Being a feminist means that you believe in the equality of all people, regardless of gender, race, or anything else. Being a feminist does not mean you hate men. I repeat - being a feminist does not mean you hate all men.
It's 2016. It's time to put an end to this nonsense, once and for all. Here are 8 myths about feminism that people really, really need to stop believing.
1. . Feminists hate men.
Sigh. This is perhaps the most popular myth about feminism, unfortunately. Being a feminist doesn't mean you hate men - what it might mean is that you hate the patriarchy, a system that privileges cisgender white males above all others. In an attempt to draw attention away from that very real problem, feminism has been relabeled to mean something that it's not ("kill all men") instead of what it's really about: questioning and dismantling a system that ultimately harms us all.
2. . Feminists think women are better than men.
Nope - how about we all agree that no gender is inherently superior? And stop treating women like second-class citizens? That would be great, thanks.
3. . Feminists only care about women.
Untrue! The patriarchy harms all of us, and you'll find feminists on every corner of the internet talking about all different kinds of problems. If you want to find more feminists who talk about issues that affect men, then seek it out. I guarantee you that it's there.
4. . We don't need feminism anymore.
If women hadn't started sticking up for themselves way back when, women wouldn't have the agency we have today. Just because things are better than before doesn't mean that we, as a society, are where we should be.
5. . Feminists aren't feminine.
Feminism is about respecting women's individual choices, so if a woman wants to present herself in a way that's viewed as traditionally feminine? Great. And however else a woman wants to dress or act is great too. The real question is why does the thought of a woman not acting or dressing in a traditionally feminine way interpreted as such a bad thing?
6. . Feminists don't have a sense of humor.
We do, we just don't think stuff like rape is funny. #kanyeshrug
7. . All feminists believe exactly the same thing.
As with any movement, there are variations in the philosophies each follower adopts. Some popular topics of feminist debates: sex work, sex positivity, sex as a source of empowerment... basically, sex, sex, and more sex. Isn't it funny how sex can complicate anything, even social movements?
8. . You have to be a woman to be a feminist.
Anyone can be a feminist - don't let the negative connotations steer you away from your inner calling.