Recently, there has been major debate regarding the word “feminism.” For some, the word is a source of empowerment, yet others find it annoying in spite of not having a strong problem with it. For many, however, the word fills them with rage.
“Feminist” was voted the Most Annoying Word of 2014 in a poll by TIME Magazine. Soon after it was published, TIME Editor Nancy Gibbs issued an apology, stating that the word “feminist” was only included in the list of words to invoke debate. She ended the note saying that its inclusion in the list became “a distraction from the important debate over equality and justice.”
While Gibbs probably didn’t intend on defining feminism in her editor’s note, she did. Feminism is a need for equality and justice, and those who are against it are participating in this debate. While freedom of speech is one of the most essential parts of the constitution, one should keep being informed in mind when debating feminism – or anything, for that matter.
The Merriam Webster definition of the word “feminism” is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Nowhere does it say that being a feminist means hating men or wanting to derail their progression in the world in any way, shape, or form. Feminism is simply a quest for equality. One of the most important feminist debates currently involves the Equal Pay Act. Again, no one is asking to destroy what men get paid; the goal is to make it equal between the sexes.
One of the most recent attacks on feminism is the emergence of “meninism,” mainly through a twitter account @MeninistTweet. Meninism could have been a great thing. If meninism meant that men could take on the roles and characteristics originally thought to be feminine without backlash, I would go out and buy one of those shirts that say #MENINIST. In fact, since feminism is striving for equality of the sexes, it would be supporting men who want to take on what are considered to be “feminine” roles. If that was what meninism was striving for, then not only would feminism be stronger, but the search for equality would be further along its way.
However, meninism is not about equality. It’s simply a mockery of feminism and has turned into a social platform aimed at taking down female empowerment. Not only does the account have over 700,000 followers, but meninism has also been seen on Wheaton’s campus via the app YikYak.
A majority of the posts on the meninism pages are centered around calling women, or “hoes” as they more often call us, dumb, ugly, hypocrites, annoying, idiots and more. Many of the other posts encourage violence against women using people, cheating and date rape. There was a popular tweet encouraging men to dump their women if they didn’t dump them first for cheating on them. Why? Because then the woman is dumb. This is another reason @MeninistTweet encourages cheating; it’s a way for men to tell their women how dumb they are. Another popular post read “Beer…helping ugly guys get laid since 1876. Rohypnol…guaranteeing it since 1992.”
Why does @MeninistTweet have more followers than major feminist twitter accounts? Well, feminists often get a negative reputation for hating men. While there are “radical” feminists who take it to the extreme, the fact is that the majority of us just want what feminism started out for: equality.
How is calling all women “hoes” and encouraging men to cheat and treat women badly a valid response to feminism? Why are posts encouraging things like rape culture more popular than the ones encouraging equality among the human race? Whether or not you call yourself a feminist, we should strive to promote healthier forms of debate when it comes to issues of equality.