By Hailley Smart
As long as there has been feminism, there have been many myths about it. As time has moved on some of these myths have fallen away and new ones have sprung up. In this article I will be discussing some of the most relevant and common myths in 2020 about feminism. I will be looking into how the misconceptions are wrong and providing links to other sources (both through the University of Idaho’s Women’s Blog and other sites) that can be utilized to dig deeper into these myths.
Women are already equal/there is no need for feminism anymore
While it is true that feminism has made many strides in furthering equality, there are still many areas where women are behind. Women are still twice as likely to do the majority of the housework (averaging 14 hours of housework a week, while men are reported to average 7). Women still get paid less in many fields of employment. Many jobs are also far more exclusive of mothers then of fathers. For more on why feminism still matters, I suggest looking into Kailyn Eagy’s article “Is the Women’s March Still Relevant?” and the APA’s article “What Feminism Means Today”.
Feminists can only be women/Men can’t be feminists
While it is a true statement to say that women care about their own equality, it is not exclusive to only women. Equality between the sexes is important to all. The idea that if you are not female you cannot relate to feminism is nonsense. There are many notable male feminists: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, and John Legend, who said in 2013, “All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights, the world will be a better place. We are better off when women are empowered — it leads to a better society.”
Feminists believe that women are above men.
Yes, there are some who claim to be feminists who do believe that women are superior to men, however that is not true to the spirit of feminism and that is not what feminism represents. Feminism is at its heart about fighting for the equality of all. No gender is better or worse than any other. Feminism endorses and advocates for human rights for all gender identities since everyone deserves to be treated equally. I recommend the Forbes article “True Feminism is About Equality for Both Genders”. I also recommend the post by Beatrice Santiago called “Feminism”.
Feminists hate men
This is one of the most harmful of the myths about feminism. Not only are many feminists men themselves, but it is entirely unfounded to say that all feminists are man-haters. The stereotype of the raging man hating feminist is entirely unfounded. Feminism merely seeks to point out the gender imbalance that is often perpetuated by both men and women. Believing this myth perpetuates feminism as misandry and creates a mindset of hatred of, contempt for, and prejudice against men in general.
Feminists can’t be feminine
The idea that feminist can’t be stereotypically feminine is an outdated idea. That feminists hate fashion, make up, and all things that are traditionally feminine is flawed for one primary reason. It is based on the idea that all feminists are the same. While there are many feminists that are very much against flowing skirts and heels, that is their personal choice based on their own interests. There are equally as many feminists (both male and female) who embrace the ‘girlier’ aspects of appearance (many of the most traditionally feminine clothes have even been used as symbols of feminism). The choice to embrace traditionally feminine or masculine traits is exactly that, an individual’s choice and not a representation of feminism as a whole. Being feminist means giving and getting the chance to not be forced to follow either way. It is about having the freedom to CHOOSE what each individual wants without fear of judgement or condemnation.
Feminists are crazy and oversensitive
Just as there are feminists who are traditionally feminine, there are feminists, non-feminists and anti-feminists that are very easily offended. There are also members of each group that are hardly offended by anything. Neither of these mindsets are wrong, just as neither are right. They are simply facts of each person’s identity. The reason this one is held to be true is due to the fact that the media tends to display the most radical factions of any group in order to gather the most attention and readership. There is no single type of feminism, and there is no single type of person who is a feminist.
As with any defining movement in history there have been and are a wide variety of misconceptions and myths that have been spread about feminism over time. I hope that I have given you some insight into some of the most common misconceptions about feminism nowadays, as well as a variety of sites and sources to look further into. For an interesting view of anti-feminism, I also suggest reading Sierra Rothermich’s article “Looking Through The Eyes Of An Anti-Feminist”.