Why are Feminists looked down upon in society?

Blessing Bunhu is a student at Humber College.

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Is there something wrong with modern feminism? First of all, let’s begin by stating what a feminist is. According to Webster, a feminist is someone who wants both males and females to have equal opportunities in society. Feminists want to empower equality for females all around the world against male prejudice. When I look at feminism, I think of equality for the minorities in the developing world, which are usually female. But at the same time it makes me wonder, is feminism really about equality for both genders?

Feminist movements have campaigned for women’s rights which includes the right to vote, to be educated, pay equality and equal rights within marriage.  Feminists have helped to protect women and had changed history for women to have a better future. I am a big fan of feminists; they inspire me to become one and they have helped to shape and change how society has viewed women in the past. As a feminist, I am afraid to say the f-word in public, because it has a lot of negative connotation that surrounds the word “feminist”.

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People tend to avoid saying or identifying themselves as a feminist, in fact, they tend to avoid the word as if it is some sort of virus that can spread. When people think of a feminist, they think of us as being male hater, and anti-family. There are so many stereotypes that have been portrayed by the media. With the help of the media, feminists are framed as people who are fighting for special gender-specific privileges for women rather than equality opportunity for both genders in society.

 

As I mentioned before I am afraid to identify myself as a feminist in public and I am not the only one who feels the same. Beyoncé has written an essay about feminist and songs that empower women and girls to stand up for their rights. “I’ve always considered myself a feminist, although I was always afraid of that word because people put so much on it,” said Beyoncé. “When honestly, it’s very simple. It’s just a person that believes in equality for men and women. Men and women balance each other out, and we have to get to a point where we are comfortable with appreciating each other.” I believed that feminism brings sisterhood together and that both men and women are fighting for their rights against prejudices.

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The feminist groups have become more complicated to identify in society.  Feminism has become a different ideology from what it used to stand for. People choose not to became a feminist because they fear the idea that feminist represents gender equality for women, but has failed to represent men as well. “People have very legitimate reasons to reject feminism,” says, Sheila Sampath, a Toronto-based race and gender activist. “It doesn’t surprise me that the narrative they’re responding to is the dominant narrative. That narrative itself is pretty racist, pretty capitalist and focused only on gender. To be honest, I reject that too.”

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But they’re feminists who had to keep on fighting for equality despite what the media and anti-feminists had said. Emma Watson publicly denounces herself as a feminist during her speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Emma Watson was assigned as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. She helped launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, in which calls men to help bring equality for women around the world. Emma Watson has helped promote education for girls in locally devolved countries.

I believe that men and women can be both feminists fighting for equality and if we all come together, we can make this world a better place. That’s what being a feminist means to me. So what does a feminist or being one mean to you? What is so wrong about today’s feminism that people are afraid to say the F-word in public?

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