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People's Misconceptions of Feminism



 
 
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Old July 27th, 2010, 5:29 am
lightreading  Female.gif lightreading is offline
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People's Misconceptions of Feminism

Let's face it, people have a lot of different ideas about what feminism really is. One of the common responses to feminism is that it's about making women hate men and not want to have families. Or somethin' like that. Stemming from that is the idea that feminists hate men/babies/all forms of domestic life. Okay then. Feminists do NOT hate men. A lot of us are straight. (We are not all lesbians, which IMO, is rather a homophobic rumor, seeing as, even if we were, would it really make us unworthy to advocate for equal rights? I think not.) As for babies/domestic life--seriously? Babies are awesome. Except, you know, the puking. Hem, hem. Anyway. Okay, so personally, I sort of hate the housewife thing, and I really can't cook or clean or anything like that, but hey, my neighbor is a housewife, and she's a feminist. It's possible.
Anyway, another misconception is that feminism is 'no longer needed.' The people who believe this claim that while feminism has worked wonders for women in the past, it is unessecary today and is making women unhappy/doing more harm than good.
Okay then. let me tell you something people: before I was a feminist, I was a LOT more sad/depressed/angry/alone than I am now. I am much more confident and self-assured now that I am a feminist, as I have learned to value myself for who I am and not just a body, or an object, or a face in the mirror. I've stopped obsessing so much about my looks. I've stopped obsessing so much about havng a partner. I am much, MUCH happier.
However, feminism is still very much needed. The objectification of women runs rampant in society and in the media. (This has been discussed, so I won't go into it). Rape and pedophilia are banned subjects on this forum, so I won't go into those either, but truthfully, the words in themselves, and the fact that women and girls are often the targets of this evil, says it all.
The term 'feminist' as someone (I believe it was Yoana?) pointed out on an earlier thread, implies that feminists are only interested in women's rights--however, this is untrue, feminists are interested in equal rights for everyone.
If you want to know how I define feminism, it's this: The belief that all people are equal, men, women, gays, straights, etc--and the willingness to fight for equal rights for all people no matter what the obstacles.
Sorry, I know I rambled a lot. But I just wanted that out there.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 6:32 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

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Originally Posted by lightreading View Post
If you want to know how I define feminism, it's this: The belief that all people are equal, men, women, gays, straights, etc--and the willingness to fight for equal rights for all people no matter what the obstacles.
All well and good, but there seems to be a reason beyond "misconception" that there is a amount of controversy over certain aspects that some women define as feminist.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 7:30 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

Well, you didn't really give any questions but you did make me think of something when you mentioned how you felt before you discovered feminism. I would say that I was always a feminist and I have noticed the inequalities between men and women (well, boys and girls) since I was very young. But I didn't always know the word "feminism" and before I knew that word and started investigating feminist issues purposely, I didn't have the language to describe what I saw in the world and how I felt. I didn't know that other people saw all the little things I saw that bothered me and I didn't know how to explain how they were wrong and unfiar. But now I know have the vocabulary to say what I think concerning gender issues.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 8:40 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

Please explain, Midnightsfire. Your statement confused me a little.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 8:53 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

Another misconception -- that only women are feminists. Alan Rickman considers himself to be a feminist though he does admit that he had to be educated by the women in his family!
Alan Alda is another actor who is a feminist.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 8:58 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

Awesome, thank you, snapes_witch! I didn't know about AR being a feminist-- --you're right, a lot of people think men who are feminists are gay, too. Anyway, thanks!


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Old July 27th, 2010, 9:06 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

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Originally Posted by snapes_witch View Post
Another misconception -- that only women are feminists. Alan Rickman considers himself to be a feminist though he does admit that he had to be educated by the women in his family!
Alan Alda is another actor who is a feminist.
Hayao Miyazaki is widely known to be a feminist (self-identified).


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Old July 27th, 2010, 9:11 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

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Originally Posted by snapes_witch View Post
Another misconception -- that only women are feminists. Alan Rickman considers himself to be a feminist though he does admit that he had to be educated by the women in his family!
Alan Alda is another actor who is a feminist.
And I thought I could love him no more. But about men being feminists, I wish more men would be vocal about being feminists. It might help disspell the myth that only women are feminists and make people see that feminism is not about special rights for women. I really think a big reason that a lot of men are opposed to feminism (or what they think it is) is because they see no male representation.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 9:22 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

To me, the thought that men should need male representation to engage in a cause is a sad one.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 9:28 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

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Originally Posted by lightreading View Post
--you're right, a lot of people think men who are feminists are gay, too.
This really upsets me, even though it's true. I don't see what sexual orientation has to do with supporting equality for both sexes.

Feminism is not about belittling men, but instead about trying to improve the sociological obstacles women face.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 9:36 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
To me, the thought that men should need male representation to engage in a cause is a sad one.
I agree.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 11:02 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

Yeah. I mean, you'd think equality and justice would matter enoough to them that they'd get over their insecurities....anyway, I did not put questions because I want everyone to post their opinions in their own words, exactly as they wish.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 12:10 pm
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

Great topic!

