- the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
MYTH: Feminism supports the notion that women are greater than men.
TRUTH: Feminism advocates the EQUALITY of women and men.
As a woman, I walk in constant fear of sexual harassment.
I am only 15 years old; my friends are the same age, and half of them have been sexually assaulted in some form. When I was 13 years old, I noticed that the compliments I received were no longer flattering or favorable such as “you’re pretty” or “nice shirt”. They turned into degrading, demeaning phrases such as “hey sexy” or “nice body”. I was seen as an object, not a person. I was seen as a symbol of weakness and sexuality instead of strength and power. I was no longer the same little girl, I was an object to look at.
Shortly after this realization hit me, I knew something had to change. I knew that if a man whistled at me, I would not acknowledge him, because I am not a dog. I knew that if a man ever called me sexy, I would not smile as if it were a complement, instead I would walk away because that is a word meant for grown women to hear from their significant others, not teenage girls to hear from men on the streets. I knew that If a man were to force himself on me, I would do everything in my power to get him off of me and get him arrested, because his assault was not because my outfit was too revealing, it was because this man was taught that it’s in his nature to act this way.
I knew that If I was judged for wearing a certain outfit or showing too much skin, I would speak my mind. I would tell whoever is blaming me for “distracting” teen boys, that what they are seeing is just a body; everyone has one, so why should I spend all of my time trying to find skirts to cover my knees? I knew that I would refuse to be oppressed. I will not cover myself up to please anyone. I will not obey the irrational demands of someone from ANY gender, not just men. I am who I am and I will not live in shame.
Now, feminism –as a movement- is important for many reasons. For years, women have been denied basic political and social rights, such as not being able to vote. Originally the movement strove to give women equality to men in the political/economic world. Now, third wave feminism also strives for more of a moral equality (modesty and emotional issues) such as the way we express our emotions or dress, yet it also still holds the same notion as it always has: equality. Feminism obviously is in support of females, but it also benefits men in many different ways. Many movements that involve feminism have proved this, such as research into topics like “toxic masculinity”, and HeforShe.
One of the reasons I support of feminism is because not only have I seen the effects of inequality, I have felt them. As a child, I was always ridiculed for playing in the mud. I wasn’t ridiculed by my parents -of course- because they share my beliefs, but by bystanders. I was always stared at and talked snidely about for being dirty and wearing “boys clothes”. My brother on the other hand, was called out and shamed for playing dolls with me, and I was so confused because playing in the dirt made me extremely happy, and playing with dolls put a smile on my brothers face. I never understood why I had to wear pretty clothes and why he had to be “masculine” to please others.
As I’ve grown to study this movement, I asked a few lovely people why they as individuals needed feminism in their lives, and here are some of the replies:
“I need feminism because I used to think calling someone a girl was an insult”
“I need feminism because my mother tells me i’ll never keep a man if i don’t cook.”
“I need feminism because gender is just one of the many social constructs that act to limit EVERYONE in their daily lives.”
“I need feminism because no matter how hard I work, I will never make the same (or more) amount of money than a man who works at the same job, doing the same thing.”