Feminism (not female terrorism) is an ideology that cuts across and affects different spheres of existence. Wikipedia defines Feminism as: “range of social movements and ideologies that aim to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes”. Merriam Webster (online dictionary) defines Feminism thus: “the theory of the political, economic, social equality of the sexes”. Feminism advocates for equality, not enmity of the sexes.
Does feminism belong to women alone?
The fact that feminism advocates for the equality of rights between men and women, does not mean that feminism as an ideology belongs to just women. A man that believes in the equality of rights between the sexes can be called a feminist, though some decide to go by the name “gender equality advocate”, in order not to answer the name “feminist”. The fact that feminism is not based on the genitals, but belief means that feminism is not restricted to a particular gender.
Why you cannot be a feminist.
People, especially women have resorted to feminism for wrong reasons, and acting on these reasons make them go to the extreme and violate the tenets of feminism because they simply act on emotions and imitations, without properly understanding the meaning and nature of the feminist ideology. On this note, you cannot resort to feminism for the following reasons:
- Your heart has been broken by a man and you need to live a solitary life to avoid contact with men. Feminism is not an ideology/ movement that houses heartbroken women who seek solitude or revenge. Resorting to feminism to shield yourself from men will only make you a “wrong feminist”, who advocates for enmity and hatred instead of equality.
- Your friends are feminists. This reason may sound unrealistic, but the desire of some people to go the extra mile to be validated in friendship/ peers groups can fuel this action. Some people are feminists today because their friends talked them into being one, or because they have the assumption that being a feminist brings them close to certain people. It is important to note that being a feminist comes as a result of one’s keen observation of the one sided status quo that exists between the two sexes, not because it may validate one’s acceptance in a group.
- You are educated, exposed and financially independent. Being all these, without noticing the unequal balance between the two sexes, makes you an independent woman, not a feminist. This basically means that feminism is not based achievement, exposure or financial status.
- You are a woman. The wrong assumption that all women are feminist has made most women believe that feminism is like an August meeting umbrella that houses all women. Overtime, this wrong belief has created a divided female umbrella because not all women who call themselves feminist understand the meaning of feminism.
- You are divorced. It is important to note that feminism has no nexus with divorce, so people should not resort to feminism because they have been divorced and feel that feminist movement will be a shade for them to pour out their grievances and mete out revenge on their spouse.
Overtime, some wrong views of feminism have been represented and portrayed by individuals; these have brought about negative feminist connotations often subject to derogatory remarks and notions about feminism, thereby concealing the true nature of feminism. Stereotype is simply what one can refer to as a false notion based on hasty generalizations. The Long Man Dictionary of Contemporary English defines stereotype as “a belief or idea of what a particular type of person or thing is like. Stereotypes are often unfair or untrue. Wikipedia defines stereotype as “an over-generalized belief about a particular category of people. It is an expectation that people might have about every person of a particular group”. Stereotypes are reasons for giving tags to people because of their perceived differences. The Feminism stereotype is one that ranges from hilarious beliefs to heart breaking opinions. Some of these stereotypes will leave one wondering “for real! Why is feminism linked to these?” Below are some “breathe taking” feminism stereotypes:
- Feminism encourages women to hate men: The truth is that there is absolutely no relationship between feminism and misandry. Feminism does not paint men as beasts and ogres; rather it is an ideology that deals with gender equality. Though the fact that some feminist hate men cannot be denied, this should be looked at on personal basis and not tied to feminism.
- Feminists are unattractive: Feminism does not change the facial features of individuals (this is quite hilarious). Feminism has absolutely nothing to do with one’s physical attributes.
- All feminists are lesbians: Feminism and queer theory are separate ideologies and should not be linked. However, a lesbian can be a feminist but this should be equated to lifestyle not feminism as an ideology.
- Feminists hate sex: Feminism has nothing to do with “how fire” one is in bed (you do not want to approach a feminist with this mindset and get double won in bed)
- Feminism encourages women to hate children
- Feminism is an ideology formed by women who are of marriageable age but are still single: This stems from the “African mentality” that an unmarried woman is bitter and this bitterness makes her to lash out on men. Feminism has nothing to do with marriage; even married men and women are feminists.
- Feminism is a female based ideology.
- Feminist are not romantic: This is a hasty generalization without any ample evidence (don’t be surprised to date a feminist-male/female, and they are the ones introducing all the smoking hot spices in the relationship).
- Feminists believe that all men are rapists.
- Feminism is a cult.
- Feminists are prostitutes.
- Feminists are envious of the penis.
How these stereotypes can be corrected.
The fact that we cannot go into the minds of people or go round streets, lanes and towns with public address systems to correct these derogatory impressions about feminism makes the quest for correction more difficult but it is something that can be achieved. People should be encouraged to understand feminism and its different branches, correct the person next to you when they try to import these stereotypes in conversations or arguments, more fictions, articles and journals that explore the true meaning of feminism should be written and we just need to “check it” when our minds deviate.