Being a feminist on the internet in the twenty-first century is a feat in itself, but the questions that come after admitting that you’re a feminist are something else entirely. I find it crazy that in a seemingly progressive world that there are still people who are afraid to admit that they agree with gender equality, and even more crazy that feminism is still stigmatized. Out of every argument I receive, the predominant one always goes along the lines of “In the modern world, women are basically considered equal, so who even needs feminism anymore?” and this is a completely valid question. To a person who doesn’t spend every day fighting against gender inequality, it’s normal to not even consider the discrimination faced by different genders, which begs the question: Who the hell needs feminism?
In short, my answer is: everybody.
Everybody can benefit from feminism, and I believe that comes from the root of the word. The biggest argument against feminism I hear is that it should be called egalitarianism instead of feminism, because that way, it would sound more “equal”. This argument, unfortunately, doesn’t make much sense. The reason feminism is called feminism is because it is the feminine qualities in people that get attacked, no matter what gender, race, or sexuality a person is. Feminism is the fight for everyone to display feminine characteristics no matter who they are, and the fight for the right to be feminine without discrimination. Therefore, feminism is for everybody.
Regardless of who a person is, they’re likely going to be looked down upon for displaying feminine characteristics. Being quiet, dependent, emotional, and nurturing would be likely viewed as a weakness rather than a strength regardless of who you are. As a woman, a person could be pressured to fill these roles regardless of her personality, which could take away from her personal career and life goals and stereotype her. As a man, a person could be harassed and viewed as lesser for displaying these characteristics. Feminism works to remove the stigma around feminine characteristics to make being feminine easier for men, women, and everyone in between. Feminism takes the pressure off women to be mothers and supports men who want to be fathers by fighting for things such as changing tables in men’s bathrooms and supporting men who fight for custody of their children. Feminism takes the pressure off women to wear makeup and allows men the freedom to wear makeup. Feminism supports individuals in their interests regardless of who society expects them to be, and for a social movement, that is an incredible feat.
All of these things may be first-world issues, but feminism has an obvious role in lesser developed parts of the world as well. Breaking the traditional family structure is beneficial for everyone who feels forced into a traditional gender role. Feminism provides a support system for women in abusive situations, providing financial support for women who are not allowed an education and are forced to be dependent on husbands and fathers, and supports young girls who are raised in a society that expects them to grow up to be subservient to their family and husband. By discussing and raising awareness for women and girls in these situations, we’re able to adequately formulate solutions to support people who cannot support themselves. Regardless of socioeconomic status, femininity should not be viewed as a negative, and feminism works to break this traditional view and support the choice of whether or not to be feminine.
Anyone who has feminine qualities needs feminism. The fact that some people are going to read this article and scoff, genuinely believing they have no feminine qualities (newsflash: you do) are the reason we need feminism. Feminine qualities are a part of human nature and nothing to be ashamed of, nor is the lack of feminine qualities. People have fought hard for the rights women and everyone with feminine qualities have today, both legally and socially, and to act like we would have the rights we do today without these people is ignorant. Feminism is for everyone, regardless of who you are and where you come from, and even if you choose to deny it, it will fight for you just as it always has.