By Julia James, Guest contributor
We live in the society where mass media dominates. It is easy to keep up with all that is happening in the world around us. If you or I felt so inclined we could quite simply type in a recent world event, or look up how to do a math problem, or google the various opinions on the meaning of life. Sometimes though, that information and the horde of opinions we see can be misleading, because whether we want to believe it or not, those opinions do have the power to influence ours. This article is about feminism, and the more negative side people, but women especially, get from the word because of how it is perceived by some in the media.
From the ever trusty google I looked up the exact definition of feminism, just so we’re all on the same page; just so we all understand that feminism is a good thing, an empowering thing. This definition of a feminist is this: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equalities of the sexes. Doesn’t that definition sound like a good thing? That ideal and deserved equality that women have been working centuries to achieve. What is so wrong with advocating for the feminist cause and working towards the cause of complete equality in every aspect within society?
So we know what it means to be a feminist, or at least what it means to be a feminist in the words of google’s definition. The issue though is not with the definition itself but with the sometimes negative connotation behind this f-word. Unfortunately to some, accepting the feminist title is unappealing. Celebrities like Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, and the likes of Demi Moore and Madonna, all have said they weren’t feminists. These women are powerfully influential and, to me, it seems as though they are disregarding feminism and the entire motive behind it. They are disregarding all of their influence on women in getting them to want to accept this title, and to want to change the fact that, for example, women are still paid less than men in many of the same jobs, and that in many countries women truly are perceived as second class citizens.
These female celebrities saying they aren’t feminists doesn’t make much sense in my eyes, and their reasoning isn’t any better.Some perceived the term as implying female domination. Others want to only call themselves humanists, many said the word feminist was too harsh. I don’t see the word as harsh, but it’s true that it does hold a magnitude of representation and meaning and it should be worn with pride and determination.
These famous women that other people and other women idolize have the right, of course, to say what they want and to believe what they want. But when so many people are influenced by them and adore them on such a high level their words really do have an effect, whether positive or not.
The point is this: female celebrities I think some of you are great, but I think you’re missing the real meaning behind the word, the real intended meaning. I think many people are. Being a feminist, and calling yourself a feminist is not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that you want the eradication of all men on earth and that you hate them with an intense passion, or something ridiculous like that. Being a feminist is about advocating for equality for all, and there is nothing wrong with that. So women and men don’t be afraid, like some of your celebrity idols mentioned, to accept that feminist title and the goodness and purpose behind it.
This article originally appeared in The Wildcat Tribune. To see more of the amazing work being produced by students at Dougherty Valley High School, check out http://thewildcattribune.com