By Emily Westerfield 

I find it unsettling that some women are still refusing to identify as feminists, citing instances of “extremism” as reasons to deny the validity of the feminist movement.These women are either severely misinformed or are deliberately choosing to ignore the most basic definition of feminism. It’s not about the misconceptions that often surround it.

Feminism is simply the effort toward achieving social, economic and political equality between men and women.

The feminist movement does not condone disrespect toward men. Just because some women, and certainly even some self-proclaimed feminists, are disrespectful (just as some men are disrespectful), it does not mean that it is an aspect of the actual meaning of being a feminist. Stating that new-wave feminism is encouraging women to display disrespect toward men is a ludicrous generalization.

It’s unfortunate that women are straying away from the notion of calling themselves feminists because they’re afraid of being associated with a man-hating group of individuals who go to outrageous extremes to manifest their beliefs in their actions.

This fear is not an acceptable reason to abandon the feminist movement and its aim of achieving justice for women.

Another common misconception about feminism is that it is made up of a group of overly emotional, exaggerating women activists.

First of all, women should be angry about the several disadvantages they face every day on the basis of being of the female sex.

The fact that women are paid about only 77 cents for every dollar that men make should raise concern.

The fact that about one in every five women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime should also raise concern, especially for women, as it is happening to them.

Although emotion can potentially cloud the communication of these kind of facts and statistics, it should not diminish feminist aims to close the wage gap and reduce sexual assault.

Other women have attained a distaste for the feminist movement because they simply do not see anything wrong with the established gender roles; that is, men being “manly” and women being “ladylike” to put it into broad terms.

I, along with most feminists, would like to suggest that, everything is wrong with these gender roles.

The social differentiation and categorization of males and females is the cause of inequality, which permeates all aspects of life.

Eventually, these seemingly harmless, yet destructive perceptions of women become actual barriers that prevent women from achieving goals that an otherwise equal male counterpart is able to achieve without having to face any such barriers.

Although there are certainly some women who are more successful than most men, those women had to overcome several disadvantages solely on the basis of being women.

It’s unfortunate that ignorance about the ongoing feminist movement still exists.

It can be incredibly disheartening when the term “feminist” is accompanied by a negative stigma based on actions that don’t exemplify feminist views.

Taking into account that feminism is essentially the striving toward fairness for women, which I should hope is common knowledge by now, it is incomprehensible that some women are still not choosing to be on their own side.