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You can certainly choose not to be a feminist, but learn what feminism is before distancing yourself from it?
There is a growing problem of women, especially celebrities denouncing the feminist movement. Now, I am not suggesting that everyone needs to be a feminist (that would be my dream) or that everyone should support the movement either. But, it is sort of important for a person to know what they are commenting about before they make a statement to the tune of, “I am not a feminist” and/or “I don’t need feminism”.
To start off, here is a simple definition of feminism: Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending a state of equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women. This is Wikipedia—something that every millennial turns to when seeking answers.
Now for the problem: in the recent past, there have been a number of celebrities who have spoken out against the movement and consciously distanced themselves from the term. The problem is also true with a number of blogs and Facebook pages, particularly Women against Feminism that shows a number of women holding placards giving reasons as to why they don’t need feminism.
There are so many problems with this that I must take it one by one.
Feminism is a collective movement that has a number of types and different degrees of beliefs, but the definition given above, is at the core of all the ideologies. Feminism seeks equality of genders, not the oppression of men, not the superiority of women, not giving the reigns of the world to one sex. No. Equality. Both genders enjoy the same rights and privileges.
So, when Shailene Woodley says she is not a feminist because, “I love men and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance”, she has no idea what she is talking about. Look around, the division of power tips heavily on men’s side, it is not balanced right now! And whatever few women there are in power, it has been because of this very movement. Feminism needs men and women to share the power, 50-50, so obviously men will have give up some of theirs.
When celebrities say stuff like this it gives the idea that feminists don’t like men and want to rule the world, which is absurd. Go back to the definition above. Does that sentence give you any reason to believe feminists hate men and want to take over the world? This stereotype of feminists hating men is everywhere and constantly repeated in the media by celebrities, uninformed commentators and the Internet generation.
Why must people who have no idea about what the movement stands for make comments about it that are completely different from what is really is. And this gets worse when you are a celebrity because people look up to them, and young people might even idolise them and when they make uniformed comments, it spreads even faster.
The argument to this might be that it’s not the celebrity’s fault that she did not know about feminism, which is okay because you wouldn’t expect me to know about everything either. But it is also similar to me not knowing how to play a guitar and saying that wanting to learn playing guitar is demonic and I don’t support it. It’s okay that I don’t know anything about playing a guitar but it is NOT okay for me to try to turn other people against it when I myself don’t understand it.
My biggest problem with people is that they are so scared of the F-word. Women would make comments saying, “I am not a feminist” and then follow it up with their own beliefs of equality which are actually in line with the feminist ideology. It’s okay to not want to identify yourself as a feminist or associate with the movement. But when you say I am not a feminist and then say that you believe in equality and are against sexism, it makes people think that feminism is not about equality and supports sexism. You’re basically just contributing to the epidemic of spreading third-hand mis-informed stereotypes.
Finally this page. With this, I don’t even know where to start. Firstly, most of these women are guilty of point number The rest of the women are just saying disgusting things. Just because you are privileged enough where you do not have to fight for the simplest of rights like education and nutrition, it does not give you a right to belittle other people’s problems by saying that they are playing victims.
Just because you have not had to face unwanted sexual abuse (really thankful for that) does not mean you can rubbish eve-teasing and sexual harassment saying you like men checking you out. Rape and molestation, yeah I am sure a simple ‘f&^# off’ would suffice. Simple request to all of them: please read up a little before you critique something. This is like going gluten-free without even knowing what gluten is! And please do not rubbish other women’s problems just because you have not had to face them.
Pic credit: Advocacy project (Used under a CC license)
Bookworm, feminist, foodie--not particularly in that order. Twitter: @sweta_pal89
Thank you for writing this. I have been hearing so many women saying this nowadays, it is like – it is a cool thing to say “I am not a feminist”. Also, many are like i care about gender equality, so i am not a feminist, but a humanist(whatever that is!!), without even understanding what Feminism stands for.
Glad you liked it. The piece was written because I am sick of such people. http://time.com/87967/shailene-woodley-feminism-fault-in-our-stars/
Yeah, a lot of people who would say that they are against all forms of sexism and believe in equality still won’t identify themselves as a feminist. The reason is that over a long period of time, the movement has become too complicated and much more than sexism and equality. For example, feminists frequently indulge in socialist bullying of governments and corporations for affirmative action policies. They have a reputation for creating gender discrimination even where none exists. Modest policy disagreements with feminists and their political allies are equated with misogyny. All rights to dissent are taken away. Even women who dissent are told that they are supporting patriarchy. A refusal to acknowledge a lot of issues that men suffer and to look at the numbers. Look at the television debates on feminism – a bunch of hateful divorce lawyers who are fully committed to proving that all men are oppressors.
What Feminism Is Not – Not Man-Hating Or ‘Modern Dress’ Or Favouring Women! What Is It, Then?
No, I Won’t Apologize For Being A Feminist Just Because You Don’t Understand What Feminism Means!
A Beginner’s Guide To Feminism In 21 Articles By Feminist Writers
JAGORI Co-founder Kamla Bhasin: What Would I Be Without My Feminisms? Yes, There Are Many!
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