A Deeply Misunderstood Eight Letter Word
Why is there so much support for equality for women and men and so much fear of the word that describes this belief, feminism. Let me try my hand at some explanations and hopefully,in that process, cure this phobia in you all. Here is the faulty thinking that may be causing this cognitive impairment.
1.The mistaken belief that only women can be feminists. Many men identify as feminists and subscribe to the belief of equality. Many men have the strength and concern to want their female partners to be equal to them. This is 2015 after all. Also many men have relationships with partners, mothers and daughters and want them all to be treated with respect and to be offered the same opportunities in life as anyone else.
2. The mistaken belief that feminism is only for White, middle class women. The feminist movement, in all its aspects, has taken up the issue of diversity unequivocally, passionately and internationally. In many ways, feminism is more robust and more respected inyernationally than in the U.S. and Canada currently.
3. The mistaken belief that feminism is only for women who work outside the home. Feminism actually emphasizes women’s right to choose how to live their lives and also to be flexible about these choices at various times of life.
4. The mistaken belief that one must be an activist to be a feminist. Not any more true than thinking one must run for office to be a Democrat or Republican.
5. The mistaken belief that feminists hate men and heterosexuality. The terms “feminazi” and “male bashing” were developed by extreme right wing media pundits who want to stop feminism. Distortion and ridicule, as we know, are two of the most potent ways of doing that. It is dangerous to believe everything that the media tells us.
6.The mistaken belief that feminism is no longer necessary as all its goals have been accomplished. Please look at the statistics on violence, sexual assault on campus and off, trafficking of women and girls, etc., etc.
The mistaken belief that all feminists are lesbians, also perpetrated bythe media. Although there are many lesbians who declare themselves feminists, there are actually more heterosexual women who self-identify as feminists and as activists. Also there are increasingly more alternative self-identifications being offered instead of maintain the traditional binary.
Finally, I would be delighted to hear from my readers on other mistaken beliefs or stereotypes that I have not covered and that are of importance to you. This blog belongs to all of us.