Although there are times when it may seem otherwise, I am indeed a modern, liberal, feminist. What that means is I believe in equality of opportunity for both biological sexes and all genders. I am not a radical feminist – I do not blame men for the current stats of women in general. There are subtle differences in the terminologies and branches of feminisms, but the general perception of feminists is, as far as I have encountered, far more radical than I would consider warranted. Some feminists hate men as a rule, but this i snot a requirement of feminism in general.
Feminism (I believe we are in the fourth wave now, but it has been a while since I studied the logistics so I may well be wrong here) is about equal opportunities and rights. Both men and women – and all “others” – should be able to do what they want without acing issues based on sex or gender. It does not mean women must seek the top careers in their fields, or men must stay home with young children; it simply means they can if they want to, and no matter what they choose, that the costs and benefits should be equal. This, by definition, makes me a liberal feminist. Equal rights, equal opportunities. Women should have the freedom to pursue “male-only” careers just as men should have the opportunity to pursue “female-only” careers.
Even though I consider myself a feminist, rarely do I broadcast it. This may seem counter-productive, and in some circles it is, but in general I feel this is not necessarily a bad thing. I do not always feel it is necessary to argue that equality of opportunity should be the norm; quite often, I find the people I am conversing with to already have this same belief. Generally they do not view it as feminism – and indeed I think it will stop being considered feminism within a few decades – and to say I am a feminist conjures up images of radical feminism in their minds. This, of course, I challenge and explain as above.
But as society moves forward – chronologically, at least – I cannot help but wonder, why are our views of feminism still stuck in the 1970s? I am quite pleased to see most of my peers believe in equality of opportunity for all, but at the same time though their perception of feminism does not convey the same message. There are people – mostly women, but not exclusively – who do further the misconception of all feminism being a radical anti-male ideology, but they are by far the statistical minority of feminists. What baffles me, then, is why they still dominate society’s perception of feminism. Are the rest of us simply too quiet about what it means to be a feminist in today’s world? Or is this a battle previous generations won for us and now it is time to let it die down, and pursue the issues free from the feminist label? is the next – or current – great battle of feminism within our own ranks? If I was to stand up and say “I am a feminist” would it help or hinder?
Honestly, I have no idea.