Unapologetic feminist: ‘It is about women becoming as powerful as men’


Amara Neitzke

Amara Neitzke, Contributor

I am unapologetically a feminist.

Before you allow that groan to leave your mouth, hear me out. The word “feminism” has this misleading and negative connotation with it. However, all of those stereotypical ideas and circumstances that you associate with feminism, are simply not accurate. A misandrist is a person who believes in female superiority. A misogynist is someone who believes in male superiority. A feminist is someone who believes in the equality of the sexes.

Feminism has evolved and will continue to evolve. Many people divide feminism into waves; however, I prefer to look at it as a whole movement that continues to grow, learn, and progress. The first “wave,” is generally associated with the suffragette movement, where women fought for the right to vote, the second “wave” of feminism focused on sexuality, domestic violence, and reproductive rights. Third “wave” feminism is often associated with the idea of ending rape culture and achieving equal pay, but many of these core values intersected over the decades.

However, all of these “waves” left behind women of color, queer women, trans women, and disabled women. For women of color, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that they were even able to exercise their right to vote freely. Whereas today, feminism is often referred to as “intersectional” because it is all inclusive and more beneficial for everyone.

Being a feminist to me, in this day and age, is something I take extreme pride in. It means fighting for every single person despite their gender, race, religion, disability, or sexuality. It means that no matter your beliefs or background, I respect you, and you are my equal.

I have been asked, “Well, why not say you are egalitarian?” And although that is a fair proposal, in my opinion, it denies that there is an issue of gender inequality in our world, and I refuse to deny that notion until the issue is resolved.  More than once, it has been brought to my attention that we should just change the word from “feminism” to something else. My response is always the question, “Do we change the word or the stigma around the word?”

What if people were more educated on the true meaning of feminism?  

Feminism is NOT about hating men. That is misandry. It is not about women becoming more powerful than men, it is about women becoming as powerful as men.

If you identify as a man and challenge the idea of the necessity of feminism, would you like to be a woman in today’s society? Would you want men making laws about YOUR body? Would you want to live in constant fear while walking down the street alone? Would you want to get used to the feeling of being catcalled? Would you want to live in a world where a man raped you and only served three months in jail?

Another counter-argument to feminism is, “Well what about men’s rights?” Yes, I acknowledge that men have undeniable difficulties that they face every day from societal pressure. Feminism does NOT deny these issues. These issues are actually included in the movement. That is the beauty of feminism, there are NO exclusions. It is a movement empowering every gender. However, take note when bringing up men’s rights. Are you bringing them up to bring attention to an actual issue, or are you bringing them up to silence women that are talking about their personal experience?

For example, often times it is inevitable to hear the phrase, “Well, men get raped too,” when a woman is talking about an experience or situation pertaining to rape. No, I am not denying that it does not happen, it does, (more than talked about) but  “Men get raped too” should be its own sentence, not an interruption or an argumentative statement. (Side note: let’s just stop allowing rapists to get off so easy. Let’s stop laughing at rape jokes, better yet let’s stop telling rape jokes. Overall, what if we teach that no means no, and stop rape? It is disgusting and no one should be subjected to that circumstance.)

Women in history have worked so hard for me, the least I can do is defend their hard work. In addition to defending and appreciating their courage, I will continue to fight. I am fighting for every fellow woman, and for the women in 100 years that will hopefully be able to enjoy the world where they are not defined by a gender they had no choice in choosing but were simultaneously blessed with.

There are a plethora of stereotypes associated with feminism, but that doesn’t affect how honored I am to be apart of this movement. There will always be extremists in every movement, but if people focused on the true purpose of feminism, my generation could significantly advance towards a more educated society with equal morals that eliminate sexism.

I invite you to fight with me for equal opportunities and treatment for everyone despite their race, religion, disability, sexuality, and gender.