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  • Sasha Anand

We don't hate men: Feminism debunked

By Samantha Quinones

Happy Women’s History Month! What better way to celebrate than to understand exactly how feminism came to be, and all the struggles along with it? In this article we will be discussing what exactly feminism is, how it came about, what its waves are, and lastly some common misconceptions.

Let’s start off by defining what exactly feminism is. In its simplest terms, feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality of gender. All that means is women want to have the same rights as any other gender and not be discriminated against because of gender bias. The whole point of it is to end gender discrimination and bring about gender equality.

Seems pretty basic, right? Well, while defining feminism in its broadest terms is quite easy, there is actually a lot of lore behind how feminism began. What most people don’t know is there’s actually multiple waves of feminism, and that different countries are currently in different waves. Let’s break down exactly what these entail using the history of our very own USA, and if history isn’t really your thing, scroll to the end of the paragraphs to see the definitions of each.

The 1st wave was between 1884 - 1920. This was the very start of feminism in America. It began with the convection at Seneca Falls, where feminist icons Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott lead the petition of 12 resolutions, 11 of which were unanimous. They focused on women’s right to vote, and in 1920, white women received the right to vote, while in 1965, women of color received their right to vote.

The different dates certain women got the ability to vote has caused controversy among many feminists nowadays, as they claim 1st and 2nd wave feminists were still somewhat discriminatory based on skin color. However, the overall goal of 1st wave feminism is gaining basic women’s rights, and many countries today are still stuck in this wave, but are progressing with the help of 3rd and 4th wave feminists!

The 2nd wave was between the 1963 - 1980s, and it called for a reevaluation of gender norms and roles, and an end to gender discrimination in America. These women took the small flame 1st wave feminists had set in motion and turned it into a wildfire. They began truly challenging the patriarchy and unfairness societal expectations had placed on them. Being a housewife and having children was slowly no longer a forced expectation, but becoming a free choice women now had the option of. They pushed the Equal Pay Act, and went through being cases, such as the currently controversial Roe vs. Wade court case of reproductive freedom. Again, a main problem was that it heavily focused on white women instead of all women, but that’s where 3rd wave feminists came into play. To finish off with 2nd wave feminists and summarize their goals, they focus on tackling main societal rooted prejudice against women in addition to basic rights.

3rd wave feminism is where it gets a little tricky. It started in the1990s and is currently happening at the same time as 4th wave feminism. They have always been somewhat at odds with 1st and 2nd wave feminists, and constantly aimed to separate themselves from them, claiming they still discriminated amongst other women based on skin color. However, they respect the foundation other feminists before them were able to lay out. Their main focus covered harassment of women in the workplace and lack of women in power. They also sought to encourage women to express their individuality/sexuality and be more inclusive of women of other races. Inclusivity is key when it comes to 3rd wave feminists

4th wave is ever-present today. Some consider it to be an extension of the 3rd wave, while others believe it to be a whole new idea separate from previous waves. It focuses on derailing corrupt systems that allow harassment and misconduct to occur instead of just raising awareness to the people about injustices in gender discrimination. Social media has had a major impact as well, bringing about more insecurities than ever for men and women alike. Due to our favorite socials like Instagram and TikTok, people compare themselves to everyone like no tomorrow, which is why 4th wave feminists hyper-focus on inclusivity to any and all women, and spread positive messages to men struggling with self doubt as well.

Unfortunately, lots of people nowadays tend to misunderstand what exactly feminism is because of common stereotypes portrayed on Instagram reels, TikToks, and other forms of interactive social media. So, what exactly are people getting wrong about feminism, and what’s the truth behind it all? 

The most common current misconception is that feminists hate all men. Yeah, yeah, I know that popular audio probably just popped into your head, but in reality, true feminists only hold very strong negative feelings towards the few men who participate in discriminatory behavior, or who allow it to happen with no repercussions, and in fact are somewhat averse to the women who deem it acceptable as well.

Another popular one is that feminists want power over men. This one is pretty easy to debunk as the whole point of feminism isn’t to have power over men but to share it with them as equals. Feminists don’t want anyone to suffer the suppression they have, so it makes no sense as to why they would try to subject men to the same treatment.

A lot of people believe we’ve already reached gender equality and that feminism is useless now, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, more developed countries such as the United States have much more inclusion than ever before, but there are still countries where women haven’t even reached 2nd wave feminism, such as Afghanistan, Syria, and South Sudan.

The goal is to continue until every woman in the world, regardless of where they are from, have the freedom to choose whatever life they want without fear of prejudice or violence.

The all too familiarized stereotype of feminists being angry, radical, easily offended, and “all the same” has also become quite popular on social media, and while some feminists can be toxic when spreading the message of feminism, a majority are not at all. Just like feminism, feminists are diverse and come from every background. Anyone can be a feminist, including men, so generalizing such a big movement is ignorant in and of itself. That’s not to say that some of the jokes aren’t done in good humor, but you should make sure not to post something out of disrespect.

The last major misconception is that feminists want opportunities handed to them and don’t want to actually work. I mean, would it be nice to have a rich hot partner who lets you buy whatever you want so you don’t have to work? Yeah, probably. But the reality is that giveaways are not what feminists are pushing for. The idea is to have the freedom to choose whatever life YOU want to lead, regardless of your gender. So, if you wanna girlboss your way through life, go ahead and become that millionaire, but if you want to be a housewife, you go be the best housewife! At the end of the day, that freedom of choice comes from the efforts of true feminists, who simply want people to be able to live their life without dealing with gender restrictions.

I hope this was helpful for you and gave you something interesting to think about! If you want to continue reading articles such as these, go check out our other articles or DM us @youth__press on Instagram for new topics you want to see!


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