Feminism | Posted by Kennedy H on 03/24/2014

What Feminism Really Means

While teens, adults and even celebrities alike dare to mistakenly claim that feminism means  loathing men and believing that women are worth more than men, I believe that feminism is simply about equality: it’s about the power to be strong, confident and aspire to be anything and do anything independently.

Even though feminist activists have fought for equality for years, it’s clear equality has yet to be achieved. One of the most obvious and pervasive examples is the portrayal of women in the media: advertisements overwhelmingly undermine women and the media generally insists on portraying women as sex objects. How many ads have you seen where a woman is half naked (if not completely naked) without any contextual relation to the product being sold? Another example is the classic double standard about women and sex, which is especially still relevant in high school. The popular football player who sleeps with the entire cheerleading team gets a reputation as a “stud”, but a girl can be called a slut no matter who or how many people she has been with. Pervasive examples of inequality like these (which are just scraping the surface) lead some women to internalize this sexism and truly believe that they are inferior to men and that society is naturally based on inequality.

It’s time that girls everywhere come together and realize that if we stick together we can change the world. Girls frequently compete with each other, but for ultimately self-destructive reasons — like fighting over a boy rather than an internship position. Some girls are incapable of seeing their own potential and therefore focus on obtaining what a sexist society dictates as success: beauty and a boyfriend. Girls should aspire to be the next President of the United States or CEO of their own company, not the girl who dated the hot guy from the basketball team in high school.

This is not to say that men are inherently bad for the role they play in this system, but rather that the role they are forced into by society is destructive. The point of feminism is equality, so excusing the sexist behavior we teach men as acceptable with phrases like “boys will be boys” is just as wrong and hurtful for us all. This excuse is used for anything a boy does. For example, boys in high school (and beyond) can go out and step all over a girl’s feelings and then spread rumors about her because boys will be boys, but if a girl does that to a boy, then she is deemed a bitch and will probably be harassed.

The bottom line is that one’s gender does not dictate or excuse their behavior: such double standards are appalling and we should all be holding ourselves to a higher, yet equal, plane of life. Men and women should be allowed to be equally strong and independent. With that mindset, who knows what we could all work together to accomplish.

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  • Sunday Night Spotlight | ShoutOut! JMU @ at 9:17 pm, March 30th, 2014

    [...] invites you to read about “What Feminism Really Means” in this article. Feminism is about EQUALITY, not women against the rest of the world…let’s not forget [...]

  • yourknightinshiningtutu @ at 2:12 pm, April 4th, 2014

    Amen. A lot of people mistake the word feminism these days for meaning “girls want to take over the world and kill all men” or some twist like that. No. It means EQUALITY. I love that you defined this in so many aspects and examples. Thank you for this article, it was great!

  • Claire Louise @ at 8:31 am, April 20th, 2014

    This web site is mainly for younger women, in college. No mention of how many homes come from domestic violence, no mention that 1 out of 3 are raped, no mention of older women whose feet are all twisted up from wearing high heels. Ignoring the older women is ageism. No mention about the killing of women so popular today, no mention of all the children & babies sexually abused by the male father, neighbor, uncle.

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