This idea I’ve got in my head of what feminism is doesn’t seemed to be reflected in the stereotypical online profile which openly identifies as feminist.
To me, feminism is essentially bringing female rights to the same EQUAL standard as those which males have had since the dawn of time. No superiority. No battle of the sexes. Just simple, balanced equality. I just want to be able to speak out like a man can, be respected like men are and have the same opportunities without condemnation based on my sex.
It may be surprising to here this, but that is what feminism is! !
The Oxford Dictionary defines feminism as:
“The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”
So, standing together as a movement made up of both males and females, we can surely establish this ‘ground of equality’ as one, making sure to include every intersection of feminism, recognising that all women have different issues to be solved.
So why hasn’t this happened yet??
One of the reasons for which I believe this movement to be failing is those who take feminism out of context. There are no strict guidelines for what type of person can be a feminist. You don’t have to grow your armpit hair down to your knees or stop shaving your legs or stop wearing a bra. I feel as if this message seems to be encouraging a divisive rhetoric amongst many young feminists specifically which causes a lot of damage to such an extensive movement.
If you want to stop wearing ‘feminine’ clothing and defy gender roles, you go for it. That’s what feminism is all about- resisting the oppression that women have so historically faced. But don’t for one second enforce that same opinion on another woman. You may not like it when men hold a door open for you or when a man compliments you on your body. Feel free to say no, if that’s what gives YOU independence and balance. But don’t shame other women for enjoying it or part-taking. There are bigger issues to be solved, and although every issue is important, small emphasis can cause the bigger issues to be clouded and ignored. Aggressive enforcement of these ideas can scare people away from the movement too, which is why I think many are ostracised by the idea of feminism. Rape, equal pay, objectification, exploitation. All key issues which the advocacy of female rights intends to address. This is impossible without a united front.
The moment you begin to shame other women for not meeting your ‘standards’ of feminism, you lose the right to call yourself a feminist.