Feminism ideals not only positively affect women, but also men and those who fall within the gray area between feminine and masculine.
Instead of demonizing feminism and making a mockery of it, students should support it. As a self-proclaimed male feminist, I have noticed the bad reputation feminism gets nowadays. I am a feminist because it attacks the cultural norms and standards put in place to restrict women and men.
I am a person who blurs gender lines and regularly switches between a face full of makeup and less elaborate attire such as a T-shirt and basketball shorts. The condemnation of femininity directly affects me. As an effeminate man, feminism is important to me.
In a large portion of third-wave feminist groups, the disruption of the gender binary and sex positivity are key concepts. These views do not represent the entirety of third-wave feminism nor do they speak for all members of the group, but it is a huge part of the movement.
The disruption of the gender binary allows women to define feminism however they see fit within the context of their own lives. In this conception, feminists fight against any universal notions that dictate what constitutes femininity. This fight against restrictive gender norms benefits men in that they are no longer confined only to traditional masculinity.
The sex positivity aspect of feminism rejects bonds on female sexuality. Sex positivity allows for varied sexualities and sexual practices. Sex positivity counteracts the shame the second wave of feminism placed on prostitution, pornography and promiscuity. These two key concepts are what dominate much of modern discourse among feminists.
However, students must understand within any group there are radicals. This vocal minority can often create a false narrative in the public eye. Like with any other group, radical feminists do not represent the majority or even a considerable minority of the group. The old saying rings true—one bad apple really can spoil the whole bunch.
That said, the vilification of feminism is the reaction of a privileged class. Whenever something comes along to topple the privilege and opportunity of one group, there will always be conflict. Positive work has been done in the past century, but male privilege, or more specifically, white heterosexual male privilege, still exists.
I do not expect privileged groups to give up their privilege without a fight—after all, who wants to give up their power and influence? No one wants to diminish the role they have grown accustomed to and comfortable with.
Those who see feminism as redundant or a movement that has run its course are out of touch with reality. In third-wave feminism, women and the feminist men who choose to support them are no longer fighting for suffrage and surface-level equality. Those rights were addressed by first and second-wave feminism, respectively.
The fight we are currently engaged is much deeper. Sexism is like an iceberg—the huge pillar piercing the sky has already been conquered, but the other 90 percent that sits below the surface still has yet to be tackled.
I am tired of hearing girls like Taylor Swift distancing themselves by saying things like, “…oh, but I am not a feminist,” as if it is something to look down upon. Really, Taylor? Thanks for clarifying. Your constant sob stories about boys made me think otherwise—not.
Women still cannot even fight on the front lines in the United States. This is just one example of the fact feminism still has work to do. When you put a gun in someone’s hand, a woman is just as dangerous as a man. Genitalia does not equate to power, strength or competence. This is just one instance in which feminism is still relevant and necessary.
The mission of many, but not all, third-wave feminists is to demolish gender norms and hinder unfair expectations based on sex—a commendable goal. Students should educate themselves before they make unfair generalizations or oversimplifications of what feminism is and what feminists do.