Feminism has a bad reputation and nearly always has. The word “feminist” brings up mental images of angry, man-hating bra-burners who are ugly, always single and al- ways mean. The simple truth is that many people don’t want to be educated on what feminism really means because they don’t want to deal with the fact that it might turn out to be a label that describes them. And even if it’s not true, who wants to be thought of as an angry, sad, bra- burning, man-hating old maid? Nobody. Here are some simple facts fighting that nasty stereo- type. First, feminists are actually angry – so this one’s true. They are angry because their eyes have been opened to the re- alities of hierarchy and oppres- sion in the world, and there is a strong disconnect between the world they see and the harmon- ic world they desire. This anger is a catalyst to fight for change and to break through the boxes we are all placed in as members of a society (but never truly fit in). However, feminists are not man-haters. In fact, many femi- nists love men. If they didn’t, they might even be a bad femi- nist. You see, the whole idea is to recognize and appreciate all hu- mans – embracing their differ- ences and acknowledging that each person deserves a voice, equal rights and a society that creates an even playing field. It’s definitely not about taking away the rights of men, or lift- ing up women so they become the superior forces of the world. The bra-burning myth is a really strange lie that has somehow followed feminists around for decades. It never happened… no bras have been burnt. Look it up. Even if it had, while it is symbolic for disregarding op- pressive beauty standards, this stereotype undermines the greater goals of feminists. These goals – like reshaping oppressive social systems, questioning gen- der roles and stereotypes, and fighting for equality of ALL peo- ple – are all side effects of truly believing in the innate value of each individual. In a world that really believed that, there would be no inequality, no oppression and perhaps even no hate. It’s difficult to hate someone when you recognize the things they bring to the table. And of course, there is so much more to femi- nism. So many theories, spe- cific points of activism, waves, and historical figures that you might as well take a whole class on it. But if you’re new to the idea, this is a good place to start. And, if while reading this, you find yourself feeling that you too wish to live in a world where each human life is valued and oppression in its many forms is recognized and corrected, then you just might be a feminist.
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