The recent Women’s Marches across the United States since the inauguration of our 45th President started a conversation about what it means to be a woman in America and what it means to be a feminist.
Feminist is still a word that scares many people. This article is for those who cringe at hearing the word.
Feminism is the notion of total equality among men and women, in addition to other genders that may not fall under these two categories. Feminism is not the notion that women should be above men. That is misandry, the opposite of misogyny. Misandry is just as bad as misogyny.
Feminist equality comes on many fronts:
Political: Out of 100 Senate seats in the 114th Senate, only 20 are held by women. This does not accurately represent the population of the United States, approximately half of which is female.
Economic: The Institute for Women’s Policy Research did a study in 2015 finding that female full-time workers made only 80 cents for every dollar that a male worker made for the same job.
Sexual: Many other sub-topics can fall under this one, including gay rights, reproductive rights and sexual freedom. Included in this category would be awareness of sexual assault and sexual violence. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), one in five women and one in ten men will experience some form of sexual assault in their lives.
Racial: Feminists believe not only in gender equality, but also total racial equality. The term “white feminism” has been coined within the past few years to address the issue of disproportionate focus placed on the struggles of well-off white women and the failure to recognize or address oppression that is faced by women of color by some feminists.
Religious: Feminists also believe in freedom of religion. People should pray to whoever they want or not pray at all. That is not a choice for anyone else to make.
Social and outward appearances: A lot of people believe that all feminists are women who don’t shave and refuse to wear makeup or dresses. While some feminists may fall into these categories, there is truly no “face” of how a feminist should look.
Another important thing to remember is that feminism should be, in no way, a threat to men.