A teacher asks their class who would define themselves as a feminists. No hands went up. The teacher then asked who believed in equality, and every single student put their hand up. She then asked them what the difference was between the two questions. No response was given.
When speaking to friends, their general impression of a feminist is a girl who fights for women by not shaving their body hair and shoving their opinions down people's throats to get their points across. They feel that women have equality already, so they do not have any understanding as to why they are shouting about nothing.
They are wrong.
A feminist is a person (yes, a person - male or female) who believes in gender equality.
There are many different types of feminists in the world, four of which are learned about in Sociology A-Level.
Radical feminist: This is the one that many people associate with feminism in general. They feel that we are living in a patriarchal society; men are oppressing, subordinating and exploiting women in order to assert their power. They see men as the enemy and believe in 'political lesbianism'.
Marxist feminist: Fewer people are aware of this one. They feel that men are not the ones oppressing women, but it is the Capitalist society of today. They wish that one day, there will be a classless society, which will achieve their goal of equality among everyone.
Liberal feminist: These feminists merely want equality. They can see that both men and women suffer from inequalities and want to fight for what is right, for example narrowing the pay gap.
Difference feminist: They see every single woman as unique and important, and that we cannot generalise anything because women everywhere have different experiences with men.
Now we can see that feminism isn't all constant debates and longer armpit hair.
As mentioned before, there is a significant pay gap between genders. The difference between the amount of money that men earn at work and the amount that women earn was at its lowest in 2010 compared to any other year at 34.5%.
Also, topically, there is a petition on 'nomorepage3.org' with over 217,000 signatures in order to try and abolish The Sun's page three (which, if you didn't know, is pretty much a page of women with their breasts on show). This is a very split argument: some feminists see this petition as 'slut shaming' and believe that there is no shame with people choosing to present themselves in the media this way. However, others see it as exploitation and conveying a message of how women are defined by their bodies.
From my point of view, whilst feminism is a rising movement, people are rebelling and become 'anti-feminists' because they do not truly understand the meaning of the word. There needs to be some way of spreading the truth of what it means to be a feminist, sharing facts about why feminism is becoming bigger and why equality has not been obtained yet.
The way to do this is by speaking out, and speaking now. If one person expresses this to three people, then these three people do the exact same, the message will be far more known. Words spread faster than anything. Go and stand up for what you believe in.
-LF, LR and MG