by Emily Hussey
Too often lately I have encountered people at Millsaps—shockingly, some are women— who proudly reject feminism. Their reasons are predictable and tired: “I believe in equality,” “I don’t hate men” or “I don’t want to burn my bra.”
I am a complete believer in everyone being entitled to his or her own opinion. However, just plain ignorance on a subject is not a sufficient excuse to reject an idea that has been fought for by many women (and men!) for decades. It is insulting to every feminist out there—those who believe in equality. Unfortunately, the word “feminist” is atrociously stigmatized.
Let me be clear: If you are a feminist, you believe in equality. That is all it means. Admittedly, there are radicals in every movement. There are those who do not shave and burn their bras to make a statement against the patriarchy. But if you consider why these women feel the need to make a statement, it is because society tells them that they have wear bras and shave to be “real women.” It is fighting what is expected inherently because of one’s biology. But if you cannot buy into that, know that the majority of feminists are the regular, everyday women and men. Stereotypes are rarely accurate depictions of people.
If you think women and men with the exact same qualifications in a job should receive the same pay, congratulations: You are a feminist. If you believe that men should not be inherently privileged simply because of their biology, you are a feminist. If you want women and men to be granted the same opportunities, you are a feminist. The list goes on and on.
It is sad that there are people who reject feminism simply because they are ignorant of what it stands for. The experiences I have had lately stands for a reminder that we must never cease in educating ourselves and questioning what we do not understand.