It’s sad that even in 2017, the word “feminist” still holds a negative connotation. People, both men and women alike, often think of awful things when they hear the word feminist.
Too much time has passed since the beginning of the women’s rights movement for people to continue to act like they do not understand what it means to be feminist, or because of the stereotypes behind it, they can support such a movement.
Sociologist Lisa Wade revealed some not so shocking, but disturbing facts behind what people really think about feminists. According to her, about 37% of people associate the term “feminist” with negative thoughts. She also revealed that a YouGov poll done in 2013 showed people thought that feminists were aggressive, ugly, man-hating women. The people who are against gender equality will use statistics like these to argue that what they think is correct. If a lot of people feel and think this way, it must be true, right?
Here are four stereotypes associated with being feminist, that just aren’t true at all:
All feminists are angry women.
Feminists aren’t angry women at all, they’re education, informed and well spoken. Being a part of any movement for the rights of people doesn’t automatically mean you’re angry. We see this same stereotype with Black women who are outspoken about the injustices they face – the angry Black woman stereotype. This stereotype can be even more to deal with when you’re a Black feminists. Don’t mistake those who can recognize unfairness with those who are just angry all the time.
Feminists are man-haters.
Men will prove to be the real man-haters when they have their first daughter but that’s another story for another day. Just because a woman is a feminist doesn’t mean she hates men. Feminism actually has more to do with women than men at all. The dictionary defines feminism as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality of the sexes.” While all women may practice it different, again a different story, the movement is all about uplifting women – not bashing men.
Feminists are all single.
If you ever get into a heated debate with someone of the issue of women’s rights, they’re most likely going to assume that you are either single, unmarried, or have had bad relationships with men all of your life. People believe feminists can’t have healthy relationships with men whether it be their dad, friends or boyfriends. People seem to have this misconstrued view idea that no man could possibly want to be with a feminist woman. One of the most prominent feminists and advocated for equal rights for women, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is married.
There are men who are feminists, there a women who are feminists. They come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and yes, sexualities too. This has to be one of the most ridiculous myths about independent women advocating for themselves. It doesn’t mean they hate men and choose to only love women emotionally and sexually. Someone’s sexuality has nothing to do with whether they identify as feminist or not.
The fight for equal rights among men and women is far from over, and there are many things that contribute to slow progress of the movement. With mostly men running our cities, government, universities, and top companies it’s hard for women to make a wave in any industry. Also, many men don’t want to admit that they might have gotten to where they are due to sexist practices and male privilege. It’s important to continue the conversation and debunk all of the myths that can brainwash people into believing things about a movement they don’t fully understand yet.
What are some other stereotypes that need to be debunked about independent women?