‘Feminism’ should not be a dirty word

Man-hater. Lesbian. Socialist. Feminazi. These are all accusations leveled against feminists.

Anti-feminists and men’s rights activists have been complaining that the feminist movement has gone too far with its activism and has become about hating and limiting the rights of men.

The stereotype that all feminists hate men is simply not true. There may be some women who hate men and serve to bring them down, but this attitude does not belong to the majority and certainly does not represent the movement as a whole.

“There are different feminisms,” said Julie Winterich, associate professor of sociology and anthropology. “There isn’t one theory of feminism or one type of activism.”

The MRA website Women Against Men serves as a place where people express their concern for “feminists, government and society trampling men’s rights and their dignity into the ground — pitting women against men.”

Essentially, the site seeks to combat misandry or the hatred of men. However, the views expressed on the site only perpetuate more hatred.

One of the articles on the site said, “One of the main problems with ‘feminism’ is that it exploits the legitimate claims of equal rights as a cloak to usher in its divisive, hateful and neurotic interests; interests that are plainly anti-male and not at all about equal rights.”

The idea supported by the website — that feminism is based on the hatred of men — is destructive and false.

“Certainly throughout its history, there have been groups that have advocated for separatism where women should have women-only communities,” Winterich said. “But that has not been the dominant discourse in feminism.”

Feminism is about supporting women. Supporting women and trashing men are not mutually inclusive.

“For me and a lot of other scholars, feminism is the end of sexism,” said Winterich. “And sexism is a form of oppression against any gender based on the idea that one has more power than the other.”

Sexism comes in many forms, and no form is supported by feminists.

Despite its best efforts, the backlash and negative connotation surrounding feminism is not going to stop the movement. We still need feminism. Misogyny is still present, oppressive and supported by the system.

Recently, I heard the following riddle: a father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor comes in and exclaims, “I can’t operate on this boy! He’s my son!”

But that’s impossible. Because the surgeon couldn’t possibly be his mother — she’s a woman! Get it?

Let me be clear: this should not be a riddle.

According to a study by the research organization Catalyst in 2012, 34.3 percent of all physicians and 69.7 percent of all medical professionals were women.

Titles like “doctor” and “surgeon” should no longer be immediately equated with “man.”

Fixing the assumptions made about feminists starts with standing up for them. The reason people think it’s okay to be anti-feminist is because no one will correct them. There should be open discussions between MRAs and feminists where no one ends up laughed at.

If conversation fixes the problem, shouldn’t we start talking?