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What Is a Feminist?

What is a feminist, really? Does it mean man-hating, or does it mean that we have a serious problem that women are getting sick of dealing with?

By Ossiana TepfenhartPublished 6 years ago 6 min read

Right now, less than one third of all women in America are willing to say that they are feminists. Even fewer men do, possibly because a lot of guys don't believe men can be feminists. Considering that we're supposed to be in a civilized, normal society, this is pretty appalling.

As someone who believes in gender equality, I know it can be baffling for some to understand why so many people seem anti-feminist. Sadly, I also get why some people think that way.

Much of the reason why people seem to hate on feminism and avoid the dreaded "F" word seems to be because they legitimately either don't know what feminism is, because they want to control others, or because they actively hate women.

If you fall into the categories involving hating women or wanting to control women, I can't help you. However, if you just don't understand what feminism is, I can help you by telling you what is a feminist — and why you need their philosophy in your life.

What is a feminist? They're people who believe that men and women are equal.

This is the crux of what a feminist believes. They believe that women and men are equally capable of making life choices, doing what they need to in order to survive, and having intelligent conversations. Feminists believe that there's also nothing that should stop a person from doing certain jobs that need to be done.

Since they believe all genders are equal, they are okay with male stay-at-home parents, female construction workers, and non-binary people doing their own thing, too. Feminism is, in this sense, all about doing what works for YOU — regardless of what older conventions may say.

If you hate seeing men get judged for being caretakers, or seeing women get pushed out of jobs because they're female, then you are, at least partially, a feminist.

If you are female and are happy that you have the right to vote, the right to have a job, or the right to be able to choose who you're dating, you're a feminist. If you are happy you have a right to education, then you're also a feminist.

If you're a male who is thankful for the work your single mother put in raising you, then you are thankful for feminism. It might be a good idea to be a feminist, considering that you know the benefits of it.

If you hate feminism, then that means you think one gender is better than another. It also could mean you might feel a need to control others in ways that aren't necessarily moral. That doesn't sound too good, does it? When you think one gender is better than another, that opens the doors for a lot of bad stuff.

What is a feminist? It's a person who believes that every person has the right to consent to what's done to their own body.

Feminists are those who believe that people are never owed sex, and that personal sexual boundaries should be respected at all times, by all people. This means they are against rape, reproductive coercion, and against being forced into relationships.

If you hate the fact that there are women out there who sabotage birth control, or if you hate the fact that rape happens, then you're a feminist. Feminism is against victimizing people hurt by others who took the choice out of their hands.

If you are uncomfortable with being forced into having sex with someone you're not into, or if you find the idea of owing someone you dislike with sex, you may be a feminist.

What is a feminist? It's a person who is sick of society judging others based on their body.

It's true! Feminism, at least in part, is about body positivity and looking beyond exteriors before you judge someone.

We live in a society that victimizes everyone by having ridiculous expectations on how people are supposed to look and function — all based on what genitalia we have, our weights, our heights, our skin colors, and the looks of our faces.

Aren't you tired of that? Don't you wish you had a society that would see you for who you are, rather than what you look like or your age? Do you feel sick of being forced into a "masculine" or "feminine" box with absurd and shallow standards? If so, you need to look into feminism.

What is a feminist? It's someone who is against domestic violence and abuse, regardless of who's hurting who.

Domestic violence is a serious problem that's killing both men and women around the world. Feminists are against domestic violence, regardless of who's hurting who. They realize that a woman hitting a man is just as bad as a man hitting a woman.

Feminists are also very staunchly supportive of domestic violence assistance. They are more likely to donate to DV shelters, help support children who were removed by CPS, and work to get people back on their feet.

Feminists don't victim-blame those in these situations, nor do they cluck their tongues, saying "serves them right."

What is a feminist? It's someone who preaches tolerance and freedom — not hatred, bickering, or control.

This is the biggest source of problems we have with feminism. There are a lot of people who use the word "feminist" as a label that really couldn't be further from the truth.

There are a lot of women who hate women that use feminism as a reason to judge, hate on, or otherwise hurt women. There are anti-choice people who masquerade as feminists to engineer dangerous and oppressive laws. There are "feminists" who hate men, "feminists" who hate transpeople, and "feminists" who use their warped definition of equality as an excuse to hit others.

These people are not feminists — they're assholes.

Real feminists are the ones who just want the labeling to stop, want people to let others make decisions about their bodies without judgment, and want the battle of the sexes to end with an "I'm okay, you're okay" kind of pact.

Real feminists support women's choices and also support men's choices, transpeoples' choices, and LGBTQ choices. Why? Because at the end of the day, we're all human and we need to acknowledge that.

So, what is a feminist?

It's a person who really wants a more tolerant, caring, and open society. It's someone who wants to see people in healthy, happy relationships. It's a person who wants to make sure that everyone has the resources they need to make a good life for themselves — and someone who is sick of all the stupid labels society gives them.

If that sounds like something you can get behind, you're a feminist...even if you wouldn't think of it.


About the Creator

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of New Jersey. This is her work account. She loves gifts and tips, so if you like something, tip her!

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