Do I Want to be a Feminist?

Ever since I could remember, I identified as a feminist. How couldn’t I? I was a young girl that grew up surrounded by guys. If I wanted something, I had to fight for it. And I want to fight for women’s rights.

Photo Credit: Seventeen

However, as I got older and the feminist movement shifted, my thoughts on the matter changed. I don’t know if I want to label myself as a “feminist,” even though I will always fight for gender equality.

Today, the feminist movement has become synonymous with “man-hating.” Of course, this only represents the extremists within the movement, but those are always the people who become the face of a movement. This is the side of feminism I don’t want to associate myself with.

To me, this movement is about fighting for gender equality. It’s fighting for both men and women – or at least it should be. Men will always have more privilege overall, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t constricted by outdated gender roles and societal pressure. This movement is about destroying those gender roles for everyone and giving people the freedom to be who they want to be.

Toxic masculinity is a rampant force affecting society as a whole. Men are forced to conform to an image of violence, anger, and emotion suppression. As a result, men face depression untreated and die by suicide 3.54 times more often than women.

Photo Credit: VoxSpace

Male victims of rape and abuse are ignored and even laughed at. The phrase “man up” is thrown around, only perpetuating a society of victim blaming, domestic abuse, and violent “bro culture.”

In addition, the feminist movement has become extremely whitewashed. The feminist movement today often ignores the struggles of women of color and women in the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender women.Photo Credit: The Daily Illini

There is even a niche within the feminist movement called trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF). So, even if the movement focused solely on fighting for women, then shouldn’t it fight for ALL women, including transgender women?

Although I will always fight for women’s rights and gender equality, I don’t know if I want that to be as part of the modern-day feminist movement. I’m not denouncing the feminist movement as a whole, just the negative direction it has veered toward. I hope that the movement will begin to fight for gender equality as a whole and recognize the struggles of all women.

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