There are hundreds of misconceptions about feminism, all giving it a bad name. ¬†They’re all created by society, by those that are convinced that only white, upper class males are the ones that count. ¬†If you have a vagina; if you’re not white enough; if you don’t have enough money or you choose to follow your heart and not the path that’s been carved out for you, the majority don’t like it. ¬†They create lies; misconceptions that people convince themselves are true. ¬†This is why shows like QI¬†have a section called General Ignorance – just because people believe that something is true, that doesn’t make it so. ¬†Here’s a list of some of the most common misconceptions of feminism, and why they’re complete and total nonsense.
If we were talking about corsets, then I’d understand: corsets squish your internal organs together in an unnatural way to create the perfectly feminine figure, simultaneously making it difficult to breathe. ¬†Bras, on the other hand – whilst derived from corsets – serve a different purpose. ¬†Bras are all about¬†support. ¬†For larger-breasted ladies, thy’re a necessity if they don’t want to end up with back problems or having their boobs smack them in the face every time they run. ¬†Breasts can be just as much a woman’s best friend as they can her worst enemy. ¬†Bras are the mediator that ensure the two (or should I say three?) remain friends. ¬†Whether someone does or doesn’t choose to wear one has nothing to do with their feminist beliefs.
This one bugs me. ¬†Whilst I refer to myself as a feminist, I¬†hate¬†arguing with people. ¬†Being argumentative is a personality trait. ¬†Feminism is a way of thinking; a belief system. ¬†Personality traits aren’t tied to belief systems. ¬†That’s the kind of thinking and stereotyping that leads people to think that every Muslim is a terrorist; every Christian part of a cult; every glamour model an airhead.
As mentioned above, feminism isn’t a personality trait. ¬†Being feminine is. ¬†Just because you wear dresses, like pink or cute fluffy animals, that doesn’t mean you can’t be feminist, or that you’re any less of one because of the things that you like.
This is probably the most common misconception, possibly because the word is rooted from “feminine” or “female”. ¬†However, much like when “master” is used as a verb, it has nothing to do with gender. ¬†Feminism is about putting gender¬†aside¬†and treating everyone equally. ¬†It’s a synonym of gender equality, but it’s treated more like a dysphemism.
If you’re striving for equality, you don’t want one person to be treated better than the other because of what lies between their legs. ¬†Whilst women and men will never be exactly the same, equality should be like yin and yang: neither one is seen as less than the other, and differences are embraced; you cannot have one without the other.
A part of me struggles to work out where this one comes from, but I guess if you’re of the “feminists think women are better than men” belief, then you’d instantly think that they¬†hate¬†men. ¬†Feminists don’t hate men, however. ¬†In fact, they probably like men a lot more than anti-feminists because they don’t see them as leaders, they see them as¬†equals and when you see someone as your equal, it’s the ultimate sign of respect.
Men can be feminists too! ¬†It’s shocking, isn’t it? ¬†You see, the thing about¬†real¬†feminism – as mentioned in the other points – is that it’s not all about hating men, thinking women are better than men, or being argumentative. ¬†It’s about knowing that life isn’t fair, and wanting people to be treated equally no matter what lies between their legs in all aspects, whether it be politically, financially or socially.
This one drives me crazy. ¬†If feminism wasn’t needed anymore, then why are so many women still damaged physically and psychological by domestic violence? ¬†And why are rape jokes still ok, when rape is one of the most vile things a woman can go through, and still acceptable in some cultures? ¬†Women aren’t the only targets of rape of course (although the majority of survivors are women), but that’s the point in equality – ¬†nobody deserves to be raped. ¬†Ever. ¬†EVER.
If feminism was no longer needed, then, in the twenty first century, a woman in India wouldn’t have been gang raped on a bus on the way home from the cinema, nor would she have died from the injuries that she sustained. ¬†It should not take extreme circumstances like these to get people to realise that rape still happens, and that it can do serious damage to a person. ¬†Not only that, but women would not be scared, ashamed or embarrassed to report when they have been raped and get justice for what happened to them, as well as preventing it from happening in the future. ¬†Nor would people – men¬†and¬†women – say that it’s the woman’s fault for dressing¬†this way or saying¬†that. ¬†Not all of us dress to catch the eye of the opposite sex – shocking, I know – some of us wear things because¬†we like it. ¬†What someone wears is not an invitation to anything (except maybe a compliment).
Just because you can’t see something working, or you feel that it doesn’t affect you, that doesn’t mean that it’s not necessary. ¬†Saying that feminism isn’t needed because it doesn’t affect¬†you¬†is a very selfish way of thinking indeed.
This is the misconception that gets to me the most. ¬†Celebrities are role models, whether they like it or not, and when they refuse to be called “feminist” it doesn’t help its bad reputation. ¬†Whilst I am huge fans of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift’s music, I don’t agree with them turning their nose up when asked if they, or their music, are feminist. ¬†Amusingly, Taylor Swift says this: “I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.” ¬†This clearly shows that she has no idea what feminism is actually about,¬†because that’s the definition of feminism.
There are plenty of other celebrities who refuse to accept that they are feminist, and immediately go into defence mode at such heinous accusations. ¬†Very few have the gumption to stand up for what they believe in¬†and the intelligence to¬†read a dictionary instead of going along with what society insists a word means (which is sad, because that’s how we end up with words like “irregardless”). ¬†People are so scared by what other people think, they go by society’s definition of words instead of the dictionary definition of them, and, whilst the meaning of words¬†can¬†- and does – change over time, the actual meaning of feminism hasn’t changed, but what it means to the everyday person has been altered by extreme feminists, anti-feminists and narrow-minded individuals who seek to vilify anyone who strives for equality.