BY: VAIBHAVI MENON
When they hear the word “Feminist,” most people think of a bunch of angry women who believe that they are better than men. By definition the word “feminist” means “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” Feminists are not just women who stand outside buildings demanding things. In reality they have revolutionized today’s society and have improved the lives of many. Most rights that women have today derived from true feminists fighting for equality. Feminism has lost its true meaning. Real feminists such as the Suffragettes, Eleanor Roosevelt, Barbara Walters, and so many more have made it possible for women to become news anchors, be more than just a housewife, or allow women to vote.
Today’s feminists have taken these remarkable women and twisted what they stood for. Women have turned against men. Past feminism changed society forever. Today, feminists believe that men are less superior and that women could live on the Earth without them, but that is not what true feminism is. True feminism allows women to be equal to men. True feminists make it possible for women to work the same jobs as men or have the right to own property like men. Although the basis of feminism is still the same, it has become a more aggressive movement. Instead of bringing men and women together as a united front, it has created an even bigger gap throughout the United States. Today’s feminism isn’t making the same progress or spreading the same message. There are still other problems that feminism could fix, but if we don’t use feminism the right way then we won’t be fixing anything. If we continue to misuse feminism then we really will be just a bunch of angry women protesting outside of buildings. The definition, as I have spent my life believing it to be, is the belief that men and women should have equal social, political, and economic rights and opportunities. I do think that that is the most inclusive definition of what feminism is about. It’s about equality for both men and women and a playing field that respects the voices of women. True equality, true feminism is recognition of the dynamics that each person brings to the table. And I say “each person” because women will have reached truest levels of equality when men also have truest levels of equality. As long as we stay and assign task and duty, responsibility and opportunity to a particular gender, then we are not actually striving for true feminism.
I think at that time there was such an imbalance of power that you had to recognize the need to at least get some balance of power to women, some recognition that women should have choices and opportunities outside of the home, and in the home itself. Today we recognize that true feminism is the true equality of both sexes, without it being limited or restricted. And we actually have more young men and young women growing up today that have been raised in more feminist households, where men and women do a share of work in the house. They both have opportunities for education and for job opportunities. Jobs are not labeled for men and for women. There’s still not true equality and there’s still true job segregation. But in that context, there was a time in the late 60’s and early 70’s when the term feminism started growing and when and the Ms. Foundation started that there was a true segregation. And now I think the feminist movement had to take on “the women’s movement,” the women’s perspective so that it could get to a mainstream conversation.