Whenever someone hears the word ‘feminist’ stereotypes flood their mind, and they assume you’re a man-hating, hairy lesbian. So I decided to dispel some of the feminism myths that surround our fight for equality.
1. Feminists hate men
Funnily enough, feminists do not hate men. People often think feminism means women wanting to eradicate all men from the earth, or that we think women are better than men. In fact, it’s just that we think women are equal to men.
2. All feminists are lesbians
Again, no. Not all feminists are lesbians. Some, yes, but not all. The majority of the world is heterosexual (or nearer to that side on the Kinsey scale), therefore logically and statistically, the majority of feminists will also be straight. Although feminism sometimes links to lesbianism and LGBT+ issues because it is again about a minority group, not all feminists are lesbians.
3. Feminists don’t shave
Some women choose to not shave – whether this be for comfort, for confidence, for ease or because they have a skin condition. However loads of feminists do shave. Feminists simply believe women should not have to shave as body hair is natural, and is considered ‘normal’ if on men, so why not on women?
4. Feminists cannot be feminine
You’ll often hear people say ‘but you can’t be a feminist, you’re so girly’, which is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Feminism is about giving women the right to choose. On the other hand, you sometimes hear someone saying ‘if you’re a feminist why do you dress like a man?’ to someone ‘butch’. Which is equally silly. Not everything a feminist does, says or wears is a political statement.
5. Feminists hate marriage
Some people assume feminists do not believe in or like marriage, this is once again untrue. Although some feminists may feel that way, it will not be because they are a feminist. Of course some parts of a traditional marriage (e.g. promising to ‘obey’) are sexist, but in the modern day marriage does not have to be that way. So long as a marriage is equal, feminists do not have a problem with it.
6. Feminists hate gallantry
Yes, in some ways gallantry is outdated – seeming to imply a woman cannot do things for herself… However if someone holds open a door or offers to pay the bill on a date, it’s not usually because they think the woman is incapable of doing so herself. It would take a very irritable person to be offended by such an innocent gesture of manners.
7. Feminists believe women are better
Feminism is not the notion that women are better than anyone else – it is that they are equal to them. There is still obvious gender bias in the media, in education, in employment and politics. This shows that women are not equal yet.
8. Feminists hate bras and make-up
Many women, identifying as feminist and not, dislike wearing bras or make-up, this has nothing to do with feminism. It is just a matter of personal preference. Of course, the culture around such items suggesting women must alter their appearance is a difference matter…
9. Feminism only helps women
Men are taught from a young age to be macho, strong and emotionless. To cry is a sign of weakness, to like dolls makes you a girl – which of course, is the worst possible insult. Feminism liberates women to be who they want, and gives them the ability to speak out freely. It is not just about women though, it is about making it not shameful to be a woman or feminine – this in turn will liberate men.
10. Feminism is just for women
No no no no. Just no. If you believe women are equal to men then you are a feminist. It is that simple.
There is no feminist rule book – anyone can be a feminist, whatever sexuality, race, gender or age. You just need to believe in equality.