Identify Yourself as a Feminist

Photo: ©2013 Jon Warren/World Vision

Photo: ©2013 Jon Warren/World Vision

I decided I wanted to work towards gender equality after taking a course my freshman year in college, Gender in the Global Perspective. The course showed me how women and girls around the world continue to struggle with gender-based violence, and we truly do not live in a gender equal world. Learning about these issues both saddened and motivated me to do something. Following that course I enrolled in a higher level gender course and my professor in this course truly fueled my passion for these issues. The first day of this class she asked the 40 some both male and female students if they identify themselves as “feminist” by a raise of hands. I recall raising my hand but soon feeling awkward for doing so when I was only accompanied by two or three other students. My professor followed this by asking who in the class believed in the equal rights of men and women. With this question every students raised their hand. My professor then claimed that if you believe in equality with men and women then by definition you are a feminist. If the majority of our society believes in gender equality then why is it that we defier from using the word “feminist” to identify this belief.

The word “feminist” has grown to come with many negative connotations. It is thought that feminists are “man haters” who want to be superior to men. These myths are of course far from the truth. The movement towards gender equality will only continue with support of the progression. Only one-fifth of Americans identify as feminists but the vast majority fit the basic definition of the world. Furthermore, thirty-seven percent of people consider feminist to be a negative term compared to the 26 percent who consider it a positive term. For various reasons, the word feminist now comes along with many false connotations. As someone who gets both inspiration and motivation from advances in gender equality I am curious how the term turned to be a detrimental one. Even though feminism has a clear definition, many people have come to defer from labeling themselves as a feminist. With that, there are varieties of interpretations that come along with the term. Many interpret it to be a term that puts women higher then men or that women desire to become masculine through this identity. If you believe in feminism, it means that you believe men and women deserve equal rights and that you reconqnize that this is currently not the case. If our society wants to ever truly gain gender equality we need to truly brace identifying as feminist. We can only change the injustices in both our backyard and globally if we sincerely establish our beliefs. If people start to use the term to describe their opinions around gender, it will help take away the myths currently surrounding the term. Imagine how stronger gender equality movements will become with this sort of backing? Help Strong Women, Strong World by spreading the facts around feminism and showing all good feminism can do!

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  1. […] Women, Strong World “feminist” work. This question initially puzzled me. I am someone who identifies beliefs as a feminist, but after being asked this question, I started to think about how the work organizations do […]

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