Fem***sm

ANGELA GLADKIKH
Director of Media and Communications

Plan International Girls Rights organization and its ambassador, Freida Pinto, at a Youth For Change event.

(Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) Plan International Girls Rights organization and its ambassador, Freida Pinto, at a Youth For Change event.

Frequently referred to as “man-haters” and “sexists,” the advocates of feminism have long been misrepresented by the media and its consumers. Surprisingly, even as most people arduously argue in favor of gender equality, only a handful allow themselves to be called “feminists” — a phenomenon that accurately demonstrates society’s feminist purge. The terror-inducing f-word is a lot like the elephant in the room, evidently taking up much of the conversation yet making everyone uncomfortable. A gust of disgust and scorn often serves as the public response to a seemingly unarmed statement, “I am a feminist.” Sadly, even the most supportive and progressive environments have fallen victim to the unfounded falsification of women’s rights advocacy.

Before the seemingly controversial and awkward conversation progresses any further, let us determine if you are a feminist. Do you think all human beings are created equal? Do you think women are human beings? If your answer was “yes” to both of these questions, then congratulations, you are in fact a true feminist. Indeed, feminism is not exclusively reserved to angry lesbians who hate married mothers, as many individuals are frequently led to believe. Decades of false media coverage of women’s rights advocacy has significantly skewed the public’s point of view.

In 2009, two researchers, Sylvia Jaworska of Queen Mary University and Ramesh Krishnamurthy of Aston University, published a study that analyzed feminism’s portrayal in the press. Their findings revealed many destructive misconceptions.

“Generally speaking, feminism receives little attention … and there is a climate of negativity surrounding the term,” said Jaworska and Krishnamurthy in their official report. “There is also a noticeable ‘willingness’ on the part of the press to report the demise of feminism, or to treat it with a degree of irony.”

Furthermore, search engine giants, like Google or Bing, reflect popular beliefs concerning the women’s rights movement. For experimental purposes, type “feminism is” in Google Search and see the suggestions that complete this sentence. Immediately, words like “bulls**t,” “bad,” and “dying” pop up. Clearly, when certain Google users searched “feminism is bad,” they mistakenly hit the letter “b” instead of “r” on their keyboards.

Despite the massive outreach through social media by campaigns like UN Women’s HeForShe (widely popularized by Emma Watson), feminists remain relentlessly hindered by the over-sexualization of women’s bodies, which is believed to be the persistent cause of sexist stereotypes. Unfortunately, Carl’s Jr. has yet to make a steamy commercial featuring a barely-clothed male model devouring a Western Bacon Cheeseburger. Nelly has yet to write a song about his love interest’s intellectual assets. And, Kylie Jenner has yet to openly date someone her own age (or at least someone within two years older than her).

The King’s Page conducted a survey to examine San Marcos’ students’ sentiments toward feminism. Due to the sensitive manner of the subject, the poll was anonymous to ensure expression of truthful answers. Most of the recorded responders defined feminists as exclusively female and revealed that they are feminists. Here are some of the replies:

“Feminists are anyone who believes in equality in all women and genders,” said a junior boy. He is a feminist, believes in equality of both sexes, and does not approve of the gender roles.  

“Feminists are women who want to be equal with guys for example go into war just like guys,” said a sophomore girl. In her reply, she rejected the idea that men and women are equal, refused to identify as a feminist, and looked favorably upon male superiority in gender roles.  

“People who advocate for social, economic, and political equality for the sexes [that is] women’s equality,” said a senior man. He believes in gender equality, considers himself a feminist, and completely disagrees with the idea of male-dominated gender roles.

Whether or not you approve of it, feminism is here to stay. The movement has grown extensively and shows no signs of slowing down. No matter how much time it will require, gender equality will ultimately be achieved and perhaps  the term “feminist” will no longer be required. Perhaps then “feminism” will represent the arcane injustices we face today.

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