The Real Deal: Why you might be a feminist and not even know it

Ryan Fox

In my short time being involved in politics, I’ve noticed a surprising trend. Most people seem to refrain from identifying as being a feminist. Even my liberal and progressive colleagues will refrain from the term, and this is because of the negative connotations the term has earned due to pop culture. When many hear the word feminist they think of rallies and “feminazis.” This however is not even close to the true goal and meaning of feminism. In fact, you might be a feminist. So, let me shed some light on what a feminist truly is.

Do you think men and women should be treated equally under the law? Do you support men and women being treated equally in the work place? What about in the classroom? If you said yes to these questions, then you already support the idea of feminism when it comes to legal equality. Many people have the idea that feminism is the idea that women should rise up and dominate the world, and that is not what feminism is at all. Feminism simply calls for men and women to be treated the same by their bosses, police, teachers, etc. Feminism is gender equality for all genders, plain and simple.

Of course feminism is not just a political ideology. Feminism calls for certain changes to be made in our society as well. You would have to be living under a rock to not have noticed that women are far more sexualized in the media than men are. Women on average in their lifetime will make only roughly 80% of what a man makes. Fifty-two percent of America’s workforce is made up of women, but women only account for 14% of chief executive positions. Only 20% of the seats in congress are held by women. The most common crime committed on college campus is not theft, not vandalism, but sexual assault. It is so common that one out of every four female college students will be sexually assaulted and a great deal of the cases will never be solved.

Does any of that bother you? Do any of those statistics make you think: “Maybe we need to change that?” Well then, you might just be a feminist after all.

So you might wonder, why do people who agree with feminists avoid calling themselves feminists? Well, one reason that many men refrain from calling themselves feminists is because they think it is an exclusively women’s movement. Well, that is not true by any means. In fact, the first person to ever coin the term “feminism” was a French man named Charles Fourier. I am a man, and I’ve been a feminist since I’ve understood what the word meant. Anyone can be a feminist.

Now, there are yet other reasons that people avoid calling themselves a feminist. Just like any ideology, there are those that have taken feminism and radicalized it. There are people on the internet that do genuinely believe women should subjugate men. These people have given feminism a bad image, just like how Islamic extremists have given Islam a bad reputation in the West. But just like how Al Qaeda and ISIS do not accurately represent Muslims, these radicals are not accurately represent true feminists.

Now that we have talked about what feminism is, it should be easy for you to decide: Do you support the equality of all genders? Do you want there to be change so that women have a level playing field? Yes? Then you are a feminist.