The F-Word : Ignore the stigma

Megan Prevost, Biotechnology Major

The phrase, “I’m not a feminist” doesn’t make any sense. What this says is that someone does not believe in the feminist movement, or what feminists are trying to accomplish. Some movements include allowing women to be paid the same as men, stopping the abuse and sexualization of women, and stopping the discrimination against women with children (especially in the workplace). Feminism is not meant to take away the rights of men, and feminists don’t want to be paid more than men or be treated like they’re some higher power. All they want are the same rights.

To say that you’re not a feminist is to say that you don’t believe in these rights, that you don’t think women should be paid a fair wage or treated like equals. And it’s unfair. Many people believe that feminism is elitist, that women just want to be better than men. And maybe this is true for some feminists, but the idea of the group as a whole is to bring women up to the same level as men and to treat them equally like human beings.

Feminists are also often called feminazis, another unfair stigma to their name. Most importantly, those who say “I’m not a feminist” probably don’t know what feminism actually is; they just don’t like it because of what it’s stigmatized to be.

There’s also an argument out there where some people believe that the entire feminist movement should be changed, that it should be called the equalist or humanist movement. (If you’re not a feminist, you’re probably not a humanist either.) The word female shouldn’t even be in the word at all. But it should because it’s about women. It’s not about bringing men and women to the same level; it’s about bringing women up to the same standard as men. This is why the root word is female, because it’s about empowering women and teaching everyone that females shouldn’t be shut down just because of the stigma.

Being a feminist is additive: giving more rights to females until they’re at the same level of rights as males. It has nothing to do with taking away the rights from the males. Believe it or not, feminists are all about equality, making the world a better place, holding hands and singing kumbaya. But their first and foremost goal is making the world better for themselves. And yes, this does sound slightly selfish, but if you look at the facts, it couldn’t possibly be selfish.

In the United States, women are sexualized more than they should be, the catcall is still a daily problem, and walking down the street at night – or sometimes even during the day – can be a daunting task. Rape culture is very much alive and a good percentage of guys think that if she’s drunk, it’s not rape. Advertisements on television and in magazines feature half-naked girls holding drinks or standing near cars. Feminists as a population are not only trying to achieve more rights for themselves but to educate people so they can be treated as actual human beings. It’s too often you hear – on television or even in real life – someone talking about how a girl is hot so she can’t possibly be smart. These are things feminists are trying to abolish.

So next time you say “I’m not a feminist,” think about what you’re actually saying. Do you want men and women to be equal without taking away any rights from men?

Ignore the stigma, you’re probably a feminist.

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