Feminism is not man hating.One of the most important aspects that no one seems to realize is that it advocates for men’s rights just as much as women’s, says Sayeh Yousufi

As we passed another International Women’s Day, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the successes and failures of gender rights avocation over the past few years, particularly when sexual assault cases at schools and universities are popping up all over the news. http://gty.im/511901366 Outcry at universities over lack of sexual assault policies at reputable universities, in particular, has caught the media’s attention, as students are finally standing up for lack of legislation at their schools against sexual assault. This is only one small portion of the fight against sexual violence, which is growing at an alarming rate, and affects those of all genders and sexual orientations. As sexual assault cases spring further into the spotlight, feminists are continuously brought under fire for several reasons. The question then arises, why all the hate against feminism?  

The term “feminism” has, without a doubt, gained countless negative connotations, even though the sole purpose of the term in itself is to create a more equal and balanced world. People fail to realize that not all feminists are man hating, irrational activists, but like all groups, feminism has its radicals, and sadly those are the ones who  have garnered more negative attention than the many great feminists throughout the world.  

Feminism advocates for men’s rights just as much as women’s.

http://gty.im/2698790 One of the most important aspects of feminism that no one seems to realize is that it advocates for men’s rights just as much as women’s. Gender inequality affects men as well women. Societal ideals of a typical male being athletic, aggressive, and brave have led to many men not being able to express themselves freely and live the lives they desire. Countless numbers of men remain bottled up; afraid to share their emotions for fear that they may not appear ‘manly’ enough. Feminism isn’t solely the fight for women’s rights; it’s the fight for gender equality for all sexes. Feminists fight to help ensure that men feel comfortable expressing their feelings and pursuing careers they are passionate about, rather than careers they feel they are entitled to due to their gender. At the same time  feminism ensures that women are not at a disadvantage in the workforce due to the possibility that they may someday have children and start a family. Many misogynists argue against this claim, questioning why there are so little campaigns for men’s rights in comparison to women. If feminism really is the fight for gender equality, why the term itself is directly connoted with females?

My answer is simple – throughout history, the sex that has suffered and been discriminated against has been the female sex, not the male. Although males have experiences several injustices, and many of them being equally important as women’s issues, in comparison to the tremendous challenges women have had to overcome, it’s clear to me why the term feminism has been coined. It’s an ode to the fight for equality that has led the female sex this far, but it is also a testament to the continuous fight that we all, as humans, must partake in to ensure that all genders are viewed as equals, under the law, in society, in business, in the medical sector, in all regards.

Furthermore, many anti-feminists argue that women in the Western world are privileged and have more advanced rights than anywhere else in the world. Accomplishments with regards to women’s rights over the past few decades are impressive, but we are still a ways away from being an entirely gender equal society. All too often I have heard girls refuse to partake in sports for fear of gaining too much muscle and altering their physical appearance in a way that contradicts society’s ideal body image for women.

Personally, I have been called bossy and been told not to attempt to lead a group of boys, because “they wont listen to me if I talk that way” or at the very least, let a boy take over so that he can fulfill the leadership roles already prescribed to his gender. It saddens me that teenagers nowadays, having lived in a country where women’s rights are available and encouraged, continue to sublime to sexist notions and ideologies.

There remain to be many nations in which women are in far worse situations; having limited options in pursuing their education, and not being able to compete with men in many fields. Violence against women is at an all time high, and sadly, very little is being done in many nations to battle such issues. These facts alone should serve as proof that feminism is a vital aspect of achieving gender equality, but what remains to be my strongest motivation as a feminist is my belief that all genders are equal and should have equal rights and opportunities. This is what unites all supporters of the feminist movement: the belief that all genders are entitled to the same rights and freedoms.

What equality of genders means to you? Share your perspectives with us!

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