Most people are feminists - it’s wonderful. It’s just that something’s gone wrong with the word feminism so that even some women wouldn’t admit to being one.
If you’ve ever had a female teacher you liked - you’re a feminist. If you’ve ever helped educate a girl - you’re a feminist. If you’ve ever respected a female colleague - you’re a feminist. If you wouldn’t dream of committing rape - you’re a feminist. If you’re still reading these words typed by a woman - you’re a feminist, because you believe I have a right to this voice.
Without feminism you wouldn’t think twice about treating women like animals. Animals you didn’t like very much.
Feminism is just believing that women should have the chance to be treated equal. It doesn’t mean an automatic pass to the top of the tree because we’re trying to make up for a previous imbalance - it just means opening your mind to the idea that women and men can achieve equally.
So why does feminism get so many people angry?
Firstly, I think some people don’t understand why we need feminism. They don’t see the imbalances in the world and they haven’t lived in a generation where women are openly and simply mistreated. It’s sometimes difficult to see the ways the world is geared towards men - how many things are harder not because women aren’t as good but because the task wasn’t created for a woman.
Career paths weren’t built with 2 year gaps in mind to conceive, carry, birth and nurse a child. The vast majority of sports played internationally are concepts designed and perfected on male players, leading to the notion that women are not as good because they have picked up the sport late and play it with different nuances. Marketing departments design and sell the idea that there’s a marked difference between the genders that it’s vitally important we uphold - despite having a civilisation that has the technology to advance past historically vital gender roles. These are just a few of the ways our world isn’t equal, and this is in the West where we are generations ahead of some societies.
Secondly, I think some noisy feminists give the whole concept a bad name. These "militant feminists" who hate men and refuse to shave their legs. Whether they exist or not, the caricature exists in the public's psychi enough to help people switch off whenever the "f" word crops up in conversation.
I think it’s important to understand that to be a feminist isn’t to hate men or blame men. Patriarchy is society’s development based on years of biological necessity and tradition - it’s not your Dad and brother being a git. You cannot empower women by degrading men and you can’t leapfrog intelligent men just to balance the genders - society needs to earn its balance and when it does men and women will benefit equally from standing shoulder to shoulder.
This is why I consider myself a Glorious Feminist - someone who sees feminism as a benefit for men and women alike. I won’t fight for feminism; I will talk for it, debate for it, persuade for it, prove for it, love for it and earn it. But no glorious feminist will fight.