Feminists have been haunted by stereotypes and labeled with false motives since the very first-wave of feminism, and unfortunately, these conceptions continue to exist today. After reading up on some Whisper confessions, it became clear that a lot of people don’t understand what feminism stands for and what the current women’s movement is truly about. In an effort to clear some things up, I’ve found a few comments from people who simply have feminism all wrong.
1. Feminists Aren’t Sex Fiends
Well, not all of us anyway! Feminism doesn’t mean having sex with dozens of men and leaving the household chores to a maid while you’re off working 70 hour weeks. It means having the option to do either of these, just as men can, without judgment or persecution. Feminism doesn’t interfere with religious beliefs, nor does it dictate how you live your life.
2. Feminists Don’t Want Special Treatment
Those who truly believe that women and men are equal must live in a parallel universe where women can travel alone without fear of becoming a victim. Or have a drink at a bar without the risk of being drugged and taken advantage of. And you must live in a world where women aren’t being slut-shamed, castrated, raped, and sexually assaulted. Where women get to complete their education and aren’t being married off to grown men the moment they hit puberty. Feminism isn’t just about equal pay. It’s about being able to live freely and have the same opportunities as men.
3. Feminists Want Equality For ALL Women
Women in the United States certainly have more rights than those in other countries, and we’re more than aware of how privileged we are. It’s this privilege that gives us a voice that many women overseas don’t have. The women’s movement isn’t about fighting just for the rights that benefit ourselves, but about striving for equality for women of all colors, races, sexual orientations, and religions.
Also, manspreading is not a thing we care about. While it has been linked to feminists over the years, the term originated on Tumblr where several bloggers joked about photos of men on trains who spread their legs to the extent that they took up several seats. Even though it was all in good fun, the term was picked up by the media and was later criticized as being sexist. After it was labeled as a “pathetic feminist pipsqueakery” the term became associated with feminism.
4. Feminists DO Shave
Believe it or not, many feminists shave their armpits and their legs. We also shower regularly, wash our hair, and wear deodorant. Not that these are requirements of being a feminist but they also aren’t requirements of being a female. That’s what we fight for, the right to shave or not shave, shower or not shower, without being judged. We strive to eliminate these expectations based solely on our gender.
5. Feminists Don’t Hate Men
As one of the most common stereotypes about feminism, it may come as a surprise to hear that we don’t actually hate men. This concept is not only extremely sexist, but it’s the exact opposite of what we strive to accomplish. Feminists focus on eliminating the oppression of women and the factors that need to be changed in order to achieve equality among the sexes. An equalist is a broader opinion, one that feminism falls under as a subcategory, making it impossible to be an equalist and not a feminist. Think of equalism as an interest in studying science and feminism an interest in studying chemistry. It’s much better explained in this article.
6. Feminists Aren’t Opposed To BDSM
Being a feminist doesn’t mean things have to be equal in the bedroom. In fact, feminism has very little to do with consensual sex other than liberating women and introducing sex-positivity in the ’80s. Feminism continues to fight for a woman’s right to freely express themselves in the bedroom, viewing sexuality as anything but embarrassing. For many BDSM is a preferred and healthy form of sexual expression, and a movie where a couple enjoys this kind of activity is hardly something a feminist would concern themselves with.