Check out http://LisaFerguson.tv for more great articles & videos.
As a man who takes an active interest in the women’s rights movement, I’ve always held a very strict policy that when it comes to any political issue, but specifically when it comes to issues of equality, to always listen more than I speak. The reason I employ this policy is partially due to the fact that so few people are actually willing to listen and learn, but would rather exert their opinion as if it were truth.
What I mean by this, is that when it comes to equality, in this case women’s rights, men are notorious for believing themselves to understand it all, while at the same time being hugely misinformed. The simple fact is that no man knows what it’s like to be a woman in society and that makes it all the more important to respect the perspectives of women.
With that being said, I’ve come across many people who have come to believe some pretty fundamental untruths about feminism and today I shall address the three I most commonly stumble across.
Myth 1 – Feminism Isn’t About Equal Rights But Rather Preferential Treatment for Women
It’s quite worrying that there are a good number of people out there who have the very first thing about feminism incorrect. Now, I will never proclaim to be an expert, or to speak on feminism with any authority, however this one is simple. Feminism is and always has been about equality. Nothing more, nothing less. Feminism’s only demand is that women are to be treated with the same respect, have the same opportunities and the same rights as men. But rather than take my word for it, let’s have a look at some dictionary definitions.
The Merriam Webster Definition of Feminism
The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
The Oxford English Dictionary Definition of Feminism
The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
The Cambridge English Dictionary Definition of Feminism
The belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state.
Wikipedia’s Definition of Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.
As common as I hear people say that feminism isn’t about equality, it evidently emanates from people who have not even looked the word up in a dictionary.
Myth 2 – All Feminists Are Liberal
This is again a very common myth about feminism, and it’s arguably a forgivable mistake, given that liberals tend to put issues such as equality very high on their agenda. But saying that “all feminists are liberal” is no more true than saying that “all conservatives are against women’s rights”.
In fact Sarah Palin made her case for conservative feminism in 2010, at a meeting of the Susan B. Anthony List as well as praising the Tea Party for having strong female leaders.
Myth 3 – We Don’t Need Feminism Anymore
This is a point often made by people who believe that feminism offers them no advantage and that they might not personally gain from it. For if it is not useful to them, why should anyone else find it useful?
It’s a phrase often cited by people who believe we already live in a utopia where a state of equality has already arrived, by people who can’t see the inequality in pay between men and women, or that women get criticized so much more heavily when speaking on issues typically dominated by men, usually in the realm of business or politics. The truth is these problems do exist and ignoring them will not remove them. By all accounts women are expected to behave in a particular way in society and that is not equal. In fact in Japan we see women having to make a choice between family and career, a choice men have never really had to make, because having a career and a family has never been an either/or decision for men.
Some even believe that feminism became redundant the day women were given the right to vote, however the fact that women are so poorly represented in most, if not all of western democracies shows how inequality is alive and well.
The myth that feminism is no longer required is a point almost exclusively made by men and to me, outlines the biggest problem when it comes to men trying to understand feminism, lack of perspective. So often there are self-proclaimed experts who believe to understand the trials and tribulations of those unlike themselves. This doesn’t only apply to women’s rights but almost any issue of equality. It brings me back to my initial policy on equality and how important it is to listen to each other’s perspectives and experiences, because that is the only way we can gain any concept of understanding of what it’s like to experience this world through the eyes of others.
Click here: http://goo.gl/hOOvpB to subscribe for more videos.