What does the word “feminism” spark in your brain? Depending on your relationship to the word, it could be a variety of thoughts. Maybe your interpretation is women in a conference room, directing a presentation; you see strong female leaders. Maybe you see crowds of girls in the streets, fighting for equal rights. Either way, the feminist movement is seen an a woman’s movement, a woman’s fight, a woman’s job. While these are big parts of feminism, this could also be considered one of the biggest problems with how feminism is seen as a whole.
Feminism, as an institution meant to support not only women and girls but all peoples and all genders, is faced with many obstacles in its fight for equality. But misconceptions have arised, with people believing that feminism means more for women, less for men. This prejudice is extremely harmful as it prevents many people from identifying with the movement or even supporting it. This is seen mainly on a social level, visible to us in highschool. For example: boys who say they are feminists are often met with negative reactions from both male and female peers. How can we as a society move towards equality when the notion of being a feminist threatens so many people’s accustomed sense of identity?
Equality and feminism should be looked at through the same lense, as they have almost identical goals. Certain people who do not have issues with the word “equality”, might with feminism. For the majority of even mildly progressive thinkers, the word “equal” is looked upon very fondly. Who wouldn’t want a world where one race has no distinction from another and no judgments are subjected onto individuals beyond judgments of their own actions? But the moment that the word feminism is mentionned, one’s perspective alters. So is the problem vocabulary? Is it preconceived bias? Whatever the motivation for this mindset, as a feminist, I can only hope we progress past it.
By Genevieve Gault and Ella Mazerolle