Feminists: they hate men, don’t like to wear makeup, don’t like wearing bras (or often times try burning them), are unfriendly, unapproachable and usually are not attractive by society’s standards. At least that’s what our society and media have convinced us to believe.
The word feminism is often times considered as something that comes with a negative connotation. This word alone is like any other bad word and a taboo in our society that you could potentially be mocked for if you identify with it.
University of California, Riverside student, Gabriel Baytion states that, “When I imagine a feminist I usually think of like a girl that doesn’t like to fit into the normal standards of being feminine and likes to dye her hair or is kind of like masculine.”
I continued to ask Baytion if he considered himself a feminist and he scoffed and said, “No, not me but I understand how important that whole movement is. I just don’t really think that I can relate to it.”
Has the 21st century made some progressive strides towards changing this stereotype against feminists and reclaiming the word? It seems as though most females nowadays understand the importance of representation and having a voice to express their concerns. But there still seems to be some misunderstandings with this word among not only men but more surprisingly, among females.
LA native, Salaina Cisneros proudly identifies herself as a feminist and has attended the Women’s March for the past two years in order to fight and bring more awareness to the inequalities that not only women but feminists face in our society.
When asked what her thoughts were about females that cannot or are hesitant to identify as feminists, Cisneros stated that she thought, some women are still so ashamed to identify as a feminist that when a women’s art history studies professor asked her class “Who in here can raise their hand and say they are a feminist?” only two females in the class of 50 or more students could actually raise their hands.
This really puts into perspective how negatively thought of this word is. Additionally, when it comes to our male counterparts here in America, it is a struggle in terms of getting males onboard with feminist beliefs and generally just getting them to acknowledged and understand the concerns or issues faced.
It’s important to realize that feminism is definitely not about hating men or even asking for special privileges that men don’t receive, but more so about understanding and calling to light how unjust our experiences are in our society presently.
Most Americans also do not realize that there is still no law or amendment in place that states that women should be paid the same wage as their male counterparts, regardless if they are in the same workforce or even possess the same credentials and qualifications.
Unfortunately, the concerns feminists face don’t just stop there, there is even a call to the issue of safety.
For instance, do men really fear for their lives when walking back to their cars at night? Do men truly feel the need to travel to public restrooms in groups in order to be able to watch out for each other? Not going out alone once the sun goes down? Being fearful when walking past a group of 2 or more males? Having to worry about whether something they wear might call “the wrong kind of attention”?
These are just a few of the endless list of concerns that feminists face everyday.
These are questions that are raised every single day by women. Not having to worry about someone assaulting us as females is a huge privilege that often times gets overlooked and downplayed.
Many will discount these concerns by saying that maybe we women need to consider dressing less provocatively or that maybe we should take self defense classes, but often times they don’t ever take the time to question why this is really happening and why victim blaming is far from a resolution to this ongoing issue.
Being a feminist is not about being a man hater or even being female. Feminists come in all sexes, genders, races, shapes, and sizes.
Feminism is really all about equal rights for every human being not just people born with female reproductive parts. It’s about practicing intersectionalism and fighting for the rights even transgender women, which most people tend to overlook or forget about.
This word should no longer be seen as a “bad word” or taboo. It’s viewed with so much hostility when in reality the whole reason behind the word and this movement is for people to realize that we should all consider ourselves feminists if we all agree that people deserve equal rights and opportunities free of prejudice and stereotypes in our society.
This word is not only for biologically born females but a cause that everyone who has ever suffered from an injustice due to their gender should get behind.