“Who runs the world? Girls!” A phrase iconically celebrated by the queen of the “beehive” herself, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter. However, with every form of expression comes multiple forms of interpretation. While I perceived the phrase to be a lyrical proclamation towards celebrating the undermined strength that comes with being a female, many men viewed it as an exclamation of female superiority, masculine demonization, total criticism and complete dethronement of male authority, as well as an underlying threat to their societal standards. These are some of the many common misconceptions that come with feminist lyrics, but a segway to the modern day view of feminism principles and goals. What many fail to recognize, however, is that this perception – as well as those who abide by these beliefs – reflects the ideals of misandry and not feminism.
According to Google, the definition of misandry is the “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men (i.e., the male sex),” while the definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes”. One underlying segregation between the two terms is how misandry reflects a superiority complex towards men while feminism aims to aid the patriarchal pressures set on women by fighting for equality.
The Role of Feminist Movement Today
But how does one act out the ideals of the feminist theory and effectively fight feminist problems today without resorting to misandry, especially with the modern-day perception that equates outspoken feminists to misandrists – or the slang term “feminazis”?
Well, for one thing, one shouldn’t denounce a certain gender or sex due to the privileges or inequalities they face. Rather, one should fight for the injustices and issues that segregate the capabilities of one sex, gender, race, ethnicity, and other forms of demographics from rising to the same standards as another. Being a feminist today means advocating for freedom of expression without condoning hatred. Being a feminist today means speaking out against the violence and prosecution aimed at Muslims as well as religious believers in communist China, without condemning the Chinese residents for the deeds of their government. Being a feminist today means showing resilience against discrimination towards any racial identity or social movements. It means plastering several posts on social media regarding the names of individuals who lost their lives from police brutality (such as Walter L. Scott, Akai Gurley, and Laquan McDonald), and the names of individuals who died in the line of fire for just being police officers (such as Noel Ramirez, Taylor Lindsey, and David Sherrard). Being a feminist today means standing up for those who have been victimized, while also allowing them to be able to tell their truth. Being a feminist today means protesting the declaration of a woman’s choice of underwear as evidence in Ireland’s infamous thong case, and refusing that consent be made under any means besides verbal or physical expression. Being a feminist today means standing up for everyone, particularly to create a voice for those who are voiceless.
Being a feminist today means being an advocate. Not once will it be easy. In fact, many may feel that it’s more acceptable to do nothing, or rather to join the discriminating and hateful crowd due to whatever societal privilege and superiority they may hold. But one thing about feminists is that they will never seek the easy way out until the societal injustices have rendered all our brothers and sisters of the world truly equal. They will continue to celebrate such achievements as the passing of the 15th and 19th amendments, the legalization of abortion in conservative Ireland, bills that insinuate the necessities of prison reform, the legalization of Saudi women to drive, and many more. Being a feminist today is bringing hope for tomorrow.