Feminism: An issue of Word Choice?

by Rusty on September 15, 2014 - 9:02pm


Let’s face it, feminism is a scary word. It’s been proven time and time again. The word feminism has been, in my brash opinion, tarnished, by radical raging lesbians who reject all contact with the common natural world, and more specifically, men.  Now this seems a bit harsh, I know, but it has been proven time and time again that people fear feminism, both male and female (See “Women Against Feminism: http://womenagainstfeminism.tumblr.com /) .Even true feminists, such as Abigail Rine, sometimes questions the term feminism, as she writes in her article (http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/05/the-pros-and-cons-of-abandoning-the-word-feminist/275511/). I know that when I’m approached by a woman claiming to be a feminist, I curl up into fetal position and brace for impact. Although 99% of the time I actually have a proper and rather enjoyable conversation with said woman, I still have that same reaction every time.  Now some may argue that this may be my lack of the ability to learn, but I would argue something different. I would argue that the word feminism is at fault. Not that there was anything wrong with the term feminism when it first came to be, in the conception of the movement for female rights. I feel as though the word feminism has outlived its purpose. Feminism was meant to fight for WOMEN and only for WOMEN. I believe that in this day in age, it’s no longer an issue of fighting for women’s rights, but an issue of reaching equality. No more protesting for a right to vote, but doing something with said vote, voting for equality among EVERYONE. Restricting such a movement with the name feminism encourages only a certain variety of people to join the cause. I support modern feminism in its fight for the equality of the sexes, but I wouldn’t dare refer to myself as a feminist. I would rather refer to myself and an EQUALITARIATIST (It’s a work in progress…). The issue with the word feminism is that it carries too much of a negative context. It’s a word directly gear towards woman, which makes a man (or a woman)  feel out of place when referred to as such. I, as most people (I’d like to imagine), crave to see a world where we can put such petty issues behind us and move forward together as the human race, not as individual groups fighting for air in the everlasting struggle for power. I believe that if feminism wishes to regain lost ground, and finally achieve their goal of equality, they need to perform quite the facelift (obscure pun absolutely intended) and, as Ghandi once said, “Become the change you wish to see in the world”, by adopting a more equality-geared name.




Your title immediately got my attention. Admittedly, the true meaning of feminism is often misunderstood because of outdated preconceptions. Some people still associate "feminism" only with women's rights and believe that the movement is no longer relevant; which I firmly disagree with. Sure, before entering Cegep and my first sociology class I never really knew the "current " definition of feminism. I was among those still "stuck" with the old sense of the word. But it didn't take long to embrace the new wider use of the term where egalitarianism or "equalitarism", as you so aptly called it, takes precedence. Yes, some people may never grasp the new definition of feminism, and because of it, mock its adherents. Most though are capable of following the evolution of words, especially those frequently used and cornerstones in a language. Case in point, the word racism. This term also has evolved. In the past, racism was mainly associated with violent acts (inflicted on minority groups). Now, "new racism" also includes more subtle forms of prejudice; more vocal and less physical. With time, terminologies evolve and change. All we need to do is inform people about them. Instead of changing the word, offering courses and education could be a solution. What do you think?

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