Being a feminist comes with a lot of stick, purely because social media doesn’t portray us very well. So let me clarify a few things for everyone’s sake.
Here are 8 common misconceptions about feminists.
We are all hairy, man-hating lesbians.
This is probably the biggest and most common misconception about feminists. Feminists come in all shapes, sizes, sexes, genders (yes – sex and gender ARE different!), races and orientations. Body hair, or lack of, is mutually exclusive of feminism however some feminists do find empowerment through the growth of body hair. Sadly there are feminists that do dislike men but they are a minority – The majority of us want equality for all people.
Feminists are killjoys who protest everything.
We are constantly seen as the fun-sponges of society, here to suck up all your entertainment and stomp all over your non-feminism party. In reality, we only protest against injustices and if your entertainment relies on the mocking or hurting people (an example: race-themed parties) then it’s not fun – sorry not sorry!
We burn our bras
NOOOO! NOT MY EXPENSIVE, PRICELESS LINGERIE! But in all seriousness, Bras are unbelievably expensive. And this misconception is more myth than legend. This idea of feminists brandishing burning underwear most likely originated from the Miss America Pageant protest in 1986. Women threw constrictive clothing such as bras and girdles into bins as a comment on the expectations of modern beauty and women being valued on appearance alone. The burning part of this myth was probably constructed from protests during a similar time, when demonstrators against the Vietnam War burned draft cards. Whilst no bras were burned at the original protest, some may have adopted this method afterwards.
Petition for a cheap ‘protest’ collection of bras anyone?!
We are all angry
In all honesty, I do have a short temper but that is more a flaw of my personality than a common characteristic amongst feminists. We aren’t all angry, just passionate about our cause. I mean who wouldn’t be miffed about rape culture, the restrictions on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights and a multitude of other causes we fight against.
We only fight for wage equality
Wage equality is a cause amongst many that we fight for, as are these following points;
- LGBTQ+ rights
- Birth control/ reproductive rights
- The funding of sexual health clinics
- Ending Domestic violence
- Legal and economic autonomy (providing women with more rights in regards to property, marriage, healthcare and legal aid)
- The Environment and protection of sacred land
And so many more! In fact the chances of you standing alongside feminists at any progressive marches, protests and in petitions is very likely.
Google defines chivalry as:
“The medieval knightly system with its religious, moral and social code.”
Such as the law against attacking peasants. I too am against any form of violence against unarmed peasants by heavily armoured knights, but I doubt that this is the definition of chivalry we are discussing. Polite behaviour towards women by men seems like an awesome idea – as is polite behaviour towards a person by a person.
I will expand on one highly debated topic; “Who should pay on the first date?”
Many say that the man should but what about in cases where there is no man? Or two men? It all boils down to personal preference and can differ between couples. My rule of thumb has always been that the person who initiated the date should pay unless discussed beforehand. Other couples I know take turns paying for date night, some couples may split the bill or pay for their own meal (more commonly on a first date as opposed to a long-term relationship). It is really up to the couple to decide.
We dislike tradition
The great thing about feminism is that a main factor is about CHOICE! Have you decided you’d like a big wedding, the white dress and all the trimmings? Sounds lovely! Maybe you’ve decided marriage isn’t your thing? That’s also fine!
Take this logic and apply it to all situations because people fought for your right to CHOOSE!
Feminism only helps women
Feminism helps everyone! We aim to make the world for every single person, man, woman and child, because when everyone has access to healthcare, education, choice and a good life generally, the world becomes a happier place.