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Misconception of Feminism

Isabella Webb, Journalist

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Feminism has been around since the mid 1800s, but it still seems to be one of the most misunderstood concepts in society today.

To me, Newport Beach seems like a bit of a bubble world. When within it, events that occur outside of our “bubble” are often distorted. With false news all but taking over social media, it can be hard to know what’s really going on. And even when you do, it is very difficult to understand what you don’t experience.

Being a part of Youth & Government has opened my eyes in many ways. While in Fresno for our second conference, I was able to participate in meetings for a delegate-run session called Female Leaders in Power, and also had many great discussions about women’s rights in my committee group. However, when I returned to Newport and went back to school, I realized how hard it would be to return to ignoring the slurs thrown at anyone or anything associated with feminism.

I like to believe that if everyone knew what feminism really was, no one would oppose it. One of the most common misconceptions about feminists is that they think that they’re better than men, or want to be more powerful than them. But feminism isn’t about that at all. Feminism is simply about women being given the same rights and opportunities as men. Feminists aren’t male-haters either, and men can be feminists as well. These are delusions that need to stop.

What is so sad to me is the awful name feminists have been given. While I don’t doubt that there may be some extreme activists out there, that doesn’t justify all feminists being given labels such as “feminazis.” Not only is the nickname hurtful, it makes it difficult to speak out for fear of being judged and ridiculed.

I’m sure many people may not understand the feminism movement. Maybe it may seem to them that women are equal. True, we may have the freedom to vote, run for office, or other major rights such as that. However, there are little discriminations that people don’t notice. For example, there is a wage gap in the workforce, not to mention statistics show that women significantly less likely to be hired than men, especially if they have children. According to the blog Clear Company, a study done by Harvard and Princeton in 2016 discovered that blind interviews increased the likelihood that a woman would be hired by between 25 and 46%. The same study revealed that fewer CEOs are women than named David!

There are plenty of other inequities as well. Luckily, CdM doesn’t have to experience a strict dress code, but I talked with some people who did, and their stories astounded me. I heard about how much harsher the dress code was for girls, which wasn’t too hard to believe on its own. But the stories were appalling! One girl told me about how guy came to her school wearing a penguin suit and the teachers didn’t care. But when it was noticed that a girl’s cardigan had slid off, revealing her shoulder, she was instantly dress coded.

This story stood out to me in particular, because the reason schools have dress codes at all is because they don’t want students “distracted” by other students’ clothing. But what could be more distracting than a penguin suit, and less distracting than a shoulder?

Though, with all things said, there is no doubt that feminism has made unbelievable progress. I know it can be easy to focus so much on what has yet to be done that we almost forget how much we have accomplished. All I can say is that if history has taught us one thing, it’s that the best thing we can do is stand together. After all, alone your voice is loud; when united it is powerful. Whether you consider yourself a feminist or not, the ability to change the world is in our hands.

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Misconception of Feminism