The word “feminism” is generally treated as a dirty word, used to describe crazy man-haters who complain about everything and won’t stop until all males are eradicated. Sorry to break it to you, but that’s wrong.
Feminism is that strange belief that women and men should have the same opportunities, treatment, rights and responsibilities. And yes, the developing world still needs feminism.
Wherever there are opposites, there is power – with one party being dominant over another. Boss/Employee, White/Black, Abled/Disabled…and even Male/Female. And that’s what feminism is about, fighting against the dominance of men over women. Does that make them man-haters? No. Feminists don’t hate men, they hate the Patriarchy – a system which views men as superior to women on the basis of gender. So does the patriarchy only affect women negatively? No, again. Men suffer as well because of it.
I personally view feminism as a movement striving for equity. Equality has a better ring to it, but equity is what we’re really striving for. Men and women are not exactly the same, and there are different needs which need to be addressed. Assuming that men and women need the same things to have the same opportunities and freedoms is naive. To give an example, girls/women are taught that they have to remain virgins until marriage, that sex is not for pleasure and that having sex makes them dirty and unwanted. Boys are not taught this. It is girls who have barely hit puberty (if they even do) who mostly end up forced into marriages – which leads them to die during childbirth because their body is not developed enough.
So why not just call it egalitarianism or equalitarianism? Because by doing so one is dying the history of the movement and denying that in the male/female dynamic, the male is dominant over the female. Trying to change the term “feminism” to one of those two is like saying that “Black Lives Matter” should become “All Lives Matter” – yes all lives are important, regardless of race, but black/coloured people are the ones who are most likely stopped by the police in New York and frisked – or shot for having a toy gun. In the same way, all genders should be equal, but it is women/people with vaginas/self-identified females who experience discrimination and harassment the most.
Feminism should not be a dirty word -it should be a movement we all join.