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The Universal Need for Feminism: Why It Matters to All Genders

Why is it Important for Everyone to Be a Feminist?

As someone who is known to “have bigger balls than most men”, feminism isn’t a word I shy away from nor is it something I can comprehend how and why people don’t understand what the true meaning of it is.

Feminism, often misunderstood and sometimes controversial, is fundamentally about advocating for women’s rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes. This movement is not just a fight for women by women; it’s a fight for gender equality, which affects everyone. The importance of feminism lies in its ability to challenge outdated societal norms, promote economic growth, and foster a more equitable world.

What Feminism Is Not: Dispelling Myths

  • Feminism is not about hating men.
  • Feminism is not about women being superior to men.
  • Feminism is not about rejecting motherhood.
  • Feminism is not the belief that women should not engage in traditionally domestic roles.
  • Feminism is not against women choosing to stay at home with their children.
  • Feminism is not the rejection of femininity or traditionally feminine interests, such as the colour pink.
  • Feminism is not about women having to be strong and independent at the expense of their vulnerability or desire for partnership.
  • Feminism is not about dismantling the family unit.
  • Feminism is not a monolith; it does not demand uniformity in thought or action among its adherents.
  • Feminism is not about denying the differences between genders but rather about ensuring those differences don’t lead to discrimination or inequality.
  • Feminism is not about women only; it supports gender equality, including non-binary and transgender rights.
  • Feminism is not about promoting a single type of body image or beauty standard.
  • Feminism is not against personal choice in dress, career, or lifestyle.
  • Feminism is not about ending chivalry or courtesy between genders.
  • Feminism is not about removing men from positions of power, but about ensuring equitable access for all genders.
  • Feminism is not about discouraging femininity or traditional beauty practices.
  • Feminism is not the absence of humour or the inability to joke about gender.
  • Feminism is not about denying biological differences between sexes.
  • Feminism is not a rejection of all traditional values.
  • Feminism is not about making gender the most important aspect of one’s identity, but about allowing individuals the freedom to define themselves beyond societal gender expectations.

The History and Evolution of Feminism

The history of feminism is marked by several key milestones that have significantly advanced women’s rights. The right to vote, achieved in the early 20th century in many parts of the world, was a monumental victory for the feminist movement. However, the fight didn’t stop there. The ability for women to apply for credit cards independently in the 1970s without a male cosigner was another step towards financial independence. Despite these advances, many countries today still impose restrictions on women’s rights, highlighting the ongoing struggle for equality.

  • 1792: Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman argued for women’s education and equal participation in society​​.
  • 1848: The Seneca Falls Convention, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, marked the beginning of the organized women’s rights movement in the United States​​.
  • 1911: International Women’s Day was first celebrated, advocating for women’s rights to vote, work, and hold public office​​.
  • 1920: The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote​​.
  • 1948: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserted the equal rights of men and women, adopted by the United Nations​​.
  • 1963: The Equal Pay Act in the U.S. aimed to abolish wage disparity based on sex​.
  • 1972: Title IX of the Education Amendments in the U.S. prohibited sex discrimination in education programs receiving federal support​.
  • 1975: The UN’s First World Conference on Women in Mexico City highlighted global commitments towards gender equality​​.

While there has been significant progress in many parts of the world, disparities and challenges persist, and the struggle for women’s rights and gender equality continues across the globe, with significant challenges and setbacks in various countries as of 2024. Here are some other countries which may shock you:

  • Afghanistan: The situation for women’s rights has deteriorated since the Taliban’s return to power in 2021, with severe restrictions on education, employment, and public life in schools and universities, and restrictions on employment and freedom of movement​​ 
  • China has seen the silencing of feminists and strict censorship of feminist content
  • Poland, the government has targeted women’s rights activists and organizations, undermining efforts to address gender-based violence and reproductive rights. 
  • Saudi Arabia Women gained the right to drive in 2018, marking a significant shift in gender policy, yet guardianship laws still impose restrictions on women’s freedoms.
  • South Korea has considered anti-feminist initiatives, including the abolition of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family
  • United States: Landmark decisions like Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in 1973, have seen challenges and changes in legal protections over time, reflecting ongoing debates over women’s reproductive rights​​​.

