Feminism Myths Debunked

Feminism Myths Debunked

In a lot of people’s minds – feminism means man-hater. They relegate women who are self-acclaimed feminists to the category of parrots – squawking, and chirping words inherited from elsewhere and lacking meaning. Feminists are unattractive, undesirable women, unable to keep a man, and so in their spare time, they condemn the opposite sex, unable to face the fact that they are in truth attracted to them. They are women who are so self-involved, they cannot come to terms with the fact that the world no longer has need of feminism.

But feminism as a concept has generally been misunderstood. Here are a couple of things that you may have gotten wrong regarding feminism and feminists:

Only women can be feminists: In the same way that someone can be pro-gay marriage and still be heterosexual, is the same way that one can be a male feminist. A feminist is an individual who champions the rights of women; and you don’t need to be a woman to advocate social, political, economic, cultural and personal rights for the female sex.

Feminists hate men: Believing that feminists hate men, is a means to escape the issue that is actually being addressed. Feminists can be single, married, divorced, dating; feminists can be men. How? Because the issue of feminism is not about men. Men are not the focus. It is about the women and their freedom and their boundaries. Unfortunately, in order to make one’s point, one has to draw comparison with those that are enjoying the liberties you cannot even dream of, and in this case, those individuals happen to be…men.

Feminists want to do all the things men can do: Well yes, and no. First wave feminism was concerned with equal rights for women. They argued that women were no different from men and so should not be treated differently. First wave feminism was born as a response to the gross maltreatment of women in the public sphere and in the home. They demanded civil and political equality. Since then, there has been second wave feminism, which was concerned with sexual and family rights for women; and third wave feminism. Third wave feminists were less concerned with being treated the exact same way men are. In fact, practicalities such as maternity leave are enjoyed today, because there were feminists who argued that women were different, and should be treated differently. Different, mind you, not inferior.

Feminists don’t want to cook or have babies: As I mentioned earlier, there have been several waves of feminism. But the first wave was battling injustices like – the right to vote; unequal pay; property ownership and so on. They were not trying to rid themselves of their responsibilities. Having said that however, feminists such as myself, believe it is a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body. If she wants to sit down at home with the kids, that is cool. If she wants to work all day and hire a chef, that is also cool. Neither choice is superior nor better than the other; they both have their pros and cons.

Feminists are women scorned: I think it is both humorous and tragic that there are those who believe that the sole reason why a woman would stand up and speak up about injustices that she or her sisters state have experienced, is that at some point in her life, a man left her, cheated on her, didn’t love her, and so on. It could not be that she genuinely believes in the school of thought that she subscribes to.

Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo and has been freelancing as a writer and editor since. She has had short stories published in anthologies and has also self published work. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top ten spoken word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam.


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