By Susannah Hutcheson, Regular Contributor
Social media strikes again. Last year, a hashtag popped up, and trended quickly- #feministsareugly. Feminists began to overtake the hashtag, taking beautiful selfies and pointing out the obvious contradictions of the social media trend. Earlier this month, the hashtag resurfaced. Among the people that (I used to) follow on Twitter, I saw a ton of them: some of them positive, and some of them misogynistic.
To understand feminism, you first have to look at the definition. This one is from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
If you pick apart the definition, what do you see? Do you see “man hater?” No. Do you see “superior?” No. Do you see “equal?” Yes.
Yet, the idea of feminism has come to be perceived by many as a liberal agenda, promoting the destruction of men and the female agenda. About 95% of feminists feel that way, yet I can guarantee that a lot of that 95% won’t even identify themselves as feminists, because of the stigma surrounding it. However, you would be hard pressed to find very many people who don’t agree that women deserve equal rights and equal pay.
But, at the same time, you’ll encounter tons of people who don’t agree that feminism should even be a cause- they argue that women make the same as men, and that they have the same rights. In reality, there is an obvious gap in pay between genders. The overwhelming statistic is that women make 77 cents to the dollar- and why? On top of the pay, women struggle with all sorts of things: being able to get paid maternity leave, being subjected to the obvious rape culture that saturates our media, and the unfair standards perpetuated by Adobe Photoshop. This isn’t to say that men don’t struggle either- they do. That is why the feminist movement is in full force- we want equality for everyone, regardless of sex/class/race/gender/hair color/eye color/political party/dress size/state/country.
As the feminist movement continues to gain traction, so does the criticism against it. The stigma surrounding feminism is that of an uber-radical man-hater. In reality, feminists are all around- in all shapes, sizes, and genders. The #feministsareugly hashtag is merely an attempt to stigmatize a movement that is rapidly gaining support. To support my case, here are some of the ugliest feminists out there (sarcasm).
“Power’s not given to you. You have to take it.”
"As a teenager, I didn't understand that saying you're a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means.”
"When women are empowered, they immeasurably improve the lives of everyone around them -- their families, their communities, and their countries. This is not just about women, we men need to recognize the part we play too. Real men treat women with dignity and give them the respect they deserve."
“I think there’s so much that’s not said about sex in our country, even from an educational level … the one thing they teach about is how to get pregnant or how to not get pregnant, but they don’t really talk about sex as a point of pleasure for women. … Part of that creates a place where women aren’t empowered around their own sexuality and their own sexual selves, and from a purely entertainment point of view, to create a movie with a female lead that’s empowered with her own sexuality is a powerful thing.”
Let's Chat! How do you embrace your "ugly" feminist side? How can we change society's view of feminism?
Susannah is a Journalism major, passionate about social justice and Jesus Christ. She loves cold weather, triple-shot lattes, and macaroni and cheese. When she’s not writing papers or baking cookies, you can find her Googling random things on the Internet or watching large amounts of reality television. You can read her ramblings at girlmeetstruth.com, or look at pictures of her coffee on Instagram: @susannah.hutcheson.
images via: mic.com/articles; huffingtonpost.com; mtv.com