What is Feminism?

In our diverse and ever-changing society, the politically charged word “feminism” has been misused and misinterpreted countless amounts of times by many. However, the truth of the matter is that the word “feminism” should not be so politically charged because in simplest terms, feminism is equality. For centuries, women have constantly mistreated as subordinates to males, their only purpose often only being to do housework and bear children. Though a lot has changed since then, today’s society is still largely patriarchal. From the fight for suffrage during the late 19th century to the early 20th century, to today, women carry more prominence in society than they ever have before- but it is still not enough. Women are still objectified based on how what the wear and how they look, their professional qualities and skills often being overlooked by these superficial qualities.

When defining the word “feminism,” Merriam Webster Dictionary says, “ the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” When picking this definition apart, one would be able to see that feminism is still very much needed- just 20% of the United States’ Congress is made up of women, and 6.4% making up Forbes’ Fortune 500. Socially, women are constantly mistreated with many being harassed by the opposite gender on the streets through catcalling. With the growing number of sexual misconduct allegations against powerful men, the feminist philosophy is needed now more than ever- men need to take account for their actions and learn that no gender is more powerful than the other. In no way has this behavior ever been acceptable in everyday society, nor will it ever be in the future.

As an individual of both the male and feminist population, I believe in the equalization of both genders in opportunity and stopping the systematic oppression of women, that has been happening ever since history started being recorded. Feminism has taught me to listen more to my counterparts, as well as standing up for its values when they are misinterpreted. When the word is misinterpreted, the standard litany is recited: that feminism is the depreciation of men, that feminism is putting women above men, that feminism is just “women being women.” The philosophy stands for anything but these things- it is the compensation of all of the undeserved mistreatment women have experienced throughout history through the empowerment of all women. Society’s long history of misogyny, its undermining of the ability and potential of women, is still very much prevalent today. I know many men who refuse to be feminists because they see it as a sign of being effeminate. However, feminism is not feminine. As men, we must be able to support our female counterparts, friends and colleagues as the issue of gender equality becomes increasingly prevalent in today’s social and political conversation. One who supports the feminist philosophy fights for the rights of every person, regardless of gender, social status, or race. Everyone is aware of the social injustices against women, but what differentiates a feminist from one who just acknowledges that a problem exists is that a feminist is not afraid to defy societal norms to fight for equal rights for all people who experience oppression.

Hello, my name is Brian at Delaware Valley High School!

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