Feminism. What exactly is it?
Technically, it's 'The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes,' according to the Oxford Dictionary. I think quite a lot of people would agree that this what feminism is, was, or should be about, but it seems to have gotten a little confusing recently. In fact, feminism has required a rather bad name for itself, often even seen as a joke. Sometimes, feminists have even been called 'terrorists'.
It seems, for some people, the word 'feminist' conjures a picture of a hairy, fat, man-hating woman banging on about women's rights. For others, celebrities such as Beyoncé are feminists because they are confident wearing very little clothes and believe in equality. To me, they're worlds apart, so I'm not surprised the real meaning of 'feminism' has been lost in translation somewhere.
"We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible." - Beyoncé
Agreed, Beyoncé, nice words.
But hang on, what about all those times you rubbed your arse cheeks on some glass tables, and down poles, and on walls and well...loads of places really... and writhed around in skimpy bikini's in order to sell your music? I'm pretty sure that's objectification, albeit by your own hand.
It's an unpopular opinion, I know. Sorry, Beyonce lovers.
It's a shame she has to do this, it undermines nearly everything she says.
It seems feminism now is a hypocritical, confusing term thrown about in order for people to provoke Tweeting wars. Any woman who has a strong opinion is called a 'feminazi' and is publicly shamed on social media. The internet age has allowed everyone to have their say, no matter how abusive it is.
I'd prefer a form feminism for everyone, an open door policy for all to get involved and treat everyone as equal. In fact, reading some of the Tweets on the hashtags #womenagainstfeminism and #spankafeminist, I think a lot of people who are anti-feminist seem like they are pro-gender equality. Maybe we're all actually on the same page here and should just stop arguing over the terminology. All this energy is really going in the wrong place.
So just say 'gender equality' if you prefer. Don't sweat over the words. Don't go crazy with your 'not all men' thing; I care about men's rights as much as women's, but the reason the focus has been on women is because that's where the discrimination is worse. Feminism, or gender equality, is as much for men as it is women. Women wouldn't have half the shit they have to deal with if men didn't have such pressure to be masculine, not ask for help, 'man up', be the 'provider' and so on.
The only way we'll really get anywhere is if we care about each other and work together to put our energy somewhere useful, not just into bickering over certain terminology.
I'd just like to live in a world where everyone is equal, where we have respect and compassion for one another. Sounds simple right? A lot of people want the same. I want to live in a world where a woman doesn't have to take her clothes off (or get told what to wear) to sell anything, or prove anything to anyone. Where people can accept each other the way they are. Some people would call this feminism, but if you don't want to, that's fine. Everyone has their own perception of feminism - not everyone is a radical man-blaming bitch, or a provocative pop-star. Ultimately we all just seem to be trying, in our own way, to make sure everyone is treated equally. So, how about we all stop picking at the words we use and just get on with making the world a better place?