Most people assume when a woman claims to be a feminist she is a heartless, man-hating woman. They assume that feminists are all about degrading men and only support women. Misogynists, especially, love depicting feminists as alone women who refuse to marry, preferring to go around insulting men. Feminists are depicted as misandrists, who are men-hating women. In reality, feminists are the opposite. They support a broad set of theories and social/political movements, they are not just about “equality”, and they have a political and personal project to end sexism.
To be a feminist means to be a believer in empowerment. Feminism is supporting and advocating women’s rights on political, social, and economic equality. They want representation on political grounds. For example, they want more female representation in government. Women should not be criticized for deciding to pursue a career and not stay at home. The fact that some still feel conservative values of keeping wives at home keeps us back in time and prevents us from progressing forward. Even though laws claim equal pay for women and men, that is not true. In the 21st century women are still being paid less than men.
All feminists want is equality. Feminists want to bridge the gap between men and women; they do not want to further push the genders apart. Gender inequality persists when men retain a majority of economic and social privileges. Historically, this has been an issue, which is why there were three waves of feminism. The first wave was defining political personhood issues: the right to vote, inheritance and property rights, the right to ride bikes. The second wave was defining economic and private personhood issues: workplace inequality, sexual violence, reproductive rights, some LGBTQA issues. While the third and most current issue is defining the needs of women of color, economically disadvantaged communities, queer/trans women, representation, sex positivity and education.
As important as feminists are, their supporters should not be shamed either. A man supporting feminists does not make him any less of a man. In fact, it makes him brave. In a society that has shamed feminism in the past, those courageous enough to support feminists are invaluable to our society.