This is only what I have learnt from what I have read and some of my opinions. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
For the past week, I have been researching feminism madly. I have been reading about its history, how it isn't fighting against men but the patriarchy that that the society has been upholding for ages immemorial. The fact is, the three phases of feminism (or waves) that have been seen all stand for different things. The first one was the suffragette movement. which was the fight for the voting rights for women. The second wave stood for the social equality for women and men alike. The third wave, which all of us are living through, is much more complex than the previous two, ( As i understand, and please correct me if I'm wrong!) because it doesn't only deal with cisgender straight females but also talks about rights for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgenders.
Moreover, from what I have learnt, is that feminism is a movement to create equal social, political and reproductive rights for all. And the reason this movement is called feminism and not "humanism" or "equal-ism" is because of the continued disenfranchisement of women, throughout history.
Recently, many men have openly proclaimed that they are feminists. These men who include famous people like Farhan Akhtar, Daniel Radcliffe, David Schwimmer and John Legend to name a few, have spoken out on how feminism doesn't only concern women. Some have said that the patriarchy holds not only women but also men in its suffocating closed fist.
It tells women that they have to be submissive, law-abiding, and shows them how to dress and look. Girls are called sluts if they wear clothes that seem to 'provoke' men and 'encourage their staring'. They are told that 'men will be men'. They are cat-called, sexually harassed and at the end of it, it becomes THEIR FAULT.
Men on the other hand, have to face patriarchy on a whole other level. They have to look in control, powerful and have to be tall and muscular. If a boy likes pink, it is seen as an awful crime. If a boy shows even a hint of being feminine, they are called gay or f*g. It doesn't end there. Boys are taught not to cry by the very adults who should be teaching them to be themselves. If a boy is in touch with his emotional self, he is told to 'man up!'
I feel as though I must take a stand on this, because I feel that it is thoroughly unacceptable to be part of a society that stifles everyone's individuality. That wants to segregate people based on their sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity and race. I simply refuse to be a part of a society that tries to typecast everyone based on their sex assigned at birth.
And what appalls me the most is that there are many boys in my class who think that feminism is only for girls, or think that feminism is anti-men, because many have proven time and again that it isn't. It is a fight against the patriarchy, for the liberation of all, regardless of whether they are men or women or transgender; whether they are lesbian gay or bisexual.
I strongly believe that it isn't for us to judge, or to discriminate. You can't label colors to genders; you cannot create beauty standards; you can't tell people what they can or cannot like. A person chooses who they want to be.
It is our responsibility as people to make a change. Everyone has something to do. People with influence, for instance should use their power as catalysts for change. Musicians should use their music to promote individuality and not age-old 'values' to dress up for their men. Directors should use their movies as a platform for social change. Parents should tell their children that everyone is the same: human, and how individuality is the best thing in life.