I Asked 5 Men and 5 Women About Their Views on Feminism and This is What They Said

In honour of International Women’s Day, I decided to question five men and five women about their views on feminism. This experiment has always been something I wanted to do, so I gave a few people, some strangers and some close to me, the platform to express their true feelings on the subject without feeling wrong. I ensured them that it would be anonymous, hoping it would get me some authentic results. I asked every individual the same question:

“What are your thoughts when I say the word ‘feminist’ or ‘feminism’, and how do you feel about the movement?”

1. To me, feminism embraces the empowerment of women of all ages to stand for what they believe in.  In a male dominated society, it seems that women are always trying to prove themselves by having to work twice as hard to be accepted, irrespective of their credentials.  

Women have always had to adapt to their environment and have done so quite successfully, whether they chose to hold "traditional" roles as homemakers or chose to follow a career path to express their passion with professionalism in any field they so wish.  My notation of "traditional" homemaker is not to be taken lightly, as there is nothing traditional about it.  Women are not so concerned about housekeeping or being a chauffeur, but their primary role is to shape and influence the minds of the next generation. It is so important to provide stability and love while encouraging children to become the best they can be. I also want to make a note that being a feminist doesn't mean that I don't need a man to open a door for me. Okay, I don't. But I do appreciate it and the respect that goes with that. To me, this is a common courtesy that both men and women were raised with in our society. As a feminist with common courtesy, I would also expect to treat a man with the same common courtesy and say, "thank you" and not just take it for granted.” - Female, 54

2. “To me, when you say feminism I think of strong minded and independent women standing for something they truly believe in. I believe the movement is a good thing in today’s society, because the inequality of women’s rights has been a huge issue in our world’s history. The fact that this is still happening in our world today is sad and it’s good to see those that can speak their thoughts on the topic do so in order to speak for those who cannot. It’s good to see them challenging the paths society gives them, and witness them changing that by creating their own paths. I respect it and support it as equality among everyone, not only genders, should be practiced for a better world.” - Male, 20

3. “I consider myself a feminist but don't think that I align with many of the public faces of feminism. When I think of someone who calls themselves a feminist, I think of the most radical people and I don't want to be associated with that.” - Female, 28

4. “I think feminism is a great thing; there is a need for women to stand up and express their independence, gender power, and greatness. However, this whole feminist movement has been taken way too far lately in my opinion. Everything men say these days can be spun around, saying they’re sexist or against women. Additionally, I find it absurd how these feminist groups need to weigh in on every single political event or scandal as if they were a lobbying government party.” - Male, 20

5. When I hear the words feminist or feminism, I think of two things. First, I think of the amazing first and second wave feminists that fought for my right to be equal to men in Canada. Unfortunately, I also think of feminism in a tainted light due to a lot of the hypocrisy I see presented by many new representations of feminism. I think the word feminism has been misinterpreted in many ways, and I now need clarification from the person who uses it. I feel many modern day so called “feminists” assume what I (as a female) want from the world. And, quite honestly, I don’t need this word to define my fight as the word is misconstrued by many. If these modern day “feminists” care so much, they should fight for the women that don’t have a voice in countries that practice things which oppress women - and stop being self-righteous by praising them just because they are women. - Female, unknown age

6. "Feminism, as I understand it, is the pursuit of equality of opportunity for women. So, a feminist is someone striving to make that possible against systemic patriarchal oppression. I believe I'm a feminist because I've identified inequalities and want change. Whether it's prejudices, double standards, lack of representation or lack of support for female voices, I've been witness to these inequalities. I have seen the women closest to me struggle in ways I've been privileged not to experience. I will say though, as a man, I find it more and more difficult to engage in the discussion of feminism as it grows and changes, as I get the impression that a man's opinion isn't valued. Are men allowed to be critical, or should we only serve to help the cause?" - Male, 27

7. “I think feminism is an amazing movement for women to be able to express their feelings on the way they are treated compared to men in today’s society, and thus, have the chance to change things. However, there is also an extremist part of feminism that seems to be very radical and aims to put men down. Like all things, there’s a good and a bad, and I think the movement can become very successful as long as the radical side does not dominate and speak for all of feminism.” - Male, 22

8. “When I think of feminism I think of Ginger spice saying ‘Girl power! Equalization between the sexes” - Female, 28

9. “When I think of ‘feminist’, I think of the movement being pro- women, and it is favouring women over men.” - Male, 20

10.“My outlook on feminism is generally positive because I have educated myself on the movement and I know what it wants to accomplish… and it’s nothing anyone should be afraid of, it’s just equality. But, I am also super aware of how the most radical voices in a movement are the loudest and can influence others’ opinions, so I understand when people think the movement isn’t about equality, but female superiority. I think the only way to fight that is to be as vocal as possible and educate people on the real purpose of the movement and that feminism isn’t just for women, it’s for men, too.” - Female, 26

I’m going to be completely honest in assuming (yes, I made an ass out of you and me), that the women I interviewed would be completely for feminism and equality, and the men would only believe in the radical side of feminism, which includes believing that the movement favors women over men. I will be the first to admit that I was completely wrong, and it was completely wrong of me to make this generalization. Feminism is evolving, and it is becoming a learning curve for both men and women. I never would have thought that writing this article about equality would have taught me a lesson on equality, but it did, and I’m happy to have had this opportunity. I’m not here to say who is right or who is wrong, but what I will say is that every one of these individuals have brought up points that many other people in the world believe in, and it is their fair right to have these beliefs. All we can do is show the world the true meaning of feminism, and hopefully there will come a day when identifying with the word will be powerful to both men and women.