COMMENTARY: Do you think you are a feminist?

I’m going to ask you two questions. Well, they’re the same question but once at the start of this article and once again at the end, with one small alteration.

Are you a feminist?

Now don’t tell me that ‘that word’ does not bring images of suffragettes, hippie women and a lack of hair removal to mind, because that’s exactly what it used to bring to mind for me.

This debated term last year was brought to the front of our vocabulary by Emma Watson’s HeForShe speech and viral videos, such as one released by Upworthy this month.

Now, this video, along with others swirling around the internet, asks men three questions, including: What is a feminist? Are you a feminist? And, after men are told of the real meaning of feminism, they are asked again if they consider themselves a feminist.

A group of journalism students at my home university in Australia conducted the same experiment and the results were consistent with the Upworthy video.

Most guys firstly either could not define feminism or associated it, as I previously had, with suffrage, equal pay for women and other ‘female qualms.’

However, Emma Watson’s definition of feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities in regards to political, economic and social equality.

When these male students, were asked if they believed in feminism they were mostly unsure, but when they were asked if they were for gender equality they all agreed.

But what is the difference? Maybe it’s just the negative connotations associated with the word feminism that makes us unsure of our stance. I think it is up to everyone to change the association of feminism with gender equality rather than men-hating women with maxi skirts and dreadlocks.

So, once again, are you for gender equality?

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