What exactly is feminism?
In modern society, gender equality is seen as an expectation; coming about after decades of a political and social movement in aid of giving women the same rights as men. Those who hold these ideals coin the phrase ‘feminism’ to describe their beliefs.
Feminism can be defined as;
“a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish and achieve political, economic, personal, and social gender equality”
Let’s bust some myths
“Feminists hate men”
There is a distinct difference between hating men and hating the patriarchy. The patriarchy is a societal system dominated by men, where women are seen as inferior... a.k.a. misogyny. This is not hating men, feminists believe in equal rights and opportunities for everyone.
“Feminists only fight for women’s rights”
As can be seen from the dictionary definition of feminism, it is a movement aimed at achieving gender equality. In current society, there is still an inequality, where women face oppression politically, economically, personally and socially. Therefore, it would make sense that there is some focus on women’s rights, though this will change as society does.
“Men cannot be feminists”
Anyone can be a feminist, regardless of gender. If you believe that all genders are equal, then congratulations, you are a feminist!
Controversies in feminism
There are a select number of people who identify themselves as feminists and hold the divisive view that in order to be a woman, you must have been assigned female at birth. They have come to be known as ‘TERFS’ a.k.a. Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminists, who believe that trans-women are not women and should not be included in the argument of women’s rights.
Those who are opposed to these views state that TERFS are not in fact feminists, as they are excluding and oppressing trans women based on their gender. Therefore, undermining the basic principles of feminism.
Pankhurst was a leading British women's rights activist, who led the movement to win the right for women to vote. In 1889, Emmeline founded the Women's Franchise League, which fought to allow married women to vote in local elections.
Through her literature, public speaking and powerful writing, Maya Angelou inspired both women and African Americans to overcome gender and race discrimination. In 2011, Angelou was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her works that spanned over 50 years including 36 books, seven autobiographies and over 50 honorary degrees.