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Feminism: A Word Misunderstood and Misused

posted Oct 9, 2014, 10:28 AM by   [ updated Oct 9, 2014, 10:38 AM ]

KiaLynne Bland

Feminism: a word used since the mid 1800s. A word commonly used in stores as “feminine needs” or to describe someone who acts like a lady or to describe a word that sounds “girly”. But it is also a word being taken advantage of and used incorrectly in today’s world.

Feminism started out in a Women’s Conference held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. Participants campaigned for equal voting rights, education rights, equal pay and work equality, as well as and slavery issues. Almost one hundred years later, feminism is being used and taught more than ever for the same reasons.

Feminism has always been a trending topic, but it has recently taken a toll over social media over the years. Articles have been written, speeches have been performed, and tweets have been sent, all about feminism. While feminism is becoming more known, the term has also been used wrongly. It has been taken advantage of and used in ways that do not promote women’s rights.

According to Oxford Dictionary, feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” The goal of feminism is to promote women’s rights and equality, as well to fight for justice for women who have been sexually harassed and assaulted, domestically abused, and discriminized.

Whether people realize it or not, men have a role in feminism. Gender equality, which regards men, plays a huge part in feminism. As the definition of feminism says, feminism is to make women as equal as men, which is where gender equality comes in. While men are to play a role in gender equality, the tables have turned on them, being blamed for what others have done in the past. Many have begun to shame men, and in some ways, disregard them when it comes to gender equality. Feminism has become an excuse for people to make women more powerful in some aspects than men. This, according to the definition and past movements of feminism, is not the purpose of feminism. The idea of feminism is to make women as equal as men; not make women more powerful than men or shame men.

A speech performed by Harry Potter’s Emma Watson spread throughout social media just two weeks ago. Watson’s speech focuses mainly on women’s rights and gender equality. Striving to spread gender equality, Watson mentions Twitter-trending-campaign, #HeForShe. Focusing on a man’s role in feminism, #HeForShe’s goal is to help people realize men play a role in feminism and are as equal as women. The campaign will hopefully reach out to men, getting them involved with feminism and spread awareness for gender equality.

#HeForShe isn’t the only thing that promotes feminism or gender equality. While trends and speeches have been made to fight for women’s rights, many have turned to a different idea to spread feminism. All over the world, men and women have created the signs, “I need feminism because…” or “I don’t need feminism because…”, listing their reasons why they feel feminism is important or not. The signs have been used several times to protest and spread awareness for feminism. While some signs are related to the purpose of feminism, some however, are not. A sign posted on Tumblr that says, “I need feminism because my long distance boyfriend cheated on me but I still want him back” does not particularly go with the reason for feminism. Feminism is to spread women’s rights; not as an excuse to call out a cheating boyfriend or a reason to want him back.

Feminism has become a worldwide issue. It has sparked minds all over social media, causing different opinions and views. Many have begun to misunderstand the real reason for feminism, taking advantage of it. It might always be known as that misunderstood, misused, and misinterpreted issue. But hopefully one day, people will come to realize the real usage for feminism: to promote women’s rights and equality to men.