The term “feminist” often has a negative connotation. Many associate feminists with hairy armpits, burly women and man-haters.
There are many myths when it comes to the complex movement called feminism. First, many assume feminism is only for women. Second, some believe that all feminists must be lesbians. Third, they all hate men. And it is sometimes assumed that all feminists want female supremacy, and they will go after it in angry, violent ways.
Some believe that feminists are “slut-shamers.” Slut-shaming is attacking or targeting a woman for having multiple sexual partners, wearing revealing clothing or expressing sexuality. It implies that a woman who does anything of this nature should feel inferior, unworthy or guilty.
Although they do not believe in trying to gain male approval, they don’t shame women for being strippers or porn stars. Feminists believe in the freedom of sexual expression. Women should be allowed to dress how they wish without fear of being assaulted or insulted.
Feminists believe in equal rights for women and men. It isn’t about women getting higher pay than men. It’s about men and women receiving the same amount. It’s not about women being better than men. It’s about the equality of everyone.
They believe in dissolving the patriarchal system with the equal rights of everyone. You cannot simply be a man or a woman, gay or straight, white or Latino. We are all unique in how we’re made up.
Most think feminism means hating men. In reality, it will take the support of men to make headway on the issue. Many feminists are actually in relationships with men.
Similarly, men can be oppressed by women and other men. Feminists recognize this. They encourage men to share their stories about abuse, assault or oppression, and to then take action.
Stereotypes are instilled in all of us early on through societal institutions such as religion, family, marriage or school.
Feminism doesn’t just benefit women. Improving the quality of life for women betters the lives of everyone.
When we can stop perpetuating myths like these and begin to recognize our subconscious stereotypes, we can start to work together toward equality.
Kelsey Sutton/Copy chief
Kelsey Sutton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org