men? That would just create even more inequality. In actual fact, feminists are fighting for women to have the same opportunities, jobs and treatment as men. 

Additionally, male individuals who feel threatened by the feminist movement should reconsider their insecurities. Feminists are not out to hurt men or alter their lives; they want men to join their movement in order to emphasise the equality they want to create. For men, feminism can only help them; I am sure that many men would be affected negatively if their female relatives were treated with disrespect due to gender inequality.

Men can’t be feminists

The second thing I would love for people to know about is how men need not be afraid to join the feminist movement. Being a male feminist is not an oxymoron, and it makes sense for people of all genders to believe in equality, as it is after all about all genders being equal. I know that my boyfriend is a feminist and it makes me proud to know that there are also many other men out there who wish to join this very positive movement that is dedicated to bringing about equality. Often, I think that once you think about it, it is easy to see why men should be proud to dub themselves feminists. If a man thinks of his mother, sister, girlfriend or friend I am sure that he will see them as an equal and important person within society, not somebody inferior to them. So why not join the fight for equal rights?

Feminists are crazy extremists

The third thing that I would love to change about prejudice against feminism is the perception that people have of women who fight for equal rights. Often feminists are dubbed as ‘extremists’, as crazy, angry individuals who go throwing their weight around to scare the innocent victims of society with their so called ‘extreme’ ideals. In actual fact, this is not the case at all. Feminists are just like everybody else, they just have a particular set of beliefs. You do not have to fit a certain form or look a certain way to be a feminist; anyone can be a feminist.

I am a feminist. I believe in equal rights for women. I do not believe people of different genders should be treated differently; we are all human and deserve to be treated equally. I am a feminist and I don’t get angry at all men just because of their gender. I am a feminist and I don’t hate men. I am a feminist and I don’t think women are better than men. Being a feminist does not define who you are, nor is it a negative label. I am a student. I love reading and writing. I love my boyfriend. I have a beautiful black and white cat. And I am a feminist. I’m a feminist and I’m proud to use that label. One day, I hope that everyone will understand that a person is not defined by their beliefs, and that being a feminist is something to be proud of.