Why we should change the term 'feminism'
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Lately, the word 'feminism' has been given a bad rep.
Strangely, it isn't just certain men of the world, whom reject the notion of feminism due to their conspicuous dominance over women in the past. It's the women themselves. The women whose mothers and grandmothers have fought for equality. The women who may have daughters, or sons for that matter, who are becoming more aware of the movement that has been spiralling for generations. These women do not have anything against equality, but they do have a problem with feminism.
Feminism, by definition, refers to the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of equality. There is no need to question why this term came into existence; evidently, throughout history women have proved to have pulled the short end of the straw with regards to opportunities and societal expectations. Even the AD writings of the 'Church Fathers', labeled women as "weak and hysterical... open to temptations". Thus, alongside the growing awareness of rights the term feminism arose, and through the sixties a revolution was born.
So why is it that today, women are shying away from the word that has given so many a glimmer of hope? Social media posts ridicule it, articles scrutinise it, and women across the globe fiercely deny being labelled a 'feminist', even though it represents everything that they are. Over time the word has become distorted, it has been perceived less as being a beacon for equality and more as a means of demonising men. It has been believed to be a symbol of retribution, a way to ensure women are raised above men as they have been unjustly wronged for so many years.
Whilst this, I believe, could not be further from the truth, I cannot help but wonder why feminism has such a damaged reputation. How have we let a stream of misinformation and misunderstanding produce such hate from both men and women alike? I think that in order to shift these negative perspectives, the term needs to be updated. For despite it's aim of equality for the sexes, it implies that women are the focal point of the future. It's easy to read into it this way, especially when 'feminism' has the word 'feminine' in it. Fundamentally, however, that is not what this movement is all about. Feminism is simply about equality. It is about equal pay. It is about equal opportunities. It is about giving someone the same chances in life to aim higher and achieve, not because of their gender but because of their sheer will and determination. It is about giving someone the chance to make something of themselves, regardless of their distinctions.
So, if this is the case, why isn't feminism called equalitarianism? Why do we not label ourselves as equalitists, the opportunists of the future? Surely that would be a more fitting term, something more representative of the lives of so many. If we truly are working for egalitarianism, then the confusion caused by feminism must be removed.