Recently I read that “fewer than one in five young women would call themselves a feminist”.
No doubt the figure would be even lower for young men. That saddens me. So here is my brief response:
This is because the stigma of the word, much like the act of trying to stand up for a minority, a cause, or a belief, still exists.
People are more concerned with villifying the use of Feminism as a title than they are with the continual sexual exploitation, mental degradation and character shaming that creates the need for it. That’s one of the biggest issues with its perception.
I can say I am a male feminist because I support the belief that we should be equal and that feminity is the crucial word within the cause. It is the acceptance and encouragement of feminity within men. It is the acceptance and encouragement for women to denounce their need to be feminine. It is the acceptance and encouragement for women to feel free as much as men. It is the acceptance and encouragement that women should feel safe at all times. It is the acceptance and encouragement that as the years change, so to should our morals and societal norms.
What it is not is man-hating. That is the stigma behind the title and the reason so many people are afraid to proudly announce their attachment to it.
Egalitarianism is brilliant, but too broad. Things must be tackled within sections to create real change. Feminism is a category of egalitarianism that honours the history of the suffragettes and of everyone that fought for what was even worse before. It is a category that stands for everything female and feminine.
It does not set out to endanger or demonise the entire male race. It empowers the women, and the men, and it asks both to do better.