Three common misconceptions about feminism

Art by Olivia Gunnt
Art by Olivia Gunnt

People all around us create false realities about what feminism really means and what it stands for, without educating themselves. However, the people who do the research are the ones who understand what being a feminist really means

Misconception #1: “Feminists are angry”

People believe that feminists have to be angry all the time (mostly at men) when that is really not the case. Feminists are trying to spread awareness and empower women, not put them or other people down. Feminists simply want to inform people about what can be changed to make a better, more equitable and safe world. Feminists are tired of women feeling in danger when they’re outside alone, especially considering what most woman have gone through (usually done by men but can also be done by women) with sexual assault. The world is always giving women an abundance of things to protest and try to change. Before women had the right to vote, they demanded and tried to change it to the best of their ability and eventually earned that right to vote, and feminists are trying to do the same thing with our society’s modern problems.

Misconception 2: “All feminists are female”

Being a feminist doesn’t determine what gender you are or what pronouns you go by. There are many men who consider themselves feminists. At the beginning of John Legend’s performance for the Global Citizen partner CHIME FOR CHANGE concert in 2013, he said “All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights, the world will be a better place. We are better off when women are empowered – it leads to a better society.” Another man that considers himself a feminist is Ian Somerhalder (famous for his role as “Damon Salvatore” in the hit TV-show “The Vampire Diaries”). In an interview for “She knows” magazine, Somerhalder said “Women can be wives, mothers, comedians, bioengineers, hackers, auto mechanics…the pressure should not be on fitting stereotypes and norms, but instead the pressure should be on launching yourself toward your true passions during the short time we have on this planet.” There are many more men all over the globe who agree with John Legend and Ian Somerhalder about how women should be treated in the real world, proving that women are not the only ones who can be feminists.

Misconception #3 “Feminism only liberates women”

Many believe that feminism only liberates women, when in reality it also liberates men. It does this by breaking down the set of “rules” that society has made for us about how we’re supposed to behave. Society teaches men to be emotionless leaders, who are never supposed to show any sign of weakness whatsoever. Feminism breaks all of that down and shows men that it’s okay to be vulnerable and to show emotion, to be a follower, and to not care about what set of “rules” that society has tried to set for them. For example, men are seen as the toughest of the tough and are told to not treat women with respect. Society has tried to make people believe that men never treat women with great and genuine respect simply because of what has happened in the past when most men were seen as sexual assaulters, who had the mindset of “she dressed like she was asking for it.” However, feminism dispels these beliefs and “rules” that men must conform to, and instead encourages men to just be themselves. 

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