Feminism has been around for millenia. From women in Ancient Rome to people today, principles of feminism have been in circulation within societies across the globe for a very long time.
However, it has changed and evolved a lot over the years.
The most significant gains this movement achieved, arguably, happened in the last century. Women have been given legal rights and independence in most countries around the world, but only in the last one hundred years or so. Really, it wasn’t long before this that the term ‘feminism’ was itself coined.
However, in this time, the movement has expanded and shifted, and like almost all political ideologies, different branches of feminism have been formed. Now, there are liberal feminists, Marxist feminists, radical feminists and many, many more. Regardless of these categories, most feminists are pushed into an umbrella category which is overwhelmingly negative and pejorative. Even in this day and age, a lot of people view feminists as aggresive and uncivilised. Because they stand up for themselves, or because they want to be treated fairly. They are not that ‘perfect’ woman that society tells them to be.
I remember being laughed at on the school bus when I didn’t deny being a feminist, when I told them that I was proud to be one. Young girls are conditioned to be polite and demure and not to be divisive, and typical perceptions and portrayals of feminism go completely against that.
Only, anyone can be a feminist. Whatever your race, gender or economic background, you can still be a feminist. All you need is a desire to establish equality on all spheres for the genders. This doesn’t mean that women come first or that other issues within our societies will be overlooked. This is just one important change that will make the future better for all our children.
I firmly believe that everyone can and should be a feminist. You don’t have to attend protests or join the university’s Feminist Society. You don’t have to announce to the world that you are a feminist if you are not comfortable doing so. You can support the movement from the sidelines, no matter who you are. Speak up against workplace harassment if you see it happen. Call out your friends when they make demeaning comments about women. Offer to walk your female friends home after dark. Don’t cat-call women on the street. Remember the importance of consent.
At the end of the day, feminism is about equality. As a woman, if you think that you deserve equal pay and fair treatment, you have the right to call yourself a feminist. As a man, if you respect women and fight against toxic masculinity (even on a small scale), I believe you should be able to call yourself a feminist. Feminism is not just about raising women up – it is about coming together and making everyone feel safe and respected in our world.
So, I am proud to say I am a feminist. I’m a feminist, and I am stronger for it. And I hope I’m not alone.
Image via Vecteezy