In today’s world of social media, complex concepts like feminism are taken way out of context and projected as something they are not. Alternate facts and news spread like wildfire and become viral, which contributes to the formation of wrong opinions.
Being a feminist by basic denotation means standing for equal rights of both men and women, not just women, in a social, economical, educational, or a political arrangement. The term “feminism” resembles “feminine” because of the high prevalence of a patriarchal, male dominated society. Feminism as a concept can be looked at in a simple manner, in terms of affirmative action. It seeks to provide and empower women with rights they previously lacked. Social rights may include right to education which many girls are deprived of in third world countries, right to housing, right to adequate standard of living, right to health, and right to culture. Economical rights may include bridging the pay gap between men and women. All these basic rights can only be achieved if both men and women have equal participation. The words “superiority” or “dominance” are contradictory to the concept of feminism. Feminism understands the privilege and patriarchy that governs us in the status quo. It is about seeing the lesser rights of those without privilege and spreading awareness for equality of opportunity. It is for those women all around the world whose voices cannot be heard.
A lot of people’s idea of the word “feminist” comes from the extremes that are shown largely throughout the community via social media and stereotypes. The “feminazis” that people associate with the word “feminism” are not at all what the word stands for. Today’s feminism has sadly been widely mistaken with feminazism. If it were actually about equality and not about dominance over men, then more women and men alike would identify with it. The word feminazi is used by the powerful against the weak to silence them. Words that exploit visceral associations to the Nazis and Stalinists slander feminists as the enemy because they dispute the patriarchal status quo.
The common misconception about the term feminism is a danger to the progress the movement has made thus far. The need of the hour is to create awareness, rather than to act passively about it. Many people stray away from controversial concepts like feminism, which in the long run contributes positively towards inequality and injustice.
Feature Image Credits: The New Matilda