A lot of people feel a bit uneasy when they hear the term 'feminist', they imagine it relates to someone who hates men and burns bras in their spare time. This is of course completely false. Yes feminism is more than just a simple dictionary term, and there's a spectrum of interpretations attached to it, but it's also far from being a word that encourages women to hate on everyone who has a penis. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
So let's get some of the facts straight. Here are the most common misconceptions about feminism.
1. All feminists hate men
Nope. Misandrists hate men. Feminism does NOT equal misandry. A feminist is someone who believes people should have equitable places in society regardless of their gender.
2. They want to eradicate all men from the planet!
Not the case. The idea that feminists want to get rid of all the men in the world is based partly upon media representations of radical feminism from the 60s and 70s. Thanks media.
3. All feminists are lesbian
People seem to think that if you’re a woman who supports women, then hey presto, you’re all about women! Feminists can be whatever sexual orientation they wish!
4. Feminists are anti-bra
In 1968 a group of feminists protested the Miss America pageant by burning their bras along with tights, fake eyelashes, make-up etc. which is where this association comes from. However, it's not a compulsary part of calling yourself a feminist! You don't have to put your bra on the BBQ to expect equal pay, support sex workers & fight domestic violence.
5. Feminists don't ever shave
Shaving is a choice, like wearing your bra. If feminism prescribed every single thing you were allowed to do it would be a bit of a shit movement wouldn't it?
6. It's basically impossible to be feminine and a feminist at the same time
Fundamentally, feminism is about giving women the right to choose. It doesn't set out to limit self-expression. Choice is good! Deciding to wear a pink dress, or dungarees or paint your nails is taste, it doesn't have to be some big political statement. Dress for yourself and wear what makes you feel awesome. That's all that matters.
7. Feminists hate marriage
Loads of people dislike marriage! Of course there are questionable parts to a traditional wedding e.g. the vows that have the woman promise she'll 'obey' the groom, how women are expected to take the groom's last name and the part where the father has to 'give away' the bride. However, this isn't the middle ages any more, people can get hitched the way they want and are comfortable with. Love is what we're celebrating here!
8. If you hold a door open for a feminist she'll kill you
Try it and find out, I think you'll be okay.
9. If you offer to pay for dinner a feminist will kill you
10. Men and women are totes equal now. We don't NEED feminism
There's still a lot to be done on gender equality. There is a massive pay gap, there's the perception that women can’t have it all (a career and a family) while a man can and for women there' still a far greater emphasis on appearance highlighted by these awesome re-written tabloid headlines. This just skims the surface, in fact you might want to check out how the media failed women in 2013.
11. Only women can be feminists
Nope, not at all true. You can possess a Y chromosome and be a feminist. If you believe that women should be politically, socially, and economically equal to men, guess what? YOU'RE A FEMINIST BRO!
12. Feminism only cares about women
Feminism isn't just for women; it aims to liberate men by breaking down the standards which society has put in place for both genders. Think about it: men are told that they have to be macho, emotionless and never show weakness. These socially constructed norms are just as damaging to men. Feminism says that it's okay for men to be whoever they want to be!
13. Feminists can't take a joke
True if you think Patrick Stewart, Bill Bailey, Caitlin Moran, Zooey Deschanel and Tina Fey aren't funny.