By Maggie Monson
I’m a feminist. Does that mean I hate men? Definitely not.
Feminism seems to have a bad rap these days. I hear people, women and men alike, speaking against feminism. They say these activists are too harsh or hate all men. Some even say there is a case for the group that’s discriminating.
Extremists exist in every belief set. Some people really do believe that all men are terrible people. However, this small faction of people doesn’t represent the truth or the real sentiment behind feminism.
At its core, feminism is a good and necessary cause. Feminism is “the doctrine advocating social, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men,” according to Dictionary.com
Women still need to advocate for themselves. Even if men don’t actively persecute women, they still benefit from a culture that favors them.
Nearly one in five women es have been raped in their lifetime according to a survey by the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey in 2010.
This fact alone should be enough to convince anyone that feminism is necessary. Women should not have to live in fear of attack. We should be teaching all men how to respect women from a young age instead of teaching women to constantly live in paranoia.
Women only make 77 cents to every dollar men earn, according to thinkprogress.org.
Some people argue that this is due to a woman’s individual choices. They say women choose lower-paying jobs or work fewer hours due to their families.
While this may be true, our culture doesn’t push young girls to succeed in business, mathematics or science. Society rewards girls who spend time on their image. Being good at math isn’t “cool” for young adults.
These are just some of the problems women still face on a daily basis. Culture tells us we aren’t good enough. They tell us our problems are our fault.
These issues can’t be solved with one simple solution. The problems happen because of the things we say and do every day. All of us contribute to the inequality of women and men.
Feminism isn’t bad, being a feminist means believing that women and men are equal. We shouldn’t let the extremists cloud our views of these issues.
We need to take stock of our lives and how we choose to view the women around us. Women and men alike can help change the way society views women. Men can make a commitment to stop degrading women and women can stop putting each other down.
It takes time for a mindset to disappear from the public. Sexism will still be around for a long time. However, it’s up to us to take a stand and be able to say, “ I am a feminist” with pride.