Feminism Is NOT A Bad Word

The formal definition of feminism is the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. In simple terms, that sounds like some pretty reasonable ideology. But with extremists, found in any type of social movement, feminism has become a dirty word. It is perceived as bra- burning, man- hating women, but it’s not.

"I wouldn't go so far as to say I am a feminist, that can come off as a negative connotation, but I am a strong female," Carrie Underwood once said.

When asked if she was a feminist Shailene Woodley said, “No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from power’ is never going to work out because you need balance.”

These celebrities broadcast the word feminism as something bad as a defense mechanism, instead of shining a light on why we need to change what feminism means. Society will never take feminism seriously if we can’t even get women on board for equality. Feminism is not about female superiority. It’s not about blaming men or ignoring male oppression and struggles. It’s not about overtaking men. Feminism is about equality and for women to be awarded the same opportunities as any man. Feminism is good. And most importantly, the need for feminism still exists in our reproductive rights, our wage gap and so many issues that women unfairly face that men don't. Feminism is pro-woman, but not anti-man.

Thankfully, there are some celebrities who are stepping up and spreading the word of why feminism is so necessary. Just ask John Legend.

“All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights, the world will be a better place. We are better off when women are empowered — it leads to a better society,” the singer/songwriter once said at a fundraising event for Chime for Change.

There's also Emma Watson, whose powerful speech to the United Nations in 2014 was a defining moment for pushing feminism into the mainstream.

"I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop," she said.

In an interiew with Metro, writer, director, and Girls star, Lena Dunham, explained how women who perpetuate the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding feminism tend to get under her skin.

“Women saying ‘I’m not a feminist’ is my greatest pet peeve," she said. "Do you believe that women should be paid the same for doing the same jobs? Do you believe that women should be allowed to leave the house? Do you think that women and men both deserve equal rights? Great, then you’re a feminist. People think there is something taboo about speaking up for feminism.”

If you believe that women deserve political, social, and economic equality to men, then you believe in feminism. If you believe a woman should be able to have a job, vote, run for office and enjoy the same freedoms that men do, you are feminist. Don’t turn that into something that a minority group has skewed the word to mean. Women are smart, beautiful, insightful human beings who deserve every opportunity to show it off.