The drastic difference between feminism and radical feminism


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Feminism represents much more than just extreme stereotypes.

Samantha Carrillo, Assistant Opinion Editor

I’m a feminist. I didn’t know it before because I wasn’t sure if I fit the description until I took my first sociology class at CSUSM.

My professor’s powerpoint presentation directed the class to raise their hands if anyone considered themselves a feminist. Only 3 people raised their hand and I wasn’t one of them. The next slide read: “A feminist is a person who wants equal rights for all people.” I was embarrassed.

I was embarrassed because I do believe in equal rights for all people, but I feared that my beliefs would make me look bad due to the negative connotations that come with being a feminist.

It was embarrassing that in a class of about 30 people, only 3 students were confident in identifying as a feminist, advocating for the minimum standard of equality for everyone.

Coming from an all-girls high school, I knew what sisterhood meant and experienced women supporting and positively influencing each other.

Of course, being a feminist in that environment was never perceived as a bad thing. But even then, there wasn’t much dialogue about what it meant to be a feminist and why it is important to be proud to be a feminist.

I figured feminism was a much less tangible belief system with much more complicated principals. But then I learned what real feminism aims for.

The way that feminism is perceived can quite often be exaggerated to the worst radical degree. People view feminism as a scary concept, but they are thinking of radical feminism involving plots against men and an extreme elevation of  women’s status in society.

Most of the time feminist are inaccurately labeled as men-hating lesbians who refuse to shave or women who want to take men down a peg. Anyone can be a feminist, you do not have to be a woman to want equal rights for everyone.

While there are also feminists with an anti-male agenda, such beliefs are actually in relation to radical feminism. Radical feminism  promotes resentment for men, sometimes women of color and transgender women. This is definitely not what real feminism is about.

Feminism involves the idea of equal treatment in all aspects of life between all sexes and refusing to be subordinate to those who demean them due to their sex.

True feminists don’t seek to bring others down, they want to see the world be a better and equal place. Feminists strive for equality, it’s that simple.

The world we live in has long seen women as objects rather than the talented and capable individuals that they are. It is time that we all acknowledge the beneficial impact that women and feminism can have if given the opportunity.

Don’t confuse feminists with radical feminists who punish men for being men. Listen to the feminists that want all men, women and other sexes to treat each other with equal respect and have an equal presence and rights in society.

It all starts with being mindful and respectful of those around you. Feminism is not a movement to rid all men from the earth, it is a movement for a better world.