Feminism 101: The Basics

fem·i·nism
ˈfeməˌnizəm/
noun
  1. the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.


Feminism dates back to the nineteenth century and the movement is still going strong today. Feminists strive to gain gender equality in all aspects of life. The notion of feminism almost always induces two different reactions that are found on opposite ends of the spectrum: good and bad. While some people complain that feminism is just another source of hatred, many others, including myself, believe that feminism is not just  belief, but a way of life.

WHY IS IT CALLED FEMINISM?

"Well if feminism is a movement geared towards gender equality why is it called feminism? Why not equalism?" is a question often brought up during discussion, sometimes with innocence or masked with subtle misogyny. 

Feminism is a movement to empower women who have long been kicked to the curb, used as accessories, seen as nothing but sexual objects, cooks, mothers, and so much more. It is a movement that gives women everything that they have been refused because of the sole fact that they are women. It is a movement created to take back what should have been a birth right. 

Feminism does not take away from men, but only serves to give women the opportunities that should be given to them in the same ways that men are given. It proves that for as long as women live, they have a right to be on the same pedestal as a man for interviews, for applications, for education, for jobs, for every single thing this world has to offer. Because for the short time we live on this earth, why should a person be denied what they want just because of their gender?

WHY DO WE STILL NEED FEMINISM?

While the purpose of why feminism first started has been tackled and women have gained the right to vote, there are still many things we have to fight for. Feminism has opened eyes of many people to the internalized misogynistic issues that still go on today. As a child, girls are taught that their place is nowhere near the office, a hospital, a court, or anywhere other than their homes. Children are taught from the moment they can walk that certain colors, tools, clothing, and so much more have gender. 

As girls progress to become a teen, they are taught to protect themselves from rapists by covering themselves, when really rapists should be taught not to rape. Society ingrains it into their minds that they should not become confident in their bodies or they will be perceived as conceited. They are taught that they should do everything for a boy's attention and if they're not, then what's the point? Self-hatred is deeply rooted within the dirty claws of internalized misogyny and it is hard to get out, but not impossible. 

WHAT IS INTERSECTIONAL FEMINISM?

The simple answer to this question is: It's the only kind of feminism you should believe in. Intersectional feminism introduces the very real concept of different needs of each women. Women as a whole are all oppressed, but some are sitting in cushioned leather seats, while others are having a hard time to find a place to sit at all.

Intersectional feminism acknowledges that white women have a privilege that women of color do not. While all women are at risk Women (and men) of color experience more discrimination than white women do. 78% of PoC are murdered in an LGBTQ+ hate crime and transgenders are 27% more likely to experience this rather than cis gender people. And while all women are affected by the wage gap, who are paid 78 cents for every dollar a man makes, African American women are only paid 64 cents and Latinas make 56 cents. So while every women face the wrath of sexism, some women face more thunder than others. 

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