By Rachel Dolbec, guest columnist
The word “feminism” has become taboo in today’s society.
The minute you say you are a feminist, most people assume it means you hate all men. That’s because of the stigma surrounding the feminist movement.
I have experienced this myself. One time, I was out with a friend and that person’s mother and happened to mention I am an advocate of feminism. The mother responded with, “Oh God, please tell me you’re not one of those.” Hearing this from a woman shocked me to my very core.
As a woman, if you are not a feminist then you must not care about women having the same opportunities as men.
Yes, I am “one of those.” I am a feminist who promotes the true definition of feminism: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.
Many people today believe that feminism is synonymous with misandry – hating men. It’s not. The reason this belief exists is because men run the world.
When women try to stick up for our rights, such as trying to change the fact that women make 75 cents to every dollar a man makes, it is written off as looking for something to complain about. Because nobody needs feminism, right?
Wrong. I need feminism. I need feminism because my middle school told me how to dress when there were no rules for how the boys could dress. When called out about this inequality, they simply said that it was because I was “too young to be wearing shorts that short.” Well, in that case, then I am also too young for you to be sexualizing me for wearing them.
I need feminism because rape courts still ask what the victim was wearing. I need feminism because I want – no, I deserve – to be able to walk down the street without worrying about being harassed and catcalled, merely because I decided to wear a skirt that day. As a woman, I don’t mind being ‘checked out’ by other people; what I do mind is being stared at like I’m a piece of meat.
I need feminism because I need people to understand that the number of times I have sex says nothing about my character. I need feminism because I am done with being quieted about these issues, only because they upset misogynists.
Feminism isn’t just for men and women anymore. Feminism is for all genders, binary and non-binary alike. Feminism is about equality for everyone and raising the living standards for people all around the world.
The feminist movement is here to help stop rape culture, to end “honour” crimes and to permanently remove sexism from society as a whole.
It will be around forever because, as Cheris Kramarae puts it, “feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings,” and there is nothing “taboo” about that.
Rachel Dolbec is a Grade 11 student at Belmont secondary.