As well as misconceptions, though, I think it's also true that there are different branches of feminism, some with very different goals and approaches, which adds to the confusion of bystanders.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 5:30 pm
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

Thanks, and you're right, feminism varies. Some branches forcus on media portrayal/body image, others on sexual harrasment and domestic violence. I focus on pretty much everything, especially media--music in particular, since I listen to it so much. I'd like to hear other people's personal definitions of feminsim, if that's okay.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 10:29 pm
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

I don't know if this happens to anyone else here but whenever I point out something that I think is sexist/racist (usually on TV) I am not only ridiculed by my family but also made to feel as though I were the intolerant one. I just don't see why. My family thinks I have such extreme opinions and that couldn't be further from the truth. I believe in things most people believe in like equality between men and women and between people of different races. I don't consider being called a feminist an insult but it is sometimes used in that sense towards me. Like it's a disease or something, or like I am crazy or have been brainwashed. I try to be less opinionated in this matter but sometimes I have to point out something that bothers me. My friends and peole my age in general have no problem with it as they are the same way but my family just makes fun of me. I can accept my being ridiculed but unfortunately this doesn't just happen to me. People of both sexes seem to have a negative attitude towards feminism. I understand some things feminists argue are extreme, I understand feminists do make mistakes and can come across as ignorant but at the core of all this discourse is still a cause worth fighting for, IMO. Some people think feminism is about making women more powerful than men but that really isn't it. I'm sure some feminists are men haters but why stereotype? People who usually have problems using stereotypes have no qualms about making sweeping statements about feminists and feminism itself. If you fight against racism you are a great person. If you fight for the equality of sexes, question tradition and prejudices, point to an existing power structure which favours intolerance and discrimination you must be a misguided idealist.


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Old July 27th, 2010, 10:59 pm
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

@Trixia, I find that's a very common response by people who harbor prejudice. The old "YOU brought up race, therefore YOU must be a racist" argument. It's a very good way to avoid guilt because it places guilt on the person actually trying to stop the problem while turning the guilty person into a victim. People get very uncomfortable when confronted with their own prejudice but you should never back down from what you believe in just because it bothers other people.


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Old July 28th, 2010, 6:10 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

I think feminism itself, and people's conception of it, evolved over the last 40 years. Back in the 70's, many people I met equated "feminist" with either "man-hater" or "free love advocate" - or lesbianism. Some men, when they discovered I wasn't sleeping around indiscriminately, were puzzled, "But aren't you a feminist?"

With several famous men (Alan Alda I knew about, I didn't know about Alan Rickman) came out and said they supported women's rights, it was a revelation. It shouldn't have been though. The early feminists, in the 19th century, often enjoyed their husbands' support in their fight.

Now many things that we fought for in the 1970's are taken for granted and the focus of the "fight" has shifted, I think. But many misconceptions remain, unfortunately.


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Old July 29th, 2010, 6:46 am
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

Another misconception: that because you're a feminist, you only care about women and the issues that affect them.

It's possible to care about more than one cause, though one or two will probably take precedence for you. And it's not always practical to lump all human rights issues together. Sometimes issues require some focus.

Likewise, just because you're choosing to discuss one topic doesn't automatically mean that you think it's the most important issue out there.

This isn't a complaint that only has to do with feminism, either. A common derailing technique in a discussion is to accuse someone of not caring about issue B only because they're talking about issue A, instead. Just because someone is a feminist, and choosing to discuss a feminist issue, doesn't mean they don't care about anything else, or even that whatever they're discussing is the most important thing to them. There's no reason to assume, for example, that because two feminists are talking about the representation of women on TV, that they don't care about more life-threatening things like domestic violence.


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Old July 29th, 2010, 3:30 pm
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

You're right, DM--whenever I bring up violence against women someone always says 'What about men? You must be a man-hater!'

Another thing that bothers me is how little people seem to value women's rights. After the Chris Brown/Rihanna fiasco, instead of going into wild feminist fury, a lot of the people I know (on feminist sites, even!) said we had to 'give Chris Brown a break.' Are you kidding me? I owe nothing to a man who bloodied his girlfriend. God. Doesn't feminism matter more to you than a singer?


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Last edited by lightreading; July 29th, 2010 at 3:43 pm.
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Old July 29th, 2010, 4:00 pm
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Re: People's Misconceptions of Feminism

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You're right, DM--whenever I bring up violence against women someone always says 'What about men? You must be a man-hater!'

Another thing that bothers me is how little people seem to value women's rights. After the Chris Brown/Rihanna fiasco, instead of going into wild feminist fury, a lot of the people I know (on feminist sites, even!) said we had to 'give Chris Brown a break.' Are you kidding me? I owe nothing to a man who bloodied his girlfriend. God. Doesn't feminism matter more to you than a singer?
For me that has nothing to do with feminism, and everything to do with domestic violence being wrong, regardless as to who it's against.


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