A Simple Definition of Feminism

Sara Nassif
Perspectives Writer

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Feminism is advocating for women’s rights and asking for equal rights for no matter a person’s gender. Feminism has a long history; it has started since the earliest stage of human civilization. The history of feminism is eventful and mesmerizing, starting from fighting for women’s suffrage, to marches, to the MeToo movement, and still more feminist events are still happening.
There is a show called “Mrs. America ” that discusses the feminism movement and the equal rights amendments during the 1970s. As feminism evolved throughout the years, it added new values to it, focused on major issues women faced in each era, and went through different waves that fought for different rights for women. There are three main waves of feminism: the 1st wave was concerned with women’s right to vote, the 2nd wave was a liberation movement for equal social rights, and the 3rd wave embraced concepts such as diversity and the importance of individualism; it reinstated the definition of being a feminist.

The idea of feminism emerges from a beautiful thoughtful concept that asks for the basics and demands justice, however as the world keeps changing there have been several misconceptions about feminism and what it really means. With the rise of the coronavirus, it is even easier to forget what the purpose of feminism was. Most people think of rebellious women that want to change the world when they hear the term “feminist”. It is true that feminism was a revolutionary movement that waited for a change, despite that, the term “feminism” does not end there. Some people even think of a bunch of anti-men women when they hear the word “feminist”, this is one example of an ignorant misconception. Feminism is not “anti-men”, but it is asking for equal rights for men and women. This would include the home life and care work. Women do not always have to do those roles and it can be shared with men as well. As everyone remains locked in their homes, it is a good time to split the responsibility of maintaining the house amongst everyone there. This would include care for their children as well.

Feminism today still has the same objectives and demands equality for all genders in different ways; it also has a more applicable meaning that empowers women. In today’s world feminism is about being the woman you want to be, being successful in what you choose to be, and not waiting for approval by society because what you are doing is not the norm. When thinking of feminism in today’s world it also means girls supporting each other and empowering one another. With the coronavirus here, it has become difficult to support one another and it has impacted everyone’s livelihoods. Instead of equal impact on both males and females, it has become a case of who should be impacted more. Both are able to work, but who takes care of the family while the other continues to work from home.

By being a feminist, it doesn’t mean you need to change the world and only advocate for the major issues women issues such as the gender pay gap, being feminist is about making a difference on a personal level. We often get so caught up on the term “change the world” that we forget we can each make a difference on our own. One way to make a difference is by not shaming other women. It is too easy to get caught up and judge other women based on what they are wearing, who they are with, and their past or current sexual relations. An easy way to advocate for feminism is to start there, to not shame other women, to not fall into this trap of shaming/judging other women. Making a difference starts from simple things like to avoid shaming women, or supporting other women by helping build them up. There is no doubt that some successful women in some positions are being doubted because the tasks they perform are usually done by men. Keeping an open mind and being prone to change is also another way to make a difference.

For society to experience a change and be more understanding of feminism in its simpler terms it is a must that we raise awareness of the simple things we can do individually that can make a difference. The idea of changing the world, and speaking up or being rebellious against injustice has granted us many rights we have today. The changes we can make towards feminism on a personal level would be to raise awareness against shaming other women and all its negative consequences on people. The world is changing and women are going places, taking jobs that men used to do before. It is also important to encourage other women and support them by providing a safe environment for them and this can be done by having more female role models.

Feminism is a revolutionary term that has granted women several rights over the generations, however feminism is also about supporting other women and being open to changes that women can make. It is about supporting each other and not trying to tear each other down. It is true that feminists want equal pay and opportunities to progress in the workplace as men. However, they want a balance as well with the responsibilities at home and not always given the stay-at-home treatment.