I know there's a lot of controversy on feminism these days. With all the confusion of groups such as YesAllWomen or NotAllMen, what exactly defines a feminist? I'm hesitant to call myself a feminist because I like men, but I also want to stand for women's rights. How can I find a healthy balance of the two?
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding feminism, so it makes total sense that you'd be confused about what feminism stands for. For the record, the basic definition of feminism is the social, political, and economical equality of the sexes. In reality, feminism benefits both men and women (for reasons that we'll get to later).
Often, feminists are confused for misandrists. Misandry is the dislike or prejudice against men. There are some women out there, calling themselves feminists, that vocally dislike men. Let's be clear: these women are misandrists. Feminists are not man-haters. So yes, you can be a feminist and appreciate men.
Basic feminism asks that women receive the same amount of respect that men receive. Whether it's in the workplace, the media, or in the home-- men and women should be valued and treated with the same amount of respect.
Think about your own life-- were there any instances (in the workplace, at school, etc.) where you were treated differently because you're a woman? If not, ask around-- your friends might have some horror stories. In the meantime, I can give a few examples from my own life.
There have been instances where I've been accused of being on my period when I was angry or impassioned about something. I've been catcalled and called a bitch when I refused to answer. I've been referred to as "bossy" while co-directing a project, while my male counterpart was simply referred to as "the boss".
And don't even get me started on women in professional environments. How often are women in executive positions referred to as the bitch, while male executives are praised for their relentless work ethic? And what about the media? Women are constantly being objectified in the entertainment world.
Some people might say that these are problems of the past. But there are facts and articles telling us that these issues are still alive and well.
As aforementioned feminism really does benefit both men and women, because it means that both men and women are treated equally. Have you ever noticed that men who are in touch with their feelings are sometimes referred as being "girly" or "feminine"? It's not just an offhand comment. These statements are conditioning our men to show less emotion, and creating a group of tough-guy, emotionally constipated males.
Nowadays, feminism has been warped to portray a completely different ideology. But the bottom line is that basic feminism is simply common sense. Obviously men and women should be treated equally. Obviously men should be allowed to express their emotions. Obviously we should all be treated with the same amount of respect.
You want to find a healthy balance in your life? Just call yourself a feminist. Not a misandrist, but a feminist. So do what you love, treat everyone with respect, and kick some major ass.