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People misunderstand feminism

By Vanessa Ray
On April 18, 2017

On a particularly warm October evening almost 15 years ago, one of my closest friends asked me if I considered myself a feminist.

“Of course not,” I said, puzzled by her question. “You’ve see how much pink is in my room.”

Fast forward to current day, and being a feminist is as much a part of me as my Czech heritage.

Not that I wasn’t a feminist 15 years ago. I’ve actually been one pretty much all my life.

Starting at 7, when I wrote an angry letter to the station that cancelled Silver Hawks, my favorite show at the time, due to its strong female superhero.

Then there was the time my volleyball teammates and I engaged in a sit-in. We had to end our practices early so the visiting boy’s team could use our locker room.

Of course, the boys got to practice the whole time because, when a women’s team came to our school, we had to share a locker room.

We were told the reason for this was because “we aren’t as competitive.” Ugh.

Considering I have lived my entire life as a woman with autonomy who never questioned my ability to do whatever men could do, I often wonder why I spent so much of my life resistant to the label.

Though feminism itself is incredibly complex, the best way to define it is as the “the social, economic  and political equality of the sexes.”

To me, it boils down to choice and opportunity.

I loathe the way society shames women for choosing to do what they want. Whether that be chastising a stay-at-home mother or telling women who choose to wear hijab they’re “oppressed.”

Anyway, back to my fear of the “f-word.”

At one point, I had bought into the narrative that feminists are just angry man-haters.

Though there are some angry man-haters who call themselves feminists, there is nothing feminist about hating the opposite sex.

In fact, feminism works to help men. Toxic masculinity rigidly defines what it means to be a man. How many men hold in their feelings for fear of looking like (gasp!) a girl?

Thanks to the “Rape is Rape” campaign launched by the Feminist Majority Foundation, the definition of rape was changed to include men.

The old definition of “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will,” meant that according to law, men could not be the victims of rape.

I could write an entire article on the ways in which feminism helps men. Guys, it’s good for you.

I truly believe that most people who say they “hate” feminism just do not understand it. Yes, there are men (and women!) who truly hate women, but I believe they are rare.

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