Anonymous Contributing Writer
Feminism. The word carries a lot of weight, doesn’t it? It’s something a lot of people hesitate to speak about because they worry it’ll portray them poorly. If you’re not a feminist, you’re sexist. If you are a feminist, you hate men. How could you possibly win?
The problem is that our understanding of feminism varies as the line between its real definition and all the different connotations blurs and becomes ambiguous. This results in countless opinions and beliefs about a topic that seems so simple as women’s rights. Additionally, extremist outliers do nothing only add to the confusion. However, even debating what “true” feminism is would still cease to shed any definitive light on how we should view this movement or the people that stand behind it.
That being said, let’s talk about feminism as it applies to us—not as it applies to your grandmother, or to Donald Trump, or to your liberal aunt that lives in California. All connotations aside, let’s talk about feminism as it applies to you, to women.
Turning a blind eye to sexist issues has been the public’s reaction for decades. It’s easier to deny that sexism exists in modern America than to painfully identify the sexist habits of our society. Sexism is more than women being confined to being housewives and mothers, or about having the mere right to vote, or about men recognizing we’re equal. We’ve passed that stage.
Sexism is still alive and well, even though women’s basic humanity has been legally recognized. It’s so embedded in our society that modern feminists aren’t wrong for wanting more. When we pause to ask ourselves if there’s even anything we can do to dissemble something that’s so subtly ingrained in our culture, I hope we realize that the answer starts simply with awareness.
One of the big weaknesses of feminism is that we often point fingers at each other, mainly amongst women. There are no good or bad feminists, or at least there shouldn’t be. There are different levels of consciousness. There are inconsistencies. There are differences. There are many ways of thinking about feminism and each of us lives, breathes, and fights with the tools we have acquired, how we can or how we want. Although sometimes we think we might do things differently, we must be comprehensive and meet each other in the middle because there’s so much left to do.
Sexism is not going to die overnight, but it’s about time we stop being afraid to call ourselves a feminist (male or female). Feminism inherently stands for a moral purpose that any Democrat or Republican should be able to comfortably stand behind. To take the poison out of the word, we need to adopt it and change how people view it through our actions and our words.
By doing so, we not only better our communities but we better ourselves. We become better people, more respectful co-workers and friends, better children to our parents, and parents to our children.