Defining feminism: What it is and why we all need it

This image was first used in Volume 48's Women's Issue. Everyone in this image identifies as a feminist. The purpose of it is to demonstrate the diversity of feminism and how it's truly for everybody. Photos and design by Andrew Tan.
This image was first used in Volume 48’s Women’s Issue. Everyone in this image identifies as a feminist. The purpose of it is to demonstrate the diversity of feminism and how it’s truly for everybody. Photos and design by Andrew Tan.

A girl I know recently proclaimed on social media that she “hated feminists”, and it boggled my mind. The stigma around feminism needs to end, and it needs to end now.

Feminists are not all angry women who hate men. Not all feminists are loud, shove their beliefs down the throats of non-believers, and think women are special. Unfortunately, this is what is portrayed to us in the media. To be a feminist you must only believe in one thing; every one should have equal social, political, and economic rights. That’s all there is to it.

Feminism is treating women with respect. Women shouldn’t be afraid to walk alone at night, nor should they be blamed for rape and feel ashamed based on what they were wearing or if they were drunk, and have to be taught how to defend themselves. Rape also happens to men, and they should be given acknowledgement too.

Both genders should be taught respect and that rape jokes are in no way appropriate. Ever. Feminism is teaching guys that catcalling is not a compliment, it is insulting and is never acceptable, though many guys think it is and have done it.

Feminism is needed because abortion has always been a controversial debate, but the government shouldn’t be telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies; they should have the liberty of choice. Because women should be able to wear what they want, without being labeled a slut. Because men are congratulated on the number of “hook ups” they’ve had, while girls are simply called whores… what’s wrong with that image?

Because women in developed countries today still often get paid less than men. Even in the same exact job and with the same level of education, women are inferior. They should be able to do jobs that men often do without being questioned.

Women work just as hard, do all the same things just as well as men do, so this shouldn’t still be a problem. Recognition should be given to the fact that women want careers but also want to raise a family. Choosing one or the other is fine but why be judged for doing both? We need feminism because women are greatly underrepresented in politics. In the United States the representation is 1/5, ranking 78th for representation, below China, Iraq, and Rwanda, non-democratic countries with less than stellar women’s rights.

The world requires feminism because in developing countries women do not have the same education and work opportunities we take for granted here in Canada. Arranged child marriage and genital mutilation are still prominent and a huge issue. Because sons are preferred, some women go to dangerous lengths to have an abortion if they’re having a daughter.

Men are outnumbering women and are now struggling to find partners, leading to women being sold, and men getting into dangerous activities such as crime and drugs. However, the image is that men provide income, while girls get married (while having to pay an expensive dowry). Feminism and equality is absolutely necessary if these countries want to make any progress.

Feminism is realizing that both genders have issues, and that they should all be addressed. Jobs, activities, or character traits shouldn’t be assigned to a specific gender. Feminists do not want to belittle or punish men, they believe in abolishing stereotypical gender roles that have been put in place in society, for women, and men too. If a guy wants to dance or be a nurse, which can both be construed as traditionally considered “feminine”, that’s awesome!

Men deal with self-esteem issues just like women, and go through mental illnesses such as depression too. But they’re just told to “man up”, and when men show sentiment, they are called girls, associating the word with weakness. This is just insulting and demeaning to both sexes.

Men should be able to get the same support as women and be able to talk about it while not feeling embarrassed. Feminism and equality are needed because even though all college kids are on tight budgets, it is still the guy who is expected to pay for everything. Why not each pay for your own stuff or take turns paying?

I want to live in a world where my son can have emotions and play with a “girl’s toy” from the McDonalds happy meal if he wants, and where my daughter can play sports with boys and care more about what’s in her head than how she looks. And if she doesn’t want to marry? Good for her!

Women don’t need to be dependent on men. Wake up people, feminism IS for everyone, and needs cooperation from both sexes to work. It is respecting both sexes and giving them the freedom to be who they want to be without judgment.

Feminism believes that people shouldn’t be told they can or can’t do something based on their gender, and everyone should be given the same opportunities.