What does feminism mean to you?
After returning to school recently as an older student I came with hopes of a newfound maturity in students in terms of feminism. However, I find lots of my peers seem to fear feminism (particularly boys). After recent experience of being called a ‘feminazi’ as I contested against a boy claiming womens rights were unjust and their superiority as a gender – in terms of intelligence and strength – I realised that their ideas were very set in stone. Generally, in school’s feminism is portrayed in a very negative light, with the support of many misogynistic male teachers, and boys highly opposed to the ridiculous theory of equality it becomes hard to speak up. I have found in the past that the routine expectation is to stay quiet.
In the past, due to the mis-interpreted definition of feminism that I once thought it to be, I generally conformed and participated in the criticising of it. In addition to how you are perceived as unattractive by the opposite sex when following feminist viewpoints, however, lot of the girls in my school have come to a point where we no longer feel the need to hide our beliefs in feminism, but usually this is kept between ourselves. Predominantly lots of the time the class seems overcrowded with male voices, and the casual sneers of male students as my Religious studies teacher mentioned womens significant role in the bible were very unexpected. Sometimes people’s attitudes can seem quite daunting, as I used to assume my opinion didn’t matter due to the progression made by our ancestors and the suffragettes. Nonetheless, it seems most important now to express what feminism means to me as I watch lots of my peers almost regress to dare, I say patriarchal ways.
So, to me feminism means more than just equality. Not only does it mean I feel more righteousness of my ability to disagree with men in general, but also that feminism will hopefully one day eliminate an innate fear seemingly planted in us, or me from a young age. From experience, at the age of 13 being approached by an old man in a car offering to take me home with a bunch of keys in hand, I didn’t really comprehend his true intentions. I question how we as a society are stuck in this period of time, which I fear is going to continue. So, my hopes are that we, the younger generation stop belittling feminism’s meaning. Stop advocating these anti-feminist attitudes, but realise that it is beneficial to any gender.
Feminism also means standing up for men and the stereotypes placed upon them. Feminism does not mean not acknowledging these same problems for men, but it means working on these issues to benefit everyone. Most definitely, I see that as boys learn of this, unsurprisingly they seem to support this notion. Feminism is a grasp for fairness, not power or revenge its about redefining gender roles. So, as future generations come, they won’t be taught of how to avoid cat calling, to cover up so men have no distractions or to walk in daylight (which never actually helps). I hope eventually feminism is no longer needed as we live peacefully together as equals.