Feminism. FEMINISM. Women for women. MEN for women. People fighting for the cause of PEOPLE.
In today’s day and age, the word feminism is used in lots of different ways. It can be viewed as a “dirty” word. But it can also be hugely empowering.
What do you think feminism means? What image do you have in your head about what it means to be a feminist? I have some friends that hear the word feminism and automatically think of super-butch lesbians with short haircuts marching topless down city streets picketing for the cause of women. I know some people who think that people who are feminists think that WOMEN ARE BETTER THAN MEN, GOSH DANG IT, LET’S LET THEM TRAMPLE MEN!!
Really? C’mon guys. That is NOT what feminism is.
But, what does the word ACTUALLY mean? Let’s take a look.
Google thinks that feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
According to Mirriam-Webster, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.
Urban Dictionary says that feminism is the belief that women are and should be treated as potential intellectual equals and social equals to men. These people can be either male or female human beings, although the ideology is commonly (and perhaps falsely) associated mainly with women.
Hmmm. That’s interesting. Feminism is NOT the notion that women are better than men. Feminists aren’t JUST super-butch topless lesbians. Feminism is the concept of GENDER EQUALITY. Feminism is the notion that men and women ARE EQUAL, and were created EQUAL. A feminist is someone who believes in having gender equality be an actual thing. A feminist doesn’t HAVE to be a woman; in fact, the biggest feminist I know personally is none other than my loving father.
I don’t know about you, but in my book feminism = HUMANITY.
So, I don’t think you were wondering whether or not I am a feminist, but in case you WERE wondering, YES! I am a feminist. With every fiber of my being, I BELIEVE THAT ALL HUMANS WERE CREATED EQUAL!
I come from a very religious background. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or as everyone knows us, the Mormon church. I was born into a Mormon family, but we were very nontraditional (and still are, for that matter). Yes, we attended church on a regular basis, yes, we donated 1/10th of our money to the church as a tithe, no, we didn’t drink coffee or alcohol or tea (except for herbal tea). In many ways, we were very traditional; however, my mother was not a stay-at-home mom, like women in the Mormon church are encouraged to be. My parents both worked several jobs at the same time in order to provide life for my older brother and I. My mother worked her butt off EVERY DAY (and still does). Both of my parents taught me the value of hard work. Ever since I was a little girl, my parents taught me to be a power-house woman, and that I could achieve ANYTHING that I put my mind to. I was raised to understand that I am EQUAL to men. I have the capacity to do the things that they do, and that I am just as intelligent, just as qualified, just as good as the men around me. My parents are so wonderful.
Meanwhile at church, I was taught that a woman’s “role” is to stay home and take care of and raise the children while the man was out working hard to provide for them. I was taught that a woman’s rightful place was within the walls of a home and that the most influence she could have in life would be on her children. Whenever I would hear this in church, I would think to myself, “But, my Momma works every day. She provides for me too. She doesn’t have to stay home in order to take care of me. She can work just like Daddy can.” From a very young age, I remember being aware of the gender-based injustices that were prevalent within the Mormon church.
As I have grown up, I have become even more aware of gender inequality, and not just within the context of my religious affiliation. Everywhere I look, I can see it; within the work-force, at school, among my friends, among my colleagues. There are little inequalities within my own life that happen every single day, and to be quite frank, it makes me very sad.
You might be wondering what the point of all of this is. Honestly, I’m not sure I even know. However, I know that I am passionate enough about this subject to write about it every week. I know that I want to help people understand why it’s necessary to have gender equality. Feminism isn’t a dirty word, and I want to help people understand what it really, truly means, as a concept in it’s most basic form: equality. Love. Respect. Recognition.
To me, that’s what it’s all about. :)