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It started as a social media trend earlier this year, women were using the hashtag #WomenAgainstFeminism in order to set the record straight about their views on feminism and why they believe they no longer need it. You heard things like “I don’t need to hate and denounce men.” “I am an adult and can take care of myself.” “I don’t need something that makes playing a victim out to be empowering.”

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The problem is seen right away: these people are not talking about feminism, they are talking about a culture that has been created out of misconceptions and some extremists who may have twisted what feminism is along the way.

Before we get into this, let’s look at the definition of feminism, as it appears there may be a widespread misunderstanding of its true meaning. Feminism: is a range of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.

I wanted to add some thoughts to this as I think some people confuse exactly what feminism entails.

A Culture Misled

In our culture you hear all the time that people don’t like feminists or don’t like women who hate men because they are men, etc. But the reality is, in these cases we aren’t talking about feminism! Feminism is simply the movement of creating equality amongst all people no matter the gender.

When someone acts out and begins hating the opposite sex simply for their gender or when they begin aggressively attacking the opposite gender to get what they want, that is not feminism. That is, at the very least, someone being an a**hole. At worst, it’s outright sexism (because yes, sexism is a two-way street). Unfortunately, we have come to call this kind of abuse feminism simply because it involves a woman talking about or degrading men.

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Mark Ruffalo Had Some Words

In response to this internet trend, actor Mark Ruffalo offered some inspiring words on the issue. He touched on the true leaders and change makers who helped make our world a better place for both genders. Check out his response below.

“My response to the ‘I am not a feminist’ internet phenomenon: First of all, it’s clear you don’t know what feminism is. But I’m not going to explain it to you. You can Google it. To quote an old friend, ‘I’m not the feminist babysitter.’ But here is what I think you should know.

You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago.

You’re degrading every woman who has accessed a rape crisis centre, which wouldn’t exist without the feminist movement.

You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).

You’re spitting on the legacy of every woman who fought for women to be allowed to own property (1848). For the abolition of slavery and the rise of the labor union. For the right to divorce. For women to be allowed to have access to birth control (Comstock laws). For middle and upper class women to be allowed to work outside the home (poor women have always worked outside the home). To make domestic violence a crime in the US (it is very much legal in many parts of the world). To make workplace sexual harassment a crime.

In short, you know not what you speak of. You reap the rewards of these women’s sacrifices every day of your life. When you grin with your cutsey sign about how you’re not a feminist, you ignorantly spit on the sacred struggle of the past 200 years. You bite the hand that has fed you freedom, safety, and a voice.

In short, kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks.”

tumblr: Mark Ruffalo

Image Credit: Wikimedia

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