Lawson: Feminism takes new approach to reach path to equality

Frida Kahlo speaks Tuesday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. The Guerilla Girl spoke of the early treatments for womens hysteria, such as vaginal massages and electronic dildos. Photo: Gene Pavelko/Iowa State Daily

Gene Pavelko

“Frida Kahlo” speaks Tuesday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. The Guerilla Girl spoke of the early treatments for women’s “hysteria,” such as vaginal massages and electronic dildos. Photo: Gene Pavelko/Iowa State Daily

Angelica Lawson

A new era of feminism is upon us. Long live the empowering, inspirational and game-changing feminist. Past feminism supporters focused on getting women basic U.S. citizen rights, but the feminists of today are focused on getting social economic equality for women in a world that was created for men.

It’s important to define feminism for the naysayers of the movement who believe it’s an attempt to hold power over men. Feminism is defined by Merriam Webster as, “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes; organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” Feminism isn’t about hating men; it’s about loving women and wanting men, women and all other genders to be equal.

Numerous tools can be credited with the changes in feminism. One of those tools is social media. Social media allow people to share their views, opinions and experiences with a large audience and connect with others who share their thoughts. Social media can be greatly credited with the increase in support feminism has gained.

The power of the hashtag has added multiple elements to the feminist movement, including #yesallwomen, #askhermore and #notbuyingit. Each campaign signifies a different struggle. #yesallwomen provided women the opportunity to shout out everyday occurrences of sexism. #askhermore allowed women to shout out the belittling questions they are often asked, such as, “How are you going to do your makeup or hair in the car?” #notbuyingit was used popularly during the Super Bowl in reference to ads that featured sexism.

These are just three examples of how powerful a hashtag can be, and because social media is so easy to access, movements like these can take off, leaving the traditional method behind. 

YouTube gave us one of the most influential feminist supporters around today: YouTuber Laci Green, who focuses on social issues that affect women. She used social media to expand her platform and help her reach a diverse audience that may not have otherwise been exposed to the principles of feminism. She has also made appearances on TV and has worked more with mainstream media as a result of her activism.

Feminism should no longer bring up images of an epic, radical or angry women because men can also be feminists. Men are feminists if they believe both sexes should be equal and want to create a country where no pay gap exists and where women aren’t shunned for taking control and embracing their sexuality. They are feminists if they believe he for she and she for he is how it should always be.

Say hello to the new face of feminism. Feminism is not here to say you can’t. It’s here to say we can, we should and try to stop us. A lot still needs to be accomplished to establish equality among the sexes in the good ol’ US of A, but every day someone identifies as a feminist and doesn’t get a ”why do you hate men?” response is a day that shows how far we have truly come since the birth of this movement.

Explore what it means to be a feminist and what this theory is actually about instead of what the generalization has been. Keep in mind that some of the most influential people of the previous generation and of our generation are feminists or gender equality activists.

Famous people such as Coco Chanel, Barbra Walters, Madonna, Ellen Page and Angelina Jolie are all women who are fighting for women’s rights while not trying to steam roll men. They believe we are all people, and we should all have equal rights and be treated as equals in every circumstance. Explore beyond the stereotype because there is a whole lot of feminism out there and it’s just looking for an equal ground.