Feminism is the belief that all people are equal, without regard for (biological) sex or gender choice. This seems like a simple enough definition, doesn’t it? Yet a feminist is often accepted in the same way someone like the Grinch is accepted everyone wants that thing to stay away from them. It’s probably rude and disgusting, right?
Not many people bother to find out what this pariah of a word means. Quite simply, it means equality. So why does it spur so much immediate distaste? If you asked me, I would probably have to tell you it was because ‘feminist ‘ sounds a lot like ‘feminine’. The conclusion that most seem to draw upon first hearing that someone supports feminism is that they must hate men. Quick correction- the belief that men are inferior to women is misandry, not feminism. Misandry is a fear-ridden form of bigotry.
Think back to growing up, to the first time you ever heard someone say that you threw like a girl. Maybe you remember being offended right off the bat, but personally I remember feeling confused. What was that supposed to mean? I was a girl, so of course I threw like one. Eventually I did build up to that reaction, and I am not entirely sure how. At some point in our childhood, were force-fed the idea that feminine is also weak, stupid, and incompetent. There are so many “exceptions” to this narrow-minded rule, however, that in no form of the word are they even exceptions.
Sexism in inherently part of our society. We are all, for the moment, brought up with this mindset, and therefore we cannot assign blame to most of those who have a prejudice. Condemning someone who doesn’t understand the need for feminism because they grew up in a specific and harsh mindset would be similar to condemning Thomas Jefferson as a stupid man because he owned slaves, or saying George Washington was a cruel person because he watched cockfights.
The fact of the matter, however, is that this stigma is a large part of sexism, and it is something we need to change about the way we grow and see things. We do need to find a way to grow past the stereotypes of “fighting like girls” and “being a man.” A primary goal of feminism is to realize that there is nothing wrong with femininity, masculinity, or any combination thereof. Sex and gender are not what your judgment of a person should be based upon. Maybe, instead of abusing the Grinch, we should take a moment to learn more about him.