are you a feminist or a "feminazi"?


Yes, I know. This is an extremely controversial topic. But I think that it’s important to talk about it, because it’s going to affect all of us whether you identify yourself as a feminist or not. Before I discuss whether or not modern feminism actually aims to achieve its goal, or if it is an excuse for women to view themselves superior to men and vilify them ‘in the name of feminism’, let’s actually look at what true feminism is. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary feminism is “the theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes." This means that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, and that they should not be judged based on their sex, but on their actions and who they are as a person.

So if true feminism wants equality between the sexes, then most people should be happy and supportive of the concept, since it’s supporting the rights of all sexes right? Well actually you're wrong. Modern feminism has become oppressive and alienating. It’s full of half-arsed arguments backed up by hysterical indignation. These so called ‘feminists’ truly believe that feminism is all about bashing men, and making them the villain, while women are the ones that could do no wrong. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit here, because not all feminists are like that. There are some truly good feminists like Malala Yousafzai who is a Pakistani activist for female education. Yet, there are a great number of women who do not fit the dictionary definition of feminism, and unfortunately they’re the feminists that receive attention in pop culture.


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One of the things that is wrong about modern feminists is ‘white feminism’. It’s a term coined to feminism that blatantly ignores the needs and concerns of women of color. White feminists are privileged in ways that feminists of color can never be. They don’t have to worry as much about low-healthcare, or low-wage jobs, and they walk the earth like their existences are the greatest thing to ever happen to social justice. They continue to marginalize feminists of color without even realizing it. White feminism undermines issues of racial inequality when attempting to equally represent gender. Take a look at events like Slut Walks, where women protest by walking down the streets of major cities in North America claiming that holding signs in their underwear is somehow 'smashing the patriarchy' and 'fighting rape culture' in the west. This is problematic because though these events hold good intentions, they don't address rape culture in parts of the world that truly need feminist light. I could go on all day but this is only one example of white feminism, and there are still other things that need to be addressed. 

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There is a lot of racism in the history of feminism: for example, Elizabeth Candy Stanton, leader of the suffragette movement in the 1900s, expressed anger at how white women were not allowed to vote when “degraded black men” could line up at polls. You might think, “but we don’t do that anymore, we’re not like that.” However, racism still occurs in today’s age and day. White feminism highlights how western cultures’ ideal beauty standards are thin and white. 

In Fashion Week 2015 women of color represented only less than a quarter of all hired runway models around the world. According to the Fashion Spot Canada, of the hundreds of models casted, only 8.7% were Asian, 8.3%  Black, and 1.7% Latina, and that’s not even the worst of it with Middle Eastern models making up less than one percent of the group. This means that Caucasian girls dominated fashion week, as they represented 80% of all hired models. At least these people have the excuse of not knowing how hard it is to be a women of color -if they have good intentions - but they aren't even the most hypocritical of the latter, because the 'feminists' I’ll be talking about momentarily are just plain ignorant and extremely harmful to the reputation of the cause. They just so happen to be 'feminists' whose voices are the loudest and most represented in mainstream media.

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I’m talking about the ‘feminists’ that bash on men. Who assume they’re all the cause of society's moral and social decline. In their eyes, men are always the villains, and are always the ones who are sexist, who abuse women, who rape them, forgetting that women can do the exact same thing. These 'feminists' are verbally abusive human beings who throw around sexist generalizations about the male population, accusing all of them of being focused only on sex and womens' physical appearances. 

It’s all about how we should ‘protect women and girls from the harmful, photo-shopped models on magazines’, because it’ll lower their self-esteem, or about how ‘we need more clothes for plus-size women because they’re beautiful too’ or how ‘girls are being feminists by refusing to shave their legs’ while ignoring real gender inequality battles going on in third world countries. These are problems that are important too, but when they have become the center of feminism in popular culture, it becomes a reflection of the movement as a whole, and makes the general population lump even the genuine gender egalitarians with the radical bunch. 

This is a movement about equality between the sexes, so where are all the things for men? Why is there nothing to help boys improve their self-esteem when every single male model is hot, muscled, and have rock-hard abs? Where are the clothing for plus-sized men? Where is the part where society says to boys and men that it’s okay to have emotions, because it’s part of being human and expressing yourself, not being ‘feminine’? Where is their support? No wonder men have retaliated through ‘meninism’. In an effort to fight against modern feminism, or ‘feminazis’, meninists challenge the status quo by questioning why they can’t get the same social rights as women and to stop objectifying them.

No, I’m not asking you to get up and scream to the world that you’ll challenge its way of thinking. No, I’m not asking you to change society’s views by yourself. But I will ask you this: if you identify yourself as a feminist, as someone who theoretically believes in the equality of the sexes, what and who are you truly fighting for?

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BY KHADIGA OSMAN

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