By: Jordan Graber
I used to be scared of feminism. I think a lot of people are still wary when they hear the word and connect their understanding of it. Often, those associated with the word feminism are often seen as angry, aggressive and in opposition of men. This is the first problem with this many people’s relationship with this term; misunderstanding.
Feminism by definition is, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes”. In recent years, it has taken the world by storm, forming a movement of uprising men and women fighting for the equal rights of all genders. Only recently has it truly been a topic that is important in my own life.
At first, I didn’t really know what the term meant in order to understand my own stance on the subject. As a young woman growing up, I never really recognized the stereotypes towards women, and have been lucky to have experienced no discrimination against my femininity.
I am also fortunate to say that I am confident in my abilities and my feminine qualities. I am a warrior woman and I know that I don’t need a man to tell me who I can be. Given my experiences, why should I inquire further about this social movement.
Unfortunately, this is a common thought that women today may have. It is almost an ignorant stance to take on a relevant social issue.
Feminism is a difficult subject to grasp and is often viewed as an unpleasant subject to discuss openly. But just because the topic may be difficult does not mean that we should be oblivious to the struggles and positions within the movement. Despite the media coverage worldwide, it seems as though topics such as feminism and human rights are constantly pushed to the wayside, ignored and forgotten.
In recent years, it has taken the world by storm, forming a movement of uprising men and women fighting for the equal rights of all genders. Only recently has it truly been a topic that is important in my own life.
I myself have lived my life without fear of prejudice towards my gender. Although I have experienced it, it’s not something I let take me down. Though the term implies that women should be concerned with the movement, experiences vary from woman to woman. As a result, not all women share the same views or interest in the topic. Nonetheless, this topic should be addressed and understood, not feared. In order to achieve this, we should practice open-mindedness and free discussion.
Although your stance may come as second nature, we can’t let our own experiences define those of others. Women have always, and I predict will always face some injustice when it comes to competition with men. As they are different in nature, misinterpretation and generalizing are bound to exist.
Every aspect of our culture is full of stereotypes about marginalized communities.
The best way to learn about the movement is to take part in it. And no, you don’t have to call yourself a “feminist” in order to do so. For those looking for a nearby cause for female awareness, invest some time in Take Back the Night. An annual march in Hamilton organized by the Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton Area). A feminist, community based organization that works to end sexual violence against women and break social and political boundaries.
Similarly, the “Slut Walk” is a transnational event that is held at different times of the year around the globe, including Hamilton and Toronto, that works to end rape culture and slut shaming of survivors of sexual assault.
Events that work in this greater social movement encourage us to question, our roles and responsibilities. This is not a simple question, and does not come with an easy answer. Personally, I’m terrified of confrontation, and I guess the millions of silent watchers are too. However, I think the issue is that people just don’t want to see what is going on. This can definitely be seen an ignorant position to hold against 21st century ideals.
This is a problem because many may be too afraid to take responsibility for our mistakes and misjudgements, are too scared to stand up and do so. I understand the struggle. Being a feminist is not easy. Being any sort of activist is going to be come with struggle, but my take is, if there is something that you believe must be addressed, fight for it.
We as humans inherently fear being singled out by others, but this is minor next to the larger issue. One does not need to organize a rally to show support for one another. Responsibility is as simple as taking the initiative to learn about a cause. An issue like gender equality isn’t something to be fixed overnight, but with some effort, it can be understood overnight.
I no longer fear feminism. I identify as a feminist. I will fight for my own rights and for the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves.