Opinion: The true meaning of Feminism


Sanjana Iyer is a sophomore fashion merchandising major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at [email protected].

Sanjana Iyer

I know a lot of women who claim to be very strongly feminist — almost to an aggressive degree. It is a very respectable thing to want to empower our gender and have access to equality in every aspect of life.

Here is what I have observed, though: many women who consider themselves feminists show a great deal of resistance toward the aspects of a person which are associated with the word feminine.

I follow a spiritual teacher named Teal Scott, who very descriptively touched on this topic and offered some very interesting perspectives.

Why do we consider feminine characteristics to be a sign of weakness? We say we are empowered women and we are feminists, yet we look down on so many things associated with women. We reject them and exclude them from our lives because we don’t want to be perceived as weak.

How can a person truly be called a feminist if they look down on so many feminine aspects of life? There are qualities associated with this gender that are just as powerful as masculine qualities but perceived as unimportant.

In today’s world, being feminine is not what makes money. What makes money is an embodiment of masculine traits such as action orientation and logical thinking. Even when hiring women for important positions in a work environment, employers look for these masculine traits in them.

Women are convinced that in order to survive in this patriarchal world, they need to embody masculine traits in order to prove their worthiness and value in society.

There’s no denying that women are constantly put into a position where they need to make a choice and prioritize between their home, family and career.

But if some of them choose to stay at home with their families and nurture their children simply because it gives them joy to do so, they are considered invaluable.

Going to work is considered of great value financially, yet the very feminine quality of nurturing your children and taking care of them is considered a lifestyle choice.

We watch action movies, and every time we see a woman who we perceive as physically strong and action oriented, we automatically and mentally place her in a position of power and respect. Yet when we watch “chick-flicks” or romantic comedies, we assume that emotional openness makes the same woman weak and unimportant.

Emotional openness and strength is a very feminine quality, which is just as powerful as being physically strong is for men.

If you really think about it, feminism is not just a word to describe the supporting of women’s empowerment but also empowering the qualities associated with womanhood.

Women should not have to act like men just to feel powerful — empower yourselves by accepting your feminine traits.