Am I a Feminist?

28 Mar, 2024

Am I a Feminist? 

- Anusha Ojha

What is feminism? I have often wondered to myself because whenever I heard the word feminist, I always used to picture the women having really short hair who speaks loudly about women’s rights. So perpetually I thought that I am never going to be a feminist because I could never have hair like a boy, be ready to fight, and have a loud voice. But it was only recently, my perception of feminism changed as I met a woman in her 20s who was extremely soft-spoken with long hair and identified herself as a feminist. After meeting with her, I began to question my existing perception of feminism and fished around for the answers on the internet. What I found baffled me. I was in utter shock when I read about the South Korean woman archer getting hated for having short hair due to the feminist stigma associated with it. Society perceives women with long hair as modest and sweet while women with short hair are called out with names and tagged as lesbian and the manosphere has a significant role in promoting the stigma associated with feminism. Manosphere promotes the hate around feminism by quoting feminists as ‘man haters’. But is it actually the definition of Feminist? No!!! 

So what is feminism? 


Interestingly, “feminism” as a term was first associated with women’s rights by French philosopher and radical social utopian, Charles Fourier, in 1837. He used the French féminisme to talk about empowering women. Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. But with time the lexicon of feminism lost its original meaning.  

People often mistake feminism as misandry and one of the reasons people make this mistake is rooted in the fact that feminism challenges gender norms. Because it aims to establish a world in which everyone will enjoy equal rights regardless of gender, people who benefit from patriarchy are reluctant to support the movement and end up confusing it with misandry. Some people even think that feminists, instead of demanding equality, want a social structure in which men will be suppressed by women. Unlike what many people might think, feminists do not intend to establish female dominance and subjugate men. They just want equal rights and enjoy equal privileges as men. 


And to answer I a feminist? YES! And I will continue being a feminist until and unless every woman and girl can enjoy their body autonomy can have respectful sexual and reproductive life, control economic and other resources, and can make their own decision and choices without men and society granting them privileged right just because of them carrying ‘defined woman/female body’. And you don’t have to be a girl to be a feminist. A boy can be a feminist supporting equal rights for men and women. 



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