Shara Trott | goldthelabel.com
Okay, so it’s no secret that I am a certified and card carrying ambassador of the feminist movement. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve been obsessed with social injustice in society, taking a special interest in issues affecting women and girls all over the world. If you follow me on any social media platform, I’m sure you’re tired of my thousands of feminist post and I would love to tell you that I plan on stopping flooding your Instagram feeds with my feminist sentiments but that would be a lie. Being that my life pretty much revolves around feminism, it is still so shocking when I am reminded daily that most people still have no idea what feminism really is.
I’ve been single for a long time but for the past year I’ve been in a relationship with an amazing man who has changed my life in more ways than one. Once friends, family and acquaintances started to find out about our relationship I started to hear a lot of weird, albeit intentionally congratulatory, statements. Like, “OMG I’m so happy for you! I thought you hated men!” or “So does this mean you’re no longer a feminist since you’re in a relationship with a man?”
Now, I think I have a pretty good sense of humor and I like a joke just as much as the next girl. Obviously being so open with my particular I’ve heard my fair share of feminist jokes, most of which I can have a giggle about and move on with my daily agenda of fighting misogyny and patriarchy. However, now being in a relationship with a man and hearing the sentiments of people surrounding me I have come to the realization that there was a bit of truth in every feminist joke about man hating. Which then lead to the further realization that most people have no idea what feminism really is. And if you’re reading this then it is your lucky day, because right here and right now I am going to dispel all of the most common myths and misconceptions of feminism. So please read, be informed and spread the word! Here we go:
Myth#1: Feminism is about “man-hating”.
I cannot begin to describe how untrue this statement it. Feminism has absolutely NOTHING to do with man-hating. To be honest, I don’t even know what “man hating” entails but I can assure you that feminism is not a part of it. Feminism is about equality. That’s it. At its core, feminism is no different than any other movement that seeks equality for all human beings such as: civil rights, LGBTQ rights, rights for immigrants/ immigrant workers, or even the Black Lives Matter movement. Yes, the movement is pro-women but pro-women does NOT mean “anti-men”.
Myth#2: Only women can be feminists.
I feel like this is one of biggest misconceptions about feminism; that it is this secret exclusive club only reserved for women and built on the foundation of excluding men. Simply not true. I challenge you to look up the definition of the words “feminist” or ‘feminism”. No matter what dictionary or online dictionary you look those words up in you will NEVER see any mention of having to identify as a specific gender to be a feminist. A feminist is someone who believes in social, political, legal and economic equality between the sexes. So if you truly believe that all humans are created equal, then congratulations! You’re a feminist! There are plenty of men who identify as feminists such as President Obama, Jay-Z, John Legend and Ashton Kutcher to name a few. As we inform more people of the true meaning of the word “feminist”, more people both men and women are starting to take pride in saying they are a part of such an important social movement and I think that is a beautiful thing.
Myth#3: Feminists are pro-abortion and want to “kill babies”
Pardon me if I get emotional during this explanation because this is one particular misconception about feminism that REALLY boils my blood. I realize that the topic of abortion is still taboo in today’s society and most people are reluctant to talk about the truths of abortion (even though it seems to be a major topic of political debate and most of the people debating the issue do not have a uterus nor the ability to bear children but I digressJ). My intent here is not to sway anyone either way on this topic. I have my opinions on the subject and I can respect any other viewpoint on the issue. I’m just here to clarify what it means to be “pro-choice” or “pro-life”. I don’t even like the term “pro-life” which is the term used to describe people who are decidedly against abortion. My issue with that classification is that if people who are against abortion are considered pro-life it implies that people who support a woman’s right to choose are then considered pro-death or pro-killing which isn’t the case at all. Being pro choice means you respect every woman’s right to make decisions about her own body and her own life. So that means if you decide that having a baby at a particular moment in time is not the right decision for you for whatever reason, I support you. It also means that if you want to have the baby and 50 others, I support that too. The key word here is CHOICE. Yes, feminists like myself advocate for women who wish to terminate their pregnancies without judgment or scrutiny but we also advocate for women who choose not to terminate to keep and raise their babies. So basically, when it comes to the topic of abortion, whatever you choose to do, I and every other feminist support your decision.
Myth#4: Feminism denounces and looks down on domestic workers/ stay at home mothers
Now this? This could not be further from the truth. Feminism does not look down on the “traditional” ideal of family. We just welcome all other forms of families as well. Feminism is about equality and choice. If a person identifies as a true feminist that means they respect the choices of all women. Domestic work is VALID work and shaming women for choosing to be traditional is not what feminism is about. If anything, feminist fight to change the way the world perceives domestic work and to change this idea that domestic work is solely “women’s work”. The model of family is changing to adapt to the way the world is changing. There are plenty of families that have stay at home dads and women working outside the home. A woman who works outside the home should not be seen as above a woman who chooses to work inside the home we are all equal and all work is valid work. Never let anyone man or woman shame you or any other woman who chooses to be “traditional” and vice versa. A woman regardless of whether she is a wife or a mother is no less of a woman for joining the workforce. Being a feminist means supporting a woman’s right to choose/make her own path in life whether it be traditional or otherwise.
Myth#5: Feminism only serves the interests of women
SO NOT TRUE!!!!! This is one message that I hope is conveyed VERY clearly by this piece. Although derived from the word ‘female’, feminism serves the interests of ALL humans meaning that men can benefit from feminism as well. Feminism frees men of toxic masculinity that society projects onto men telling them that they are not allowed to feel any emotion besides anger. Feminism is the reason we can have two income households so that the financial burden of raising a family is no longer solely on the shoulders of men. Feminism is the reason we have access to contraceptive devices. Feminism is the reason we have sexual education in schools. Feminism is how we fight to protect your wives and daughters and sisters and mothers as they move around in society. Feminism is also how we empower them to protect themselves. I could go on but I’m sure you get the point of what I’m trying to say J.
So there you have it. In black and white, the most common myths about feminism dispelled right before your very eyes. Obviously there are many more myths and misconceptions about feminism that I would love to address here and now but in the interest of saving time and paper I’ll just leave you with these five truths and trust you all to spread the word.
Keep up with Shara via Instagram @thehyperfemininefeminist
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