Back in the day it seemed that discussions on feminism were relegated to female-filled college classrooms and late night convos among our mothers and aunts.
Today, however, the topic of feminism has come back in style. It’s filling our newsfeeds, being debated by celebrities, and is once again taking the social and political scenes by storm.
But for many young professionals (YPs), the concept of feminism still remains a bit fuzzy, and many of us are still reluctant to identify as actual feminists.
Are you a feminist? Here’s our quick breakdown to help you decide:
What Feminism is Not
First off, it’s important to squash some of the common misconceptions of what feminism is and is not in today’s society.
This includes the idea that feminism is all about being pro-women and anti-men.
‘Cause – nope.
The old school image of hairy-legged, bra burning, man-hating feminists is just that, old school. A bra hasn’t been burned in decades and no one’s looking to step on any balls anymore.
Feminism is also not about victimizing women and vilifying men, as some misinformed critics of the movement seem to believe. Women are not damsels in distress and men are not all misogynistic monsters. In fact, feminism is an argument against those ideas.
And though the term “feminism” can sound one-sided and woman-centric, that’s just semantics so don’t get it twisted. Move past the name and learn what feminism actually means.
What Feminism is
Feminism = gender equality.
It’s that simple.
If you believe men and women deserve to exist on an equal playing field, from the political scene to the dating scene, the boardroom to the bedroom, then you’re a feminist.
Throughout history, societies have oppressed both men and women based on gender assumptions, and that includes our society right here and right now. Feminism is a movement to rectify that, insisting that we should all have the same opportunities, same respect, and the same rights.
Who could argue with that?
Speaking of arguing, despite what some people might seem to think, feminism is always open for discussion, and is always evolving. Today’s feminism includes conversations about equality across transgender, cultural, and racial lines.
Who We Can Follow
Looking for some modern day mentors? Emma Watson, actress, UN Goodwill Ambassador, and the latest fabulous face of feminism, rocked the media and political worlds last week with her enthralling speech and her new #HeForShe campaign.
Watson made an impassioned argument for why the feminist movement needs a fresh refueling, and invited men to be the ones to provide that new energy. If you haven’t yet watched the vid and clicked the hashtag, get on it.
Popular actor and filmmaker Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is another prominent punim on the gender equality front, having said in many interviews that he identifies as a feminist. Gordon-Levitt is an example of a fairly new and very important character in the feminist movement: the feminist man. See his latest genius on the subject here: Re: Feminism
These two shiny faces and brilliant minds give today’s potential feminists an easy and welcoming entryway into the realm of gender equality. Follow them on Twitter (@EmWatson, @hitRECordJoe), along with some of the more classic figures in feminism: Gloria Steinem (@GloriaSteinem) and Hilary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) – yes, they tweet too.)
Why Feminism Matters to YPs
As with most modern movements, we YPs stand in an incredibly influential spot. We are the next generation of shot callers, and as long as violence toward women continues, and as long as boys are still told to “be a man,” and as long as inequality among the sexes exists, then it’s up to us to keep feminism on the frontlines.
All of us. Men and women. #HeforShe.