Feminism fights for equality, not for superiority

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Feminism fights for equality, not for superiority

Feminism — It’s a word that seems to be all around us these days, surrounded in a cloak of negative stigma and stereotypes. Feminism has transformed from an empowering movement for equal rights into the punchline of a bad joke. We think that the main cause for feminist-shaming is the misconception about what feminism actually is, and classifying all feminists as extremists.  People don’t even take the time to learn what the word means, and instead just mindlessly mock feminists.

The general public seems to have accepted an implied definition of feminism that skews what the word and beliefs associated with it.  Contrary to popular belief, the word feminism does not imply that women are better than men,  hate men or think they are better than men — it simply means “the belief that women are equal to men.” Everyone should be a feminist, not because it supports women more than men, but because it supports equality.

We handed out surveys on Oct. 20 to various lunch periods asking the students of DGS their gender, if they consider themselves a feminist and what they think a feminist is. The results were baffling.

 

It is also astounding that 16 percent of students polled — both males and females — wrote the correct definition of feminism is “believing women are equal to men” or anything along the lines of equality and still answered “no.”

The majority of students that were polled did not know the definition of feminism, we got answers including the following: “social studies teachers,” “a conspiracy” and “someone who is a formal person.”

The problem with these answers is that the students genuinely did not know what a feminist is, but we also got answers that had an idea of what feminism was, but associated it with something negative. Some of these answers include:

“bull****,” “saying that periods should be an open conversation,” “women who take being a woman too seriously” and “f*** that.”

However,  most common incorrect definition of feminism was “women who think they’re better than men.” As with any organized group, there are going to be extremists who take the issue too far and warp the original idea to fit their own. Thinking women are better than men is not feminism.

To us the saddest part of the issue is that some women are afraid to stick up for their own gender and their own rights because the stigma surrounding feminism is so overwhelmingly negative. People have fought for years in favor of the equal rights of all races, yet people are looked down upon for fighting for equal rights for all genders.  The biggest concern is that people openly support the unequal rights of men and women.

The Republican senators — including all four women — recently voted against a bill called the Equal Paycheck Act. The purpose of this bill is to make it easier for women to know if they are being paid less than their male counterparts. Men and women alike are still doing things that set women back instead of making progress towards equality.

A lot of times people that  jump on the bandwagon and don’t take the time to educate themselves. They will bash feminism and equal rights to fit in, even if they truly believe something different. We saw this without fail when we were handing out surveys.  People were laughing with their friends and putting down answers that they might not even really believe.

It seems like there is a general theme with our generation these days — turning things that aren’t funny into the most popular jokes.

Everyone at DGS should support the equal rights of every human being — of every gender. Equality is a basic human right, and the fact that it is 2015 and people are still against equal rights is incredibly problematic and frankly, astounding. But we, the students of DGS, can be the generation that supports and fights for not only the equality of women, but the equality of everyone.

Be knowledgeable. Be for equality. Be a feminist.

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