The word "feminist" often gets treated like a dirty word — and one that many people don't want to be labelled as. This can partly be attributed to the negative myths surrounding feminism and what it truly means to be a feminist.
When it comes down to it, feminism is simply about gender equality. We're dispelling the top seven misconceptions that feminists want non-feminists to know!
1. Feminists come in all different forms.
Some are married. Some are single. Some are mothers. Some are childless. Some are career-oriented CEOs. Some are stay-at-home mothers. Feminists want all men and women to have the free will to be whoever they want to be without being brandished as "less of a man" or "less of a woman."
2. Feminists can be stereotypically “feminine.”
A common misconception is that feminists have a disdain for anything stereotypically feminine. Feminists want women (and men) to freely choose how "feminine" or "masculine" they want to express themselves. Some women may choose to wear makeup, dresses, and high heels every day. Others may choose to wear no makeup, pants, and athletic apparel. Both can be feminists. What's important is that they all have free will.
3. Men can be feminists too.
Some people wrongly believe that only women can identify as feminists. In reality, any man who recognizes and believes in gender equality is a feminist. Many prominent men have been proudly calling themselves feminists in recent years, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matt McGorry, and Justin Trudeau.
4. Feminists don’t hate men or masculinity.
Feminists do not think women are better than men. Just because feminists point out the harmful status quos and sexism that often disadvantage and endanger women does not mean they hate men. Feminists hate inequality and oppression. Feminists value men as much as they value women. They merely want all sexes to be treated with the same respect.
5. Feminism is not about matriarchy.
Feminism isn't about ruling over men. It's about female empowerment that seeks to eliminate patriarchal norms so everyone can be societal equals.
6. Feminism benefits everyone.
Men benefit from feminism just as much as women. The same gender norms that try to prevent women from acting too "masculine" are the same gender norms that prevent men from acting too "feminine." Feminism means that men should be allowed to express their feelings, be interested in fashion, cry during sad movies, and like the color pink without being wrongly emasculated by confining societal norms.
7. If you believe in equality, you’re a feminist.
Whether you call yourself one or not, wanting equality of the sexes makes you a practicing feminist.
It's time we stop treating the word feminist like the "F word" and start calling ourselves by that name proudly. As our favorite feminist would say:
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