For many people, feminism is a big and scary word that represents something extremely radical and hard to get behind. We don’t prescribe to that interpretation of feminism at all. We prefer to speak in favor of one that is more inclusive and empowering. We at Dialogika believe that feminism is for everyone.
First, a few things:
Feminism does not hate men and is not a movement that is anti-men.
Being a feminist & feminism is not about hating men or anti-men—it’s a struggle for equality between men and women. Sometimes this makes men feel like they have had their privileges taken away, but if that happens, it is for the equal distribution of power between men and women, and ultimately has positive effects for men as well.
Feminism is not just a Western idea.
Throughout history, women all over the world have always struggled for equality, power and safety for themselves. The label ‘ feminist’ may have come from the West, but the idea that women are equal to men certainly is not and has certainly existed far longer than the label. It is a collective ideal that applies for all women, from every place and every age.
Feminism is not outdated.
Many people think that, since women can vote, drive, and have more freedoms now, feminism’s work is over—but it is not. Women still overwhelmingly face both threats and actual forms of violence and discrimination. Today, the world is missing 120 million women due to gender-based abortions. Additionally, women are also far less educated and literate. The struggle is far from over in terms of gender equality at home and in the workplace. In other words, we still have lots of work to do!
Feminism is not just about and for women; it applies to men, and men can be feminists too!
When feminism is working towards the empowerment of women, it is also addressing an inequality against half the human population that will undoubtedly benefit the other half as well. Feminists are fighting for the opposite side of the same coin of equality that everyone else is fighting for.
When feminists are fighting for the empowerment of women in the home, they are also recognizing men as three-dimensional individuals with roles at home that can be so much more than just the stereotypical breadwinner (and, therefore, alleviate the societal pressure upon their shoulders). When feminists are fighting against rape culture, they are also fighting against toxic masculinity—this ideal that men have to be ‘macho’ and aggressive to everyone, men and women alike—and its dangerous expectations from men (and its dangerous consequences from women). When feminists are fighting for women, they are also fighting for men.
Men and women can and should be feminists in order to help each other achieve and realize the full potential of themselves and who they truly are and can be, instead of forcing each other to conform to society’s stereotypes and cookie-cutter views on what men and women ought to be.
Feminism is not a centralized system of belief.
There are many different types of feminism, each with their own opinions. There is no feminist Bible out there nor is there a feminist president or leader. Feminism is an organic, diverse, and free movement with people of different beliefs, opinions, and struggles. There can be disagreements between feminists, and this is not necessarily a bad thing! We always welcome different voices to contribute in these conversations so that we can expand and consider more possibilities on what could be improved.
While feminism is complex, there is a richness and beauty in the complexity and diversity of feminism and feminists.
Some of the essential concepts of feminism:
WHAT IS PRIVILEGE?
READ MORE: THE LIST OF MALE PRIVILEGES
WHAT IS SEXISM?
From any reasonable feminist perspective, the term sexism refers to discrimination against women based on her sexuality & sexual features in the context of an unequal and discriminatory society. The term can be traced back to second-wave feminism and its discourse in the early 1960s in America. In other discussions the term is used in a universal way, i.e. discrimination against a person or a group of persons based on their sexuality & sexual features.
Within the term, there are a few subtopics worth considering:
READ MORE: WHAT IS INTERNALIZED SEXISM?
REVERSE SEXISM (AND RACISM) — BOTH OF which do not exist!
Efforts to assist minorities in achieving parity are sometimes labelled as positive or reverse discrimination (within the topics of sex and race, it becomes reverse sexism or reverse racism). Reverse sexism—this idea of sexism against the privileged sex (men)—is problematic for a number of reasons:
- Men may complain that their rights/presence to an industry/field are being eroded without recognizing the privilege they have as men. There is the male-centric expectation that the vast majority of attention, effort, and resources will be and should be given to men, and any decrease would be cause for complaint. Consider, for example, an effort to recruit women as software engineers; some men who think that software engineering is a male-centric field might describe this effort as “reverse sexism.”
- Accusations of “reverse sexism” are often an attempt to derail conversations or to silence women. “Reverse sexism” claims are often disproportionate and are used to obscure larger problems. For instance, in an environment where there are 99 things that marginalize women and 1 thing that marginalizes men, loud and vigorous complaints of “reverse sexism” to the 1 thing that affects men are made without any reference to the relative scale of the alleged sexism and, therefore, the bigger problem.
The term itself is silly; reverse sexism does not exist because sexism refers to a structural, codified world against women—and since this very affront is absent for men, reverse sexism that’s targeted towards men does not and cannot exist.