Misconceptions of Feminism
One of the biggest issues with feminism is that many people don't understand its meaning. Those who don't understand what feminists are about will often mistake them for radical, man-hating lesbians. The misconception is that people are mistaking feminists for feminazis, attributing negativity to the subject, rather than the actual ideas of feminism.
Let's be clear here. "Feminazis" are those who do not support equality amongst men and women. Instead, they support the oppression of men and the oppression of women who like men, women who are friends with men, and women who do not go out of their way to hate men.
If you've ever heard women say that shaving your legs, or doing your hair and makeup is a sign that females are giving in to society's pressure to be attractive to impress men, that would be a feminazi. If you've ever seen someone being chastised by another woman because she's wearing a bra, and somehow that's a sign of weakness by giving into pressure from men, that's a feminazi. If someone has ever told you that dating, or being married to a man nowadays is a form of modern slavery, that's a feminazi.
All of these stereotypes are not to be confused with feminism! Feminists support women's rights. They support equality. They support equality not just among gender, but equality among race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, and age. Feminists are cool. They aren't trying to become men, nor are they trying to rid men off of the face of the earth. They are simply trying to become socially, politically, and economically equal to men. Not more powerful; not demeaning to men, just equal. For me, as a female writer, equality would be having the same opportunities as anyone else. It's not being looked down upon as just the intern.
One of the more prominent questions still lurking today is, "Why is there still a need for feminists? Men and women have equal rights where I live." Yes, this is quite true in the western world. Here in America we have progressed quite a bit, but disparity still exists in this world. Many developing nations around the world have achieved progress experienced in the United States over 100 years ago, and that's not good enough. Feminists are still striving to give women in poorer countries the right to receive an education, to drive, or even to report a rape. There is still a need for feminism to advocate change for the women who can't express their voices themselves -- whether it's in our backyard or not.
Those opposed to the idea of feminism also believe that women should just be independent and not play the victim. In a time not too long ago, women did not reserve the right to inherit property, read, or even walk the streets at night alone. Feminists do not believe that they're the victim simply because they were born women. Rather, they understand that independence is a newfound freedom. It's also important to feminists to grant these rights to all classes, races, and genders.
It's also not uncommon for a stay-at-home mom or wife to assume that feminists hate them. Although feminism strives to grant women the same rights and freedoms to pursue careers of their own dreams, it doesn't mean that it's a requirement to be a feminist. Feminism did challenge the notion of women being traditionally domesticated at one point, but it has also worked to let women pursue their own path and choice in lifestyle, not those of society's construction. Feminism isn't chastising women who want to love and raise a family instead of being career oriented. That would be a feminazi!
In addition, feminists also challenge the traditional role of men as breadwinners. If a male partner chooses to care for the house and children, he should also be allowed to pursue this dream without any social pressure. The end goal is to have equality amongst both genders, folks.
It's all about accepting everyone as a human being. It's not about categorizing them as male or female first, or having their fate determined by this notion. Feminism serves to show us that when you're capable, hard working, and smart enough to do something, your gender should not determine whether or not you can reach your goals. Your gender shouldn't have any impact on any social implication. It's creating a society without discrimination. Feminism is trying to reach equality from both sides; a community where men shouldn't be judged for their vulnerability, and women are rewarded for their independence.