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Feminism is often a word that creates huge controversy in politics, general society and dinner time conversations. Sometimes, the word alone sparks fear and in some cases, a potentially overpowering feeling of anger (even though it shouldn’t). However, people often think that feminism is an opportunity for women and people who identify under the feminine category to have a certain advantage over men and those who identify as such, which is completely untrue. You may come across misandrists promoting ‘fake feminism’ that glorifies women to make them appear superior so that men feel inferior. Equally, you may see misogynists promoting their ideas of feminism, usually laced with comments that depict women as inferior. This is not feminism. Feminism is about equality. Equal rights for all. Equal workplace rights and the freedom to feel respected and safe from all perspectives. Realistically, no gender is better than the other for we are all the same species – human – but unfortunately, the odd selection of people from either side of the gender divide seem to believe they are superior.

Social media is a huge contribution to the conflict. Terms like ‘fragile masculinity’ being used too lightly are detrimental to what women have worked for, for decades. When we use the term ‘fragile masculinity’ to insult men and those who identify under the masculine umbrella for things like showing emotion or not conforming to societal norms, we are literally taking the work of previous feminists and destroying what they protested so hard for. Granted, sometimes fragile masculinity is the case for some misogynistic acts against women and feminine people, but other times where misandrists use it much too lightly is just unacceptable. People often use it on social media without knowing its true meaning. The term describes a man’s anxiety and aggression they feel when they feel their ‘masculinity’ is being challenged which can lead to things like violence and homophobia. But people often use it as a general insult to men and masculine people when they see something that isn’t ‘normal’ (in their eyes). For example, when a man or masculine person wears a skirt instead of trousers because they’re more widely accepted by society, you often hear someone say that it is down to ‘fragile masculinity’ – for me, I have heard this insult used by people around me several times in this exact scenario and I have had to distance myself from these people ever since. Strictly speaking, this is so detrimental to a persons character when it is used completely incorrectly. As a feminist, it is important to lift others up – don’t make anyone feel inferior because that is not what feminism is. Might I remind you that if you are someone who has said something like this, feminism is about equality, acceptance and equal rights FOR ALL. Not just for women.

It is not uncommon for you to see girls and women to confuse feminism with misandry – the belief that women are simply better and men are just bad people. For me personally, this angers me because it is a completely uneducated and immature attitude to have. Feminism is not just a word. It is a movement. It is history and it will be the future. Our ancestors fought for so long and so hard to reach the point where we are today and our work still isn’t done. Feminism is often so entangled with gender stereotypes that we lose sight of the actual end goal of the movement – acceptance and equality for all REGARDLESS of your gender or what stereotype you seem to fit. I also think that it is not talked about enough in schools as a misogynistic mindset is most commonly adopted by teenage boys in their formative years, and misandry is a mindset commonly adopted by teenage girls. If we can stop this progression early, then we might get further than we are currently getting with the feminism movement. Education on this subject is mightily important.

This leads me onto my next point of discussion – the ancestral fight for equality in the face of adversity. The official year of the emergence of feminism was 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention, New York, USA. Feminism peaked between 1850 and 1945, with several movements in between. Feminists understood that society not only divided people because of gender, but also race, sexuality, class, religion and more, hence why the fight for equality is often described as equality for all. The most important and socially impacting group, advocating for feminism was most certainly the Suffragettes. On the 6th of February, 1918, the Representation of People Act was passed, changing life in the UK forever. It allowed women to vote for the first time, ever. Obviously, even after the act was passed, there was still a gender divide, but it was a crucial step towards equality. It stated that women over the age of 30 who owned a house could vote (2 in every 5 women in the United Kingdom) which meant 8.5 million women could now vote. It also granted men over the age of 21 the right to vote too, as well as men in the Armed Forces the right to vote from age 19. The number of men who could vote went from 8 million to 21 million. Of course, there was still a clear divide but this was a huge milestone for women. It was another 10 years before women could vote the same way men could. Up until the Victorian era (1837-1901), women had very few rights at all and only served a utilitarian purpose to the household – we have come a long way since, however we still have a journey ahead of us.

The world will never be perfect. Not everyone will be accepting but everyone has the capacity to love. It is down to us to spread it – one of the few gifts that are free and eternal. If you are reading this and would like to educate yourself a little more on the subject of feminism, here are some amazing links to some great websites:

Remember – feminism is about equality. No gender is better. Feminism does not equal misandry and it does not stand for misogyny. We can always be more educated and more accepting – should you choose to protest or attend a protest, please do so respectfully and safely. Might I also add that if you are surrounded by people who oppose the feminism movement and generally do have a misandrist or misogynistic mindset, consider distancing yourself from these people before their behaviour influences yours. This is the future.

XOXO, Lola


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