Feminism: The cliffnotes version

Lately, I’ve been seeing an endless amount of posts and articles online that defend feminism. These posts highlight the common misconceptions regarding the movement and explain the reasons behind it and its motivations. Alot of these posts have gone viral, but still, the misconceptions still exist. People choose to look only at the way others abuse and twist the message of feminism, and then use it to defame and degrade the entire movement.

Until that stops, we shouldn’t stop spreading awareness. And that is why I’m making a post of my own to address the misunderstandings about feminism that I most frequently encounter.

  • Feminism is not women are better than men.
  • Feminism does not exclude any gender or orientation.
  • Feminism does not disrespect or reject the housewife lifestyle. It encourages and protects the right to free choice for women.
  • Feminism is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for women who engage in harmful behavior. In fact, it emphasizes that everyone should be held accountable for their actions.
  • Feminism is not a way to justify abuse or bullying.

It does not call for a shift in power, it calls for equality. Feminism calls for a just treatment among all genders. It calls for the destruction of negative behavior that is embedded in the norms and tradition of society. It protects the rights of all genders. It is a call for ending all forms of gender-based discrimination. It is a safe space for everyone who needs it.

“So if it is a call for equality among all genders, why is it called Feminism?” Because it starts at the root of the problem. The problem that paints all things female as inferior, that polices women’s actions and thoughts, that shames women for their bodies, their clothes, their looks and their status. It’s also the same problem that forces men to adopt unhealthy means of coping with their emotions just to avoid all things considered feminine.

It is a call to end rape culture, to stop justifying negative behavior based on gender, and to stop demonizing normal behavior based on gender.

Feminism is women standing up for themselves and for their fellow sisters, and it is also people of all genders standing together against oppressors and abusers.

Feminism aims to end toxic stereotypes and to help all those who have fallen and continue to fall victim to these stereotypes. It provides a platform to the voiceless and a helping hand to the oppressed. It is a place of love and acceptance. Anyone that uses feminism to speak from a place of hatred is not a feminist. Anyone that uses feminism to justify attacking someone unjustly is not a feminist.

This movement is all that we have to ourselves; it is our rights and our hopes for the future, and it has supported a countless number of individuals. So before you dismiss it, before you put it in a box and stereotype it, take the time to educate yourself about what it really is. A few people here and there speaking ill in its name are not its truth, and do not speak for us. Do not generalize. Take everything you read with a grain of salt and do your research about the movement. In times like these, it is our responsibility, all of us, to make the effort to better ourselves and try to make the world a better place.

For more resources about feminism that cover a broad spectrum of what the movement is about, check out the Stanford Women’s Community Center page for feminist websites.

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