Feminism vs the 21st Century

Lily Reavis, Senior Writer

Video: The Prospector’s Lily Reavis interviews (in order of appearance): Savannah Riley (12), Brennan McLaren (11), Sean Crossno (12), Valerie Karr (11), social studies teacher Mr. Jones, Sam Bishop (11), Noah Sobeck (9), Maddie Dayhoff (11), Mikayla Hobbs (12), Aubrey Hall (9), Mia Elliott (11), and Hannah Kimmett (11). 

Feminism is the advocacy for equality between all genders. However, popular culture has morphed it into something it’s not. Nowadays, it is considered an aggressive term. Many times, people will say that they are all for equality, but would not consider themselves a feminist. What they fail to realize, however, is that they are exactly the same thing.

A term that has begun appearing in pop culture recently is “Tumblr Feminist”. These are considered angry, agressive, man-hating women that rant on the social media site Tumblr. However, upon searching the term “Feminism” in Tumblr, the first two results were pages entitled “Who Needs Feminism” and “Women Against Feminism” . Both of these pages were filled with the content expected. “Women Against Feminism” was riddled with pictures of women holding up signs that read “I do no need feminism because…”. Each sign was filled in with reasons such as “Some of my most treasured friends are men, and I will not stand by while they get discriminated unfairly” or “It’s hurting men AND it’s not helping women”.

Despite what these tumblr pages seem to believe, feminism is not man-hating. Somewhere along the lines, the difference between advocacy for equal rights and misandry became blurred. Misandry is blatant hatred against men, while feminism is working towards equal rights for all genders, including men. It does not shame any gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, as it is attempting to achieve equality between all of those divisons. Additionally, all genders can identify as a feminist. Despite its feminine-sounding title, it is not an inherently feminine word. The term is “feminism” and not “equality” due to centuries of oppression that have caused women to need feminism more than men do. However, everyone benefits from feminism, and both men and women need it.

Women benefit from feminism because it grants them equal rights to other genders. This includes closing the wage gap, which, despite popular belief, definitely still exists. White women make $0.78 to the dollar on a white man. It is even worse for women of differing races.

Women do approximately 66% of the world’s work, but only own about 1% of the world’s land. Throughout the world, especially in third-world countries, women work as farmers or caretakers to land that they do not own. They are responsible for childbearing, raising those children, farming, and feeding their families, yet they have yet to own their own land to do so on.

Approximately 35% of women worldwide have experienced some sort of physical abuse. In the United States alone, it is estimated that one in six women suffer from rape, along with one out of every thirty-three men. Due to the high cost of rape recovery treatment, fear of the attacker or fear of social judgement, only 32% of rapes are reported. Less that 9% of rapists end up going to jail. In the United States, approximately 83% of high school girls have experienced some sort of sexual harassment in public schools. Most domestic violence cases are committed against women aged 12-17. Women need feminism because equality means justice.

Men need feminism because it relays the message that masculinity does not equal power. That is to say that feminism allows men to be as masculine of feminine as they desire without being labelled “girly”. It provides support for men with differing sexualities. On top of that, it allows men who have experienced abuse to speak out without being considered “not man enough”. It allows justice for crimes against all genders.

Feminism is the advocacy for equal rights between all genders. It is a movement to grant equality in social, economic, and personal areas of life. It is not man-hating or creating female supremacy. If our culture continues perpetuating these false ideas about feminism, we will never achieve equality. We will never establish a safe society where all genders are treated equally and fairly. Without actively denying these stereotypes, we are strengthening the patriarchy.