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Critics misinterpret the purpose of feminism

Savanna Briscoe, Staff Columnist

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It is very common in today’s day and age for women to claim they don’t need feminism. Many of these women who believe that feminism is unworthy of their support accuse feminism of being a negative movement when it is not. These women have no recollection of the authentic meaning of feminism, therefore they shame the concept and turn their heads the other way whenever someone even mentions the term.

In general, feminism gets a bad rap. People perceive this movement as very narrow and negative, meaning that they believe to be a feminist, you have to meet certain criteria. The belief that men and women should be socially, politically and economically equal – this is the most accurate definition of feminism. Unfortunately, some people still perceive this movement’s main purpose as being anti-men, liberal, radical and many other aspects that it is very far from.

You don’t have to be an extremist when it comes to being a feminist. There is no right or wrong way to be a feminist. Some people take it farther than others, and there is nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to agree with and act upon everything other feminists say or do. I believe women are afraid to be feminists because of the negative perception it has and also the lack of knowledge we provide as a society in terms of the true concept of feminism.

All feminists want is to be treated as equally as men. Feminists want equal pay and job opportunities. As of today, women still run into the problem of the pay gap as men have a higher income than women with the same position. The National Women’s Law Center says a woman misses out on an average of $430,480 over the course of a 40-year career. Unequal job opportunities is still a recurring issue women face.

Usually, men are perceived as strong, powerful human beings, whereas women are seen as fragile and sensitive. These common role stereotypes are becoming a major issue in the workforce. Since women are seen as fragile, they aren’t given as heavy-duty tasks as males are. This is due to the idea that they may not be able to take on as big of tasks as men. This is an example of how sexism takes place in the workforce.

Most women, feminists or not, want to be taken seriously. Just because the president of a corporate company is a woman does not make it acceptable that the co-workers should take her any less seriously than they would if a man were in the same position of power. Feminists want to be seen not as just a body, but as a mind. A woman’s knowledge and ideas are often neglected simply because some men don’t believe women are capable of being more intelligent than the  members of the male species. This common mistake often leads to a man seeing a woman’s appearance to be more important than her voice and brain.

Feminists want to have rights – the right to do what they want with their bodies without fearing judgement. For example, abortion: A woman should not be frowned upon for not going through with a pregnancy. as she may not be ready to raise a child, she may be the victim of rape or sexual assault, along with many other reasons. A woman’s body is her body and she has the right to do as she pleases with it.

To this day, some men still believe in old-fashioned and sexist gender roles where they think women are supposed to be housewives. They believe that there are these predestined roles in which men yield more power. This is a theory in which men feel the need to hold all of the power in their marriage by being the breadwinner, and while the husband is at work, they have their wife tend to the house, cook, clean, run errands and be a stay-at-home mom if she desires to conceive children. Often, men don’t find it necessary for women to earn an education or establish a career as long as they can take care of them.

All of these different scenarios prove that feminism is not about hating or belittling men, but rather that feminists want equal rights and opportunities. All women want their voice to be heard and to be taken seriously. Most women are feminists whether you believe it or not. According to a survey conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 63 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 35 identify themselves as feminists. 51 percent of women between the ages 35 and 49 identify as feminists, 68 percent between the ages of 50 and 64, and 58 percent for ages 65 and up. We all want the same outcome: to have equal rights between the sexes. Before you jump on the “anti-feminist” bandwagon, thoroughly think about the true concept of the term, because you probably don’t hate feminism, you just don’t understand it.

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Critics misinterpret the purpose of feminism