The Feminism Stigma

Preslee Decker, Writer

A couple of weeks ago, my 13 year old brother came home from school. We were talking as usual when I said something relative to women’s rights and being an equal to him. After my comment, his response was “OMG, are you a feminist?’

If I’m being honest, I was almost offended by his response. My immediate thought was why does he think being a supporter of equality is such a bad thing?

My brother then explained his claim by saying that a lot of girls in the middle school setting are annoying when fighting for their rights and take it to the extreme when advocating for what they believe. The way they portray themselves leads other young students to think that feminism is not attractive and isn’t something that’s worth supporting.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that feminism is a “belief in and advocacy of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes expressed especially through organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”  

Even though this is the textbook definition, a lot of people don’t see this exact description in feminists around them. 

Junior Avah Lamothe responded to the survey question on the matter and responded with a more simple answer to what feminism is to her. 

“It’s the act of participating in standing up for women’s rights and women’s recognition, as well as wanting complete fairness between males and females,” Lamothe said. 

After my encounter with my young teenage brother, it has lead me to believe that it’s a common occurence to see younger boys and even older saying that feminism is a bad trait. 

According to the survey sent around to the students and staff of Central Hardin, 39 out of 48 people that participated in the survey believe that being a feminist is a good quality to have. 

When asked why the responders thought that young boys see feminism as a bad thing, multiple expressed that boys have been taught from young age that “throwing like a girl” or doing anything in general like a girl is a bad thing.

Allen Jiang elaborates on this by saying he thinks society has normalized that boys are born better than women to begin with, so these kids grow up and spread these standards.

Seeing these responses helped me see that it is more common for middle-school students and younger to think that feminism is a bad or annoying trait. 

These assumptions are beginning to be inherited by younger children which will only continue the cycle of people being against feminist ideals. 

Even though the majority of males thinks these beliefs are foolish and overdramatic, a lot of women in general are very passionate about the subject.

In the survey, one of the questions confronted the debate on whether or not raising young girls on feminism is healthy.

Senior Emily Valentin’s response to this said question is a perfect summary of what she believes is right and wrong in teaching little girls feminist goals. 

“Raising girls with the idea that men are equal to you and that you may need to prove yourself to have what you deserve is healthy,” Valentin said. “ Raising girls to believe that men are terrible, you can’t rely on them, and women are better than men is unhealthy.” 

The ideals in the beginning of the creation of feminist groups were for equality and wanting the same fairness people tend to give to men, but extreme feminists are now leading people to believe that all feminists hate men and believe they are better than them. This isn’t the case, but these misinterpreted ideas have people among the world seeing this group of people as tiresome and that they are disregarding their feelings.

These extreme feminists portray this bad image by hating on all men through social media, schools, and even in professional settings such as work places.

Jacob Thomas said that he feels that these allegations from men are both right and wrong in a sense.

Thomas elaborates and says that it depends on the group. While some groups of women portray their want for women to be treated equally, some other groups are just ranting about how bad men are and that men are awful. 

Despite your views on the topic, treating everyone with respect is something that everyone needs to do. No matter your age, gender, or race, everyone deserves to express their beliefs freely without people bashing them for it. Be respectful. That’s all anyone asks of you.

Math teacher Cassandra Loskot left great advice for young women, women, young men, and men as a whole in the survey sent around the school. 

“Don’t judge a whole group or movement based on one person or group’s extreme views or drama, and never push your ideals on someone else because when have you ever wanted to do something that someone was forcing you to do,” Loskot said.