Feminism. The word strikes fear into the hearts of many but usually for very different reasons, depending upon whom you are talking to. Some men fear this term because the think it means a world where they are locked underground and used for breeding only. Other men fear it because they fear a world where women will compete just as often as themselves for positions of power in government or business. Some would find it shocking but some women fear this word too, because for them it conjures a world in which they would be required to be leaders whether they wanted to or not. These are mostly misconceptions, for one reason. Not many people are aware that there are three kinds of feminism and the fears above are associated with one. Ironically enough, it one of the more outdated and less popular forms of feminism.
That feeling in your gut is correct. This is the form of feminism that the majority of society pictures when considering feminism. This form of feminism is the one that believes our current system sets women up for failure and is too patriarchal to ever allow a woman to reach her full potential.Essentially a radical feminist believes that our best course of action is to overthrow the current system and start again with women at the helm.
This one is less intimidating, though some might question that statement as a prime example is Hillary Clinton, but bare with me here. This kind of feminist is one who is looking to be treated equally within the current system of power. They are the type that want equal pay and want to be able to hold any position the same as a man without question.
Marxist/ Cultural Feminist
I am less familiar with this kind of feminism so I am going to have The University of Alabama at Huntsville explain: Marxism recognizes that women are oppressed, and attributes the oppression to the capitalist/private property system. Thus they insist that the only way to end the oppression of women is to overthrow the capitalist system. Socialist feminism is the result of Marxism meeting radical feminism.
This is the kind of feminism many belong to and don’t even know it. Many twenty something women certainly fall into it. So what is it? These women seek to show the value in the types of fields women often work in such as nursing, child care and education. They want those fields to be recognized as socially and economically useful. These feminist are also the ones trying to rid the world of some of the double standards, such as it being a negative if a woman has slept with more than a few men. They are the ones who are pro birth control, and and pro experimentation for women. They think that there is nothing wrong with a woman having a sexual appetite like a man.
There are certainly more nuances than the ones I’ve explained above, but this should illuminate much of why the word feminism, or describing yourself as a feminist is not inherently a bad thing. It is not a statement of you being a radical anarchist like some seem to think. How do I know about all of this? Within my theater major we do serious coverage of this field because of the many feminist works that influence modern works.