I am a feminist. To formally address every single question I have ever been asked about being a feminist I would like to say: no, I do not hate all men, I only hate those who ask me these questions; no, I do not think women are better than men; no, I am not a “feminazi” because I do not believe in equating a movement for women with a genocide driven by white supremacy; and sadly, no, unlike what Southern Baptist Minister Pat Robertson thinks, feminism is not “a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.” (Well, maybe the witchcraft part is true.)
The best definition of feminism out there is the one feminist activist Bell Hooks provides in her book, Feminism is for Everyone: “feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.”
And as long as there is “sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression,” feminism is necessary to eradicate these issues and thus improve the lives of women everywhere.
On the surface, it may seem as if complete equality between all genders exists. Women can vote, own property, get divorces, and even wear pants, just like men. But scratching this surface, even just a tiny bit, is like opening up a Pandora’s Box filled with the injustices that patriarchal societies perpetuate.
We become so used to seeing these injustices that they become apart of daily life and we stop questioning them. We don’t bother to discuss it when the Center for Disease Control reports that nearly 1 in 5 women experience rape at some point in their lives, or when every other billboard you see displays a photoshopped poster of a more-than-half-naked woman with utterly unattainable features designed to sell more beauty products, when women make up only around 18% of the members of Congress, and when none of this is even questioned, it becomes very clear that we need feminism for a social transformation.
When we don’t question authority, speak up, or take action, we are accepting our circumstances and remaining complacent when we should be demanding immediate change, which is exactly what feminism does.
What looked like radical feminism a hundred years ago, is widely accepted as basic human rights today. So what seems radical now, may not seem so radical in the near future.
In the 1700s, the idea of a woman even showing her ankles, much less having any independence, was considered radical. And though women have made many societal, economical, and political advancements since then, that does not mean there is nothing left to fight for.
And feminism is forever changing and adapting to the new issues that arise in modern society. So, after hundreds of years, countless activists, and multiple movements, why stop now?