In the first part of my series about Christ-Minded Feminism, I spoke about what feminism really means, and why it’s important for Christians to think more in depth about this topic.
To gain insight from other students about what feminism means in their lives, I asked four students – both male and female – a simple question: what is your perception of feminism?
The first answer I received brought joy to my heart. I was glad to hear that the following student recognized the difference between what feminism actually means, versus the negative stereotype of the movement that many people tend to have.
“I think that there is stigmatized feminism, and then there’s true feminism. Stigmatized feminism is the uninformed notion that women are unnecessarily trying to trump men and strive for equality in disrespectful ways. True feminism, however, is founded in an understanding that humanity is beautiful, and all should be respected and treated equally. That’s why it encompasses a push for equal rights: it’s a respect for self and a respect for others.” – Rachel Sutton, Senior
This answer made me feel optimistic about what other students might say regarding this topic.
As a refresher, let’s revisit the dictionary definition of feminism from my first article: “Feminism is the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” This means that anyone who believes that men and women should be equal is automatically a feminist, whether they like it or not.
Feminism is definitely still needed in the world today. We absolutely need feminism in America when we talk about the misrepresentation of women in our media and in regard to unequal pay, but we especially need feminism in other parts of the world.
The Malala Fund is a great example of feminism in action around the world. Until we live in a place where girls such as Malala do not have to be worried about being shot in the head for attending school, then we definitely still need feminism.
A male student that I spoke with has made it clear that he fully grasps and embraces the benefits of feminism:
“Feminism is a movement that stresses the equality of every individual based not just on gender but on every division, gender being the main focus though. It advocates the equality of men and women and changing the perceptions of masculinity and femininity in a way that helps not just women, but men also. Especially men that do not subscribe to traditional notions of masculinity.” – Jeremy Jensen, Senior
Another answer I received tied into the upcoming presidential election quite well:
“My perception of feminism has changed over the past few months. I am intrigued by the presidential race right now with two women who are running in hopes to be President of the United States. By watching Carly and Hillary, I have come to realize the importance of not seeing people in regards to their gender. We need to move in a direction where, in society, being male or female has no impact on how a person lives their life.” – Elizabeth Gallo, Senior
Finally, this short and sweet answer is the paradigm shift I’m hoping will occur in many Messiah students as I work through this series about feminism:
“I used to think of feminism as being negative or really extreme. Then I took rhetorical theory and learned that feminism simply refers to equal treatment and rights for men and women. So with that definition, I definitely support it!” – Emily Carter, Senior
Be on the lookout for Christ-Minded Feminism Pt. 3 in the next few weeks! The author is also welcome to feedback on Twitter @JenMorgan94 if you have a quote or comment to share.
This article has been updated on November 5, 2015.