Rylee Matousek, Online Editor

I constantly ask myself when the word “feminism” turned sour. People seem almost comically horrified when I explain to them that I do, in fact, identify as a feminist and why I believe that it’s imperative, especially for young adults in this day and age, to believe in the feminist movement.

 

The definition of feminism has changed drastically since the days of women’s liberation, and many people refuse to identify as a feminist because the connotation is sparsely accepted in society. I truly believe that feminism received a bad reputation from profound feminists who have changed the movement to an idea of “breaking the patriarchy” and “hating men,” when the true concept of feminism is about mutual respect and equality. The feminist movement needs to go back to what it once was: social, political and economic equality between women and men.

One can’t deny that, in our first-world country, there are definitely double standards. In salary paying jobs, it is statistically proven that there is a wage gap between men and women. Surveys from three years ago showed us that women still only made 77 cents for every dollar a man made in the exact same job. I find this to be an extremely awful truth that must be addressed in order for our society to take a step towards equality.

As far as many are concerned, the primary and main reason for feminist actions is to stop the use of “cat-calling” and the oppression of women’s sexuality, which is obviously important, but is not the only focus of the feminist movement. Many American and privileged women claim that they do not identify with the feminist movement because “they aren’t victims” and they’ve never been oppressed based on their gender. Those people personally might not think that a wage gap or sexual harassment is enough to jump on the feminist bandwagon, but the rest of the world disagrees. Of course, there are many things that need to be changed as far as gender equality in our society goes, but compared to the rest of the world, women in the western world have things pretty well.

I encourage privileged men and women who are doubtful of taking part in this controversial movement to become feminists for the women in Arab countries. Become a feminist for the women in Saudi Arabia who were only just recently allowed the right to vote. Become a feminist for the Egyptian women who are forced into arranged and commonly abusive relationships. Become a feminist for the Middle-Eastern women who are more likely to get sexually assaulted than receive an education. Become a feminist for the 1 in 5 women who have been the victim of sexual assault. If you are still unsure, do it for the 2.78 million American men who have been sexually harassed, but aren’t taken seriously because “men can’t get raped.”

Feminism means that women and men are treated completely equal, no matter the circumstance.

 

Rylee Matousek

Online Editor & Staff Writer