Societal pressures denote feminism’s message

By Asma Alkrizy, Staff Writer

Feminism tends to discourage individuals from advocating for gender equality because it is associated with the connotation that it is reserved for women.

Because of that connotation, not many people are capable of identifying themselves as feminists.

I thought about this term one day during class. So I asked a girl about her stance on feminism. She said she’s not a feminist, but she supports gender equality.

She did not know it, but she too is a feminist because she is aiming for gender equality. But why was she afraid to embrace the feminist label?

The problem lies in the misconception that feminism is an exclusive term for women.

So to make the movement inclusive, it should be changed from feminism to “equalism.”

According to a YouGov poll, only 20 percent of people living in the U.S. consider themselves as feminists.

But when asked if they believe that “men and women should be social, political, and economic equals,” 82 percent of the respondents agreed.

This statistic startled me considering that a high percentage of the respondents embraced the idea that both sexes should be considered as equals.  So I contemplated these results, and came to a conclusion.

The huge gap between the percentages of the people who consider themselves feminists and those who desire equality for both sexes is a result of misinterpreting feminism.

Two problematic connotations people have with feminism are that it only promotes equality for a particular gender and encourages misandry.   

Many men seem hesitant to join the feminist movement, as they perceive the term “feminism” as a female exclusive movement and an ideology that subjugates men.

Some women are even reluctant to label themselves as feminists, afraid of being seen as men haters, and they usually say, “I’m not a feminist, but…”

Because of these misconceptions, not all individuals consider themselves feminists.

Changing feminism to an inclusive term “equalism,” means that gender equality is a concern for both genders, and not only women.

“Equalism” would advocate the equal rights and opportunities for men and women from an egalitarian perspective.

Now, giving feminism a new name doesn’t mean I’ve set aside women inequalities, as many women throughout the world still face discrimination in education, employment, and political representation.

However, the term feminism confuses people to what the movement is about — gender equality and not superiority.

Some people may argue against “equalism” because women are discriminated against more than men.

While it is true that there are many women who are more disadvantaged than men, feminism fails to address the main idea of gender equality, which is to put an end to all inequalities based on gender.

Civil rights, for instance, was a movement that advocated for the rights of African-Americans. But the term itself is inclusive, as any racial minority is able to associate with the Civil Rights Movement.

It is the time to change the distorted reputation that has followed feminism. Broadening the movement by changing the name from feminism to “equalism” would explicitly states that all genders should fight for equality.