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Feminism is for everyone

Oct 25 • Olivia Burger, Opinion • 563

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I don’t know when or why, but somewhere along the course of its existence the term “feminist” became associated with a negative connotation.
It’s almost as if the second the word is brought up, people either tune in or tune out to what you’re about to say depending on whether they do or don’t believe that the term applies to them.
It is my belief that the term feminism should apply to everyone, and in a perfect world, everyone would consider themselves a feminist.
I think a lot of women and men shy away from identifying themselves with the term due to misinformation about the word and the movement.
I also feel that there’s a large population of women who feel they identify with the term, but are afraid to carry around the stigma of being a feminist. I know because I used to be one of them.
I’m now a firm believer in girls supporting girls, empowered women empowering women and all the benefits that stem from feminism, but I wasn’t always this vocal about girl power prior to coming to Gannon.
In high school if someone would’ve asked me if I considered myself to be a feminist, I would’ve probably said no.
Coming from a high school in a small rural area, my knowledge and exposure to true feminism was limited, and my perception of the term was misguided.
I was afraid to be associated with the stereotypes that some of my peers believed in, like that all feminists were “bra burners,” “men haters” and “baby killers,” so I denied the term and avoided the subject altogether as best I could. I had no idea what feminism really was.
By definition, a feminist is a person who believes in the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.
This isn’t new information, and we’ve all heard this definition before, yet some people still manipulate feminism into something that it isn’t.
Feminism isn’t some elaborate scheme to pit the sexes against each other. It isn’t a bitter revolt attempting to cause chaos and turmoil. It’s a movement for equality – point blank simple.
It’s a voice for the nearly 130 million girls globally who are out of school and don’t receive proper education.
It’s a platform to draw attention to the fact that globally only 23.3 percent of parliamentarians are women.
It’s a movement to battle the statistic that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted before they graduate from college.
Feminism is all this and so much more – and now more than ever, we need it.
Between the recent sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the numerous questionable comments made by President Trump, it’s clear that sexism is alive and well in Hollywood, Capitol Hill and everywhere else for that matter.
However, 2017 seems to be the year that everyone is “waking up” for lack of a better term, and coming together to support women.
I think more and more people are setting the stereotypes aside and coming together to embrace feminism for what is truly is.
This world wouldn’t function without powerful, intelligent, confident women, and it’s time that we all realize that equality for women is equality for all.
OLIVIA BURGER
burger028@knights.gannon.edu

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