Debunking the "Ugly Word" Myth

Feminism is sometimes seen as an “ugly word,” associated with negative stereotypes and misconceptions. It’s crucial to challenge these views and understand feminism for what it truly is: a movement for equality, justice, and freedom. Feminism is beautiful in its aim to create a world where everyone, regardless of gender, has equal opportunities and rights.

The Power of Cinema: Reflecting Feminist Struggles and Triumphs

I’m going to take you back to my first year of university and the first term where I wrote a piece about how Barbie is the best role model for feminism, and I stand by this. Last year, 2023, Mattel released the Barbie movie – It has had some much criticism about the representation of feminism being too weak, which I think most people forget that unfortunately the majority of the population are not educated enough and this level of feminism manspanlling was on point. A notable moment in recent cinema that encapsulates the feminist struggle was America Ferrera’s monologue in the Barbie movie. This scene powerfully addresses the complexities of being a woman today, resonating with many for its candid exploration of gender dynamics.

It is literally impossible to be a woman. You are so beautiful, and so smart, and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough. Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong”

How can I contribute to the feminist movement?

Contributing can be as simple as educating oneself on gender issues, advocating for equal rights, and challenging gender stereotypes in daily life. Every person helps. I’m not asking you to go out into the street and burn a bra, I’m asking you, well tell you, that you should WANT to stand up for a scenario when you don’t feel there is fair treatment. If you see a situation where a woman is squirming, and looking uncomfortable or you are questioning if the situation is fair, it’s probably not. Don’t just wait for someone else to say something, SAY something and make a change. 

One of my favourite podcast hosts did an episode with a fellow female professional, and despite him being one of the best feminists I know, even he was shocked by some of the scenarios she has faced and even more so in most recent years where society has become more educated and yet some behaviours are still not changing. You can read his blog and listen to the podcast episode “The One Most Needing Magic”.

If you are ever in doubt, every year there is an International women Day IWD on the 8th of March which always has the year’s focus and suggestions of how you can get involved.

@taelonv Today is International Women’s Day, now before I lose a chunk of you reading this thinking it’s some pink fluffy bullshit thing not to do with you. STOP. It is exactly to do with you. This is EVERY SINGLE PERSONS PROBLEM. This date signifies that we as women as still fighting for equal rights just because we were born with different genitals, how does that make sense?! We’re both humans the last time I checked, although sometimes I want to identify as a cat 🐈. This year's campaign is "Inspire Inclusion" and is represented by a heart showcasing that inclusion comes from within. I’m not asking anyone to burn their bra because trust me, they are so fricking expensive! I’m not even asking you, I’m telling you, use your voice to speak up when something is not right, don’t just stand by and wait for someone else to do something about it. The USA 🇺🇸 is a prime example of an absolute DISGRACE of what’s happening to our rights, WE ARE GOING BACKWARDS!!! So I ask you this, do you really believe whole and truly that a penis is of higher value and therefore gives men the right to do what the fuck they want but we have to get in line?? Do you really believe we are any less of a human just because we don’t have a penis? Because that is all it really boils down to! I urge you to commit to change. Even if 1 person reading this actually hears me then my voice was well used. Thank you for attending my Ted Talk ✌️ Happy #internationalwomensday 💜 💚 PS Don’t you dare use pink to represent IWD or feminism, that’s just ironic and exactly NOT what it is about 🫣🫠 #IWD #womensday #inspireinclusion ♬ original sound - Taelon 🖤
Feminism is about all genders having equal rights, opportunities, and treatment. It works towards equality, not female superiority.
@taelonv One of my favourite speeches to come out of #barbiemovie the truth about how hard it is to be a woman! #IWD #FerrerasSpeech ♬ original sound - Taelon 🖤