Stigmas and Misconceptions the Word Feminism Evokes in People

By Pier E MS

The feminist movement affects everyone, bringing with it taboos and misconceptions, but often confuses people in its wake.

In an online survey people related the word feminism to “extremism,” “arrogance,” and “preaching.”

In a personal interview with Calgary resident Abbey Nagi, he disagrees with the survey saying, “Feminists are strong, smart leaders, and all they want is equality for all genders across all platforms.”

He goes on to say that some men and women get offended by simply hearing the word feminism, associating it with man hating, fat, hairy, lesbian women.

When speaking of feminism “f-word” and “feminazi” are too often thrown around as insults says Jackson Katz an anti-sexism educator from Massachusetts.

“[Some] men are pretending feminism is somehow a battle of the sexes or some kind of nonsense, but we live in the world together,” says Katz, for TEDTalks.

“Martin Luther King said, ‘In the end what will hurt most is not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends,’” Katz uses this quote to encourage men everywhere to join in to the feminist efforts.

“Both men and women are victims of men’s violence,” he says, “calling it women’s issues gives men an excuse to not pay attention.”

Ali Rodriguez, a Trojans women's basketball player, poses for a portrait in the Campus Centre Gym at SAIT in Calgary on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. Rodriguez is originally from California, USA. (Photo by Pier Moreno Silvestri/SAIT Polytechnic)
Ali Rodriguez, a Trojans women’s basketball player, poses for a portrait in the Campus Centre Gym at SAIT in Calgary on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. Rodriguez is originally from California, USA. (Photo by Pier E MS)

Victoria Fitzgerald-Bozlinski from Saugerties, New York, says in a comment, “I’m so tired of men getting the shit end of the stick. This is why when people start preaching feminisms I snort.”

Hanna Rosin, an Israeli journalist and author of The End of Men and God’s Harvard says, “Thousands of years of history don’t reverse themselves without a lot of pain.”

She mentions the popular term “First born son,” bringing to light how women have been regarded in the past during her speech for TEDTalks.

To compare Rosin polled new parents to-be and the conclusion was that “families are no longer preferring first born sons,” this on its own is a turning point.

When in the past it was a curse for a couple’s first child to be female, back then either something had to be done about it or future prospects for the family and the child were considered diminished.

Now it is more widely considered equal in value to have a male child in more parts of the world.

In her speech she compares data from the ‘50s and ‘60s, “Nowadays for every two male university students there are three female students,” and as these figures change so do others.

For example the place a woman has in the home and work has drastically changed, more and more women are becoming the primary breadwinners and more men becoming homemakers.

She also notes that more women have higher position jobs that in the past have been male dominated fields.

In some cases a woman in one position is earning more than a man in the same one. “Stereotypes are changing,” Rosin says.

“If my own current husband was suddenly a stay-at-home dad, it would be emasculating. That would be hard for me,” this excerpt from Rosin’s The End of Men outlines how there is still no clear definition of feminism, and even though she considers herself a feminist this statement isn’t feminist.

They say that media is also not to be disregarded when so many misunderstandings are related to feminism.

Feminists are portrayed in a “skewed and provocative” way on popular movies and TV shows raising stigmas and arguments, which doesn’t help the movement when reactionary people are threatened.