By Emma Payne Murphy
Allow me to introduce you to feminism; potentially the greatest, and most relevant, social movement there is. Feminism, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is the “advocacy of equality of the sexes and the establishment of the political, social, and economic rights of the female sex” (OED). This social movement has been chugging along for centuries, and although it has evolved drastically, it continues to be a highly discussed topic of debate.;This is because most people still do not understand the true fundamentals of feminism.
When the word “feminism” is brought up in conversation many people, including women, tend to cringe. The word seems to have some type of negative connotation, and it is extremely disappointing that this is the case. For some reason, people are led to believe that feminism creates a divide or separation between men and women. Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard stated in an interview with Porter Magazine, “We need to fight for women’s rights but I don’t want to separate women from men. We’re separated already because we’re not made the same and it’s the difference that creates this energy in creation and love. Sometimes in the word feminism there’s too much separation.” Cotillard implies that the feminist movement creates a separation between the sexes, which, if it were true, would be counterproductive; however, it isn’t true at all. The purpose of feminism is to lessen the divide and promote equality.
People also assume feminists dislike men in every way, shape and form. This is most likely the reason people roll their eyes at the idea of feminism. They will automatically deny or reject the idea of being a feminist themselves, because of this skewed sentiment about the movement. Now, what I am about to say may shock you, so make sure you’re sitting down…feminists don’t dislike men; not even in the slightest. In fact, feminism promotes the idea of men and women working together as a team to achieve total equality, not some middle school battle of the sexes nonsense.
For those of you reading this who are totally against feminism, and would never consider yourself a feminist, I regret to be the one to inform you (not really though), that if you believe women should be granted the same rights as men, including in the workplace, then you, yes you, are in fact a supporter of the feminist movement. Go ahead, cry about it, but I promise you there are plenty of worse things in the world that you could be than a feminist. If anything, feminism will help the world; not only will it help women with their own personal growth, it will help men dismiss the idea that they are primary supporters. So, technically, you are doing a good thing. Heck, I’ll even go as far as considering it an honorable act!
In my eyes, feminism can be one of the most positive social movements; not only because it strives to create equality between men and women, but it also encourages young girls to be independent, and be in control of their futures. From my own personal experience, I used to feel very submissive, and almost irrelevant to society. I wasn’t quite sure what my purpose was, how many opportunities I could be given and what I could offer the world. The idea of a group of women, and men, coming together to empower what it means to be a woman, was exactly what I needed to help me determine the kind of life I want, and more importantly, the kind of woman I want to be.
So, for those of you reading this and rolling your eyes right now, just stop and look at the bigger picture. Feminism isn’t doing anything to hurt you, and it isn’t doing anything unbeneficial to the world; if anything, feminism will only make the world a better place.