Modern day feminism sends muddled messages


Lily Tran, Feature Editor

The feminist movement started in the 19th century to bring equality between men and women. Since then, women have worked together to gain rights like women’s suffrage with the 19th Amendment and abortion rights with Roe v. Wade. But for some, the feminist movement has strayed from its goals and muddled its message.

“If [feminism] means supporting equality between men and women, then yes, I’m a feminist,” junior Khennathan Chorn said. Many people are skeptical and cautious — even making sure to clarify the definition of feminism — before being willing to label themself a feminist.

Today, feminism has warped into groups like radical feminists and neo feminists. These subgroups have dubbed the term “feminazi” that some say gives feminism a bad reputation.

Radical feminists want to “smash the patriarchy,” with some even demanding the reordering of society so women govern in a predominantly male-governed world. Similarly, neo feminists believe in female superiority; they think that women should be dominant in every aspect of life rather than men.

“Some people believe that feminists have an end goal of women being higher in society,” junior Julian Bernado said. “The negative stigma is derived from those ideals of inequality in the feminist movement.”

So many people have misconceptions about the feminist movement that it’s turning away support.

“I’m not a feminist because I’m a guy,” freshman Matthew Hancock said. His opinion is a stance many males adhere to due to the misconceptions surrounding feminism. Guys can be feminists too; it’s not a gender tag.

“Feminism means equality between both genders,” senior Kirsten Weber said. “Feminism was designed to make women equal to men.”

Indeed the true goal of feminism is to gain social, economic, and political equality to men. It’s being able to eliminate gender roles, stereotypes, and double standards society has about females. It’s complete equality.

But still, people are skeptical. The name “feminism” causes people to believe the movement isn’t really about equality. Some demand a change in name from feminist to equalist or humanist if equality is what the movement is truly after.

But junior Kristen Phan disagrees with these terms.

“It takes away the whole meaning of feminism, where it’s finding equality for women who don’t have it yet,” Phan said. “The term feminism raises awareness for gender inequality.”

Men have even created the “meninist” movement to combat feminism and make fun of the feminist movement full of “crazy male-haters,” another common misconception. Don’t mistake hatred of men for feminism.

But even with this backlash, feminism has become more widespread throughout the country.

Pop-feminism has grown largely through consumerism and social media.

Vendors sell shirts that say “Nasty Woman” and “The Future is Feminine.” Feminist fashion has even made appearances in New York Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week with models sporting feminist t-shirts and pink “pussy-hats.”

Celebrity feminism also helped pop-feminism grow. Celebrities like Rowan Blanchard, Amandla Stenberg, and Beyonce use their platforms and their large social media base to spread awareness of feminist causes.

But even celebrated events like the Women’s March in January following President Trump’s inauguration raised tensions between feminists. The demonstration was originally going to be called the Million Women March, same as the Million Women March in 1997 in Philadelphia which advocated for the concerns of black women.

A long standing tension between black and white women exists because some view feminism as really just white-feminism. Though these feminists fought for women’s suffrage, black women were excluded from many meetings and looked down upon.
Regardless of the divisions and tensions within feminism, the movement has undeniably gained popularity in recent years and monumental achievements for women’s rights.