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Feminism Is Not A Dirty Word

The core belief of the feminist movement is that ALL people should be equal. It's not a villainous plot to take over the world and throw men into dungeons.

30/03/2017 03:57 SAST | Updated 30/03/2017 03:57 SAST
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Great illustration of a Retro Strong Powerful Asian Woman inspired by the Famous World War Two propaganda Poster of Rosie the Riveter calling for women to play their part in the war effort.

Feminism: noun\ fem∙i∙nism The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men.

As a little girl, I always hated that I wasn't allowed to do certain things because it was set aside for boys. I was a huge cricket fanatic and I wanted to play, but I was told that I couldn't because only a boy's team existed and girls simply cannot play a boy's sport. Little me was livid. Why shouldn't I be able to play cricket? If the boys could play without any problems, then I should be able to do so as well. I fought (with the help of certain evolved teachers) to remove the unspoken law that prohibited girls from joining the school cricket team, and at the age of seven, I joined the mini-cricket team.

It felt glorious - I could finally play the sport I loved! But once I got older and went into the new age group of cricketers, things got harder for me. I was the only girl on the cricket team, and certain people were not even willing to give me a chance to showcase my talent. I was always at the end of the line-up, and I had to prove myself every time I wanted to actually play. Then, I got selected for the district team, and thereafter, the provincial team. Finally, they took me seriously. I could play without facing the extra criticism - criticism that I was subjected to just because of my gender. This made me realise that it really is difficult for a girl to be placed on an equal platform. I had to work extra hard and get onto the provincial team to be given the same respect that the boys freely received.

Back then, I didn't really know what feminism was. It was always downplayed and laughed off by most of the people around me, so I also assumed that it was a bad thing. 'Feminists hate men' 'We let girls do whatever they want now so feminism is irrelevant' 'Only girls who can't get boys are feminists' 'I am not a feminist because I don't hate boys.' The concept was shrouded by these misconceptions, and being a little kid, I believed all of it. My mind was pliable, and I accepted the negative messages I was being sent about feminism. It was only when I got to high school that I truly got to understand what feminism really stood for.

I was shocked to find that feminism involved everything I fought for - equality and respect. It opposed the preconceived idea that men were superior, and it smashed the gender stereotypes I battled against.

I was shocked to find that feminism involved everything I fought for - equality and respect. It opposed the preconceived idea that men were superior, and it smashed the gender stereotypes I battled against. It was not a bad thing, after all, and if I already possessed the values that the movement inspired, why not embrace the label? After I fully grasped the meaning of the word, I couldn't comprehend why some people viewed it so negatively. Why was it such a bad thing to be a feminist? How could such a great movement face such opposition? Then it dawned on me that society has been brainwashed by those who value patriarchy to oppose the feminist movement. That way, the patriarchy can thrive without any hindrance.

Most people have grown up to view a feminist in a bad light, and I have realised that the only way to alter that view is to educate them on the true meaning of feminism; to make them understand that feminism exists to help people lead a better life. Women have had to fight for rights that were so freely given to men, and they have been oppressed for so long that some men still believe that they actually have the authority to allow women to do things. The core belief of the feminist movement is that ALL people should be equal. It is not some villainous plot to take over the world and throw men into the dungeons.

The movement is promoting equality, and equality means that every single person in this world, regardless of age, gender, race or nationality, should be presented with the same opportunities and rights in order to realise their full potential. It thrives on the idea that no person is superior to the next. Some have said that feminism isn't needed anymore, it's the 21st century and women are thriving - but many don't see the struggle behind the success. The world still needs to be cured of the widely present patriarchal mindset. Current events even prove that feminism is still EXTREMELY relevant. Donald Trump and his reproduction policies are placing bans on abortions. These laws have worldwide repercussions.

A person has the right to do whatever they want to with their own bodies, and Trump's policies are infringing on this right. Women's rights are human rights, and telling a woman what she may or may not do with her body infringes on this basic humanright. The fact that we still have to protest for women's rights proves that feminism is still relevant. Women are plagued with body image issues and feminism fights to break the cultural norm in which women are expected to reach for an unattainable standard of beauty. It teaches girls that labels don't define them, and that it is not okay for a girl to be negatively labelled because of the things she chooses to do.

If boys can do something that society deems immoral and emerge unscathed, girls should too. It helps girls accept themselves and reach their full potential. A movement that promotes such a positive message cannot be a bad thing. Trying to make the world a better place for all human beings is not a sin, fighting for equality is not insane, and feeling beautiful in your own skin is not wrong. So tell me, how is feminism a bad word?