“Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.”
And it’s everywhere at the moment.
Before you wrongly assume I am an anti-feminist- I am not. I am simply acting as a devil’s advocate- painting a balanced and broader picture of this culture paradigm.
Three things you should know about me before reading on:
I am a woman.
I am proud to be a woman.
I believe in equal opportunities for women
(NB. You should also note that this article is referring specifically to feminism and the feminist movement in the UK).
So by definition I am a feminist.
In fact, most of the population is, whether or not that specifically ascribe themselves to this categorization. But that is precisely where my first grievance lies: within the semantics of feminism. The overall aim of the movement is “gender equality” and yet the word “feminism” originates from “feminine” (or rather, the French féminisme). Of course, the very aim of the word is to lift the “feminine” out of a subordinate position. But do the very semantics of the movement undermine its aim of “gender equality” simply because it bases itself around a word that favours women over men? Now I know that someone has probably written a whole book about the way men have subordinated women with words alone- take for example the very word female. 'Female’ isn’t etymologically related to the word, but in the late 14th century the word was altered, to parallel the word male.
So yes, it is fair to say that women have had their fair share of discrimination.
However surely, in the 21st century, when the war is not over but within sight- feminism should start considering this idea of “gender equality” as a real, tangible end point? Because what happens when the war has been ‘won’ so to speak and women and men find themselves on equal pay? And are sharing the top seats in government? And are fairly and broadly represented in the media? What then? I know that I have massively generalised some of the overarching goals of feminism and I am also aware that none of this may come into fruition in my lifetime (or even my granddaughters lifetime). But for ‘gender equality’ to ever materialise into our reality, we must start making ‘peace terms.’ By that I mean working with men and masculinity and not against it, to create a balanced and fairer playing field for both genders.
So perhaps a new word is needed to house the goals and glory of the movement. One that doesn’t exclude men by its definition, but encourages everyone, regardless of gender, to work towards a fairer society.