A burning question one may ask about the feminist movement is whether it’s really about equality, or about obtaining a social, economic, and political status higher than men.
In simple terms, one can differentiate simply by looking at the definition of feminism, “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” By evaluating this definition to the finite degree, it is clear to see “women” is not even mentioned but “sexes.”
“Feminazi” on the other hand, was coined by the right wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh (ironically in the news recently for misogynist statements) and used in pejorative sense to paint the feminist movement as extremist.
From personal experience, working closely with the feminist majority foundation and the feminist majority on campus, I can tell you this characterization is completely false.
When women only represent 17 % of the senate and 15 % of the house (while men make up 85% of the house and 83 % of the senate) it is clear to see they are still not equally represented. As feminists, we realize inequality anywhere will harm equality everywhere. Therefore, the goal of a true feminist is to bring equality to every being (no matter what their sex, race or class).
On the other hand, it is true there are militant feminist or “feminazis” (just as there are extreme sects in religious practices or people who may scam the welfare system), but these sects only make up a small percentage of the groups they supposedly represent.
Even the radicalized feminist fights for the justifiable goals of “social, cultural and personal revolution and the overthrowing of patriarchy.”
In this sense, fighting for the overthrow of patriarchy would denote fighting for equal rights as proved by the dictionary definition of patriarchy: “social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly — control by men of a disproportionately large share of power.”
There are cases where women may want the opposite of a patriarchy (a matriarchy), which is rarely the case.
A mission statement from the feminist majority (a nationwide organization working for women’s equality from the streets to legislature) that states “the purpose of the feminist majority is to promote equality for women and men,” would show the more organized/ nationwide groups of feminist simply want equality for all human beings.
The basic belief of most feminists is that gender roles should not be assigned to one’s sexual characteristics.
Beyond the political dilemmas of deciding which candidate denotes the title “champion of women” or the common PR campaign of candidates, feminism is about basic human rights, liberty and progression for women.
The fact is it is impossible to ignore the public and private oppression women have faced due to their biological uniqueness or physical characteristics.
A concise feminist would tell you that these discrimination’s are no different than the discrimination’s people have faced due to skin color or class. Therefore, a real feminist would not want to become a oppressor themselves (as the “feminazi” stereotype states, the overtaking of men in the social and economic realm).
A genuine feminist would invariably add that lower white class males also could face the same system of oppression women face, economically. Therefore, feminist identify with large groups of men in our population and are calling for unity of all the intimately oppressed.
When you have a panel of men denying women access to birth control coverage and voting to give corporations the solitude to deny access to birth control, you have an issue of inequality.
When according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “women earn a median weekly salary that is about 80 percent of the pay for men”, you have an issue of inequality.
When you have the Arizona legislature approving a bill that would “ban abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy” and “require the state to create a website with pictures of a fetus at multiple stages of development”, you have an issue of inequality.
Quoting from poet Nancy R. Smith, feminist simply believe “For every girl who takes a step towards her liberation, there is a boy who finds the way to freedom a little easier”.