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What Is Feminism To You?

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To me, feminism is the Suffragettes. It’s Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s Maya Angelou. It’s Malala, and it’s Marie Curie, and it’s the thousands and millions who go out each year and rally or defend women’s rights because they feel we deserve it – men, that goes to you too.

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It is not some miserable movement where we all just mock men for missing their almighty power. It is not some idiotic idea where we all sit idle in a room and invest time in insignificant details. Feminism is some kind of fantastic flow of feelings and our ability to help the men who sit beside us, hand-by-hand, and it’s an amazing movement to place yourself with.

Dictionary.com defines feminism as “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” In our third wave of feminism, our first and second simply opening so many doors that had be unrightfully locked before women, we – while defending the rights of other minorities/prejudiced groups – sometimes fear this name.

I, for a fact, know the people around me are less than supportive in the fight for women’s rights, being asked ‘What are you, a f***ing feminist?” when choosing to defend myself and the women around me. And I feared this name for a very long time. I feared its ability to invalidate every opinion I make based on the fact that I’m some bizarre person for believing that women deserve every right that a man has been handed on a silver platter since the beginning of time.

At no point has feminism been an excuse to complain and complain and complain over the years of prejudice, injustice, and disrespect towards us. At no point have we ever used feminism to deliberately make all of society’s men fall to their knees, begging for forgiveness. At no point has a feminist ever used feminism to get their way or prove their point. Despite this, we are constantly given a reputation that we lie, we cheat, and we modify facts to make men feel bad.

However, this image of ‘feminism’ has been very inaccurately depicted by radical feminists. A broad generalisation, there’s a small section of the website that continually fails the definition, yet they receive the credit. Free-bleeding, refusing to shave, constantly trying to condemn men the same way women have been condemned, these ‘movements’ all go against the exact points that feminism attempt to make. A radical’s definition makes feminism look like so much more than the constant rallies, and protests, and petitions, and we lose the strength our sisters have spent hundreds of years fighting for. Radical feminism makes us look weak and juvenile, like we’re attempting to subject males to the disrespect we’ve felt for far too long.

These feminists are viewed as a joke by men. As good a person’s intentions, it will constantly be overlooked by a feminist’s ability to call themselves a feminist, and their appearance can damage a lot when it comes to creating an audience.

The Washington Post conducted a survey that, with 100 entrants, 67% of men voted ‘not a feminist’, ‘no opinion’, or ‘anti-feminist’. On the contrary, ‘strong feminist’ and ‘feminist’ had 60% of the women participants. How are we meant to make any progress with men when they’re the ones refusing to help us?

Feminism is a just movement, relying solely on the kindness of all genders, sexualities, and races to prove that we do deserve so much more than the way we’ve been treated the last few hundred years. This whole ‘war’ is solely in place due to years of institutionalised sexism, and man’s inability to agree with women in the fact that it exists is where it starts.

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