Clearing Up The Definition Of Feminism, And Why Even The West Needs It

Through being a member of The Feministas, I’ve encountered and become aware of many more opinions regarding feminism and feminists than before. One example is of an Instagram user who commented on this post on my Instagram account (@booksteaonesie, if you’re interested ;)) (OK, shameless self-promotion over) soon after becoming a Feminista:

This photo spawned 21 comments, primarily from two different people (and myself, obvs). One of these people argued that believing in equality did not equate to being a feminist, something I entirely disagree with. They said this was the case  because by definition feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men”. However, if you look in the Oxford dictionary (or the Oxford dictionary website, as I did), you’ll find that this is actually the definition of feminism:

feminism definition

My understanding of this definition is that although feminism primarily focuses on improving women’s rights (because they need the most improving), equality of the sexes is the ultimate goal. Not to have women superior and fantastic and worshipped like gods, which appears to be a fairly widespread understanding of the definition of feminism. Of course, there are many different definitions floating around out there, but I think this is the one that I want to base my identity as a feminist on – and I suspect many (if not all) of the other Feministas would second that. Also, although it may seem like feminism is only about women, there are people fighting for overall gender equality, including men’s equality, for issues like the fact there’s a massive stereotype that men have to have six packs and act manly and never show emotion. I won’t go into massive detail about that now (I’m running out of time) but as a starter, I highly recommend you listen to Emma Watson’s incredible speech to the United Nations.

Another thing that this commenter said was “if it feminism did advocate for everyone’s equality then it would not be referred to as feminism. The word feminism is pertained to the word female. Not equality.” [sic] OK, this is kinda a good point. I think the origin of the word ‘feminism’ is related to ‘female’ because originally, the movement was much more based around women’s rights, whereas more recently the focus on men and women’s rights has become more equal. Also, something I saw on probably a Tumblr text post on Facebook – how can the word ‘feminism’ be sexist when the word widely used  for all humans is ‘mankind’?

OK, now onto an issue the other commenter raised. She said about much the same things as the previous one, but added something – she’s not a feminist because she doesn’t think the west really needs feminism, what with all the laws against gender pay gaps and whatnot. Now, I don’t have the time right now to research gender pay gaps in the West in detail, but I’ll leave you with this: one reason I believe the West needs feminism as well as more Eastern LEDCs, is that while crocodile steaks, helicopters and edible sugar flowers aren’t taxed because they’re supposedly essential products, women’s sanitary products are taxed because they’re apparently a luxury and not essential. And that’s in the UK. I believe that isn’t right, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m a feminist.

*mic drop*

(sorry, couldn’t resist).

An Overthinking Teenager

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7 thoughts on “Clearing Up The Definition Of Feminism, And Why Even The West Needs It

  1. queenupliftyou says:

    Are you apart of a feminism organization? If so where can I found out some more information on feminism! I’ve always been interested and I learned how it started with human rights but I would like to learn what is it in today’s world and how can I become involved?


  2. Emma says:

    I really agree with this post! It drives me insane when people misinterpret what feminism really is and, unfortunately, those people are often those who label themselves as ‘feminists’. My issues with feminism really all come from the hard-line group as I think they make too much of a stink about things that, yes, are problems, but there are so many bigger problems that a group with such a following could tackle (for example, girls not being aloud to go to school). So thank you for reminding me that I actually have no issues with the ‘equality feminism’! 😀 xx


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