Feminism is one of the most misunderstood terms, and this misunderstanding has people thinking that feminists are either man-hating hypocrites, or that they’re deluded women demanding for respect with nothing to back them up. Just for the record, feminism is advocating for equal rights for men and women. If you believe in gender equality, you are a feminist. If you’re arguing semantics, like wondering why equality can’t just be called equality and not feminism, it is because the movement initially started because of female oppression, and the act of raising females up to an equal standing had coined the term. The idea remains now that people of all genders have the right to be treated equally. However, even people who consider themselves feminists can have the wrong idea of feminism. Some thoughts and actions can directly contradict the feminist philosophy, and a feminist who promotes the wrong idea stalls the efforts of people who are fighting for equality. Even the best of us can sometimes go wayward, though, so keep these points in mind. They can seem like feminism on the surface, but they certainly aren’t, and do more harm than good:
Though the term feminism refers to women, the idea of feminism is complete equality. In today’s world, there are so many marginalized groups, like transgender people, men of marginalized identities, LGB people, and non-binary people. These groups face oppression and discrimination on a daily basis, so it is important fight for them too. Equality is for everyone, not just women.
Being A “Nice Guy”
A lot of men who identify as a “nice guy” think they’re feminists because they too believe in equality, but they also get really angry when women/trans people/gay men don’t date them for being nice. This really isn’t feminism though, because no one owes you a date or a relationship for being nice. Being able to understand and respect someone’s choice of who they want to date and who they DON’T want to date is important.
People automatically assume that when a woman is in power, the fight for feminism is over. This is hardly ever the case. Take for example, Ivanka Trump. Though she is a woman in power, she supports and works for a man who believes in openly oppressing and discriminating against people for their skin color, gender, and origin. Aung San Suu Kyi is a power politician in Myanmar, but she has not spoken against the atrocities committed against minority groups that face violent discrimination every day. A powerful women does not automatically become a feminist, and a woman in power does not indicate a feminist victory.
Feminism As A Fashion Statement
The internet is filled with trinkets for fiery feminists that want to show their place in the movement, and while there is nothing wrong with this, some messages aren’t always in line with the feminist philosophy. Messages like “Male Tears” on cups, or “Pussy Privilege” on your T-Shirt can send out the wrong message to other people about what feminism stands for. Moreover, making sure that you’re buying ethical products that show your feminist status can also be a great boost for overall social justice.
Feminism To Boost Your Image
Many people want to claim that they are feminists on their dating profile, and while this person can be great, there are still people who don’t practice what they want to preach. Identifying as a feminist is almost a “trendy” thing to do, and a lot of men and women are attracted to such people, but once they really get to know the said “feminist”, it isn’t always the case.
Advocating Only For The Privileged
When fighting for a someone’s equal rights, it is also important to know the other factors that can be affecting how oppressed they are. For example, a black women doesn’t just face oppression for being a woman, but also because her race can be a factor in how she is treated by other people. Other factors like ethnicity, social class, and ability for example can also play a part in how oppressed people feel. Intersectional feminism considers all the subtle and not so subtle factors that can affect people in different ways.
Being Extremely Sexual
Finally, too many people believe that being brazenly sexy is the epitome of feminism. The freedom to be sexy and to express yourself in the way you want is certainly a feminist point, but even a woman in a burka can be a strong feminist. Women who take naked selfies, or openly talk about their sexual encounters can certainly be feminists, but this isn’t the only method of being a feminist. The idea that how sexy you are automatically elevates your status can be a misleading, and doesn’t support what feminism believes.