Perception of feminism hurts real feminists

February 8, 2018 — by Michael Zhang

For centuries, women have crusaded for equal rights. In many ways, they have succeeded — just in the history of our country alone, women have acquired the ability to own property, the right to an equal education and the right to vote. But inequality between genders, such as the infamous wealth gap, still exist today.

Originally, modern feminism arose to address these inequalities and help women fight for the same status in society as men. It empowered many and helped give activists a platform to speak up on. However, as the feminist movement progressed through the past few years especially, it has become increasingly clear that the movement has become toxic and disparaging to the actual ideals of feminism.

Just five years ago, feminists were able to voice their opinion seriously without being harassed by an onslaught of social media backlash. But recently, the feminist movement has become a joke in many ways because of some of the actions of supposed “feminists.” The public perception of feminism has greatly changed — this can be seen through the plethora of videos titled “Funny Feminist Fails” across YouTube and other media platforms.

This can be mostly attributed to the many fake, self-proclaimed feminists who have been joining the movement. While many still present solid and concise arguments for gender equality, the other fake feminists often use the movement as an excuse for their actions. For instance, they often say things like “I’m a feminist so I think you should do (insert task here) for me,” even when it may be unreasonable.

Furthermore, the negative connotation of feminism has also been built up by thousands of videos of these fake feminists acting entitled or unreasonable. Other videos show fake feminists taking the movement too far and demanding too much from the rest of the population. By providing a visual for the public, such videos are more memorable than the scholarly articles the real feminists are writing, gradually changing the attitude toward the movement over time.

These actions also downplay the courage of women in societies where their natural rights are prohibited. While women in the Middle East and other countries around the world risk their lives in the feminist movement, many others continued to use the platform inappropriately.

Now, it’s almost impossible to say “I’m a feminist” without being laughed at, especially online. In certain instances, the word “feminist” has even become synonymous with adjectives like dumb, senseless and foolish, even though real feminists are none of these. All this greatly damages the movement by giving the public an excuse to silence those who rightly wish to voice their opinion and oppose inequality between men and women.

These social justice warriors disguised as feminists need to stop using feminism as a justification for their actions. Not only are they looked down upon for this, they are also damaging the reputation of those who truly wish to better society for women.

 

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