Opinion: Has feminism taken a turn for the worse?

By Lucy Mangan

Feminism. Image Credit: Americanoutlook.com
I am an advocate for an equal society, but just because I am a woman, this does not mean I am a feminist. Feminism began as what can only be described as a challenge for an equal
society, when women were not allowed to vote, own a property or even earn money.
These women’s liberation movements fought for a balance in democracy.
And women succeeded. From 1918 onwards, feminism thrived and grew, into the first and second movements, giving women a chance at something that they had never experienced. A vote, education and the right to work after marriage.
In countries other than our own and those of the Western world, women are still being treated like second class citizens and the need for an equal society could flourish through feminism. They are still in an era where feminism is really about equal rights.
Unfortunately here in Ireland and most developed countries, feminism has seen a shift, moving away from equal rights for all and towards the mindset that men’s rights do not exist, or are not as important as women’s rights.
I have seen countless tweets and Facebook posts about how we should rise up and kill all men or how men are the root of all our problems. When did this become part of feminism?
Do not get me wrong, the plight of women does not go unheard of in my life. Getting catcalled, harassed and having men think that they have a human right to be given attention, just because I am standing alone is normal to me. But when exactly did feminists forget that men face real problems too?
In a society where our mental health is one of our most valued possessions, it falls through the cracks, especially for men.
Nearly 300 more men died by suicide than women in Ireland in 2015, and the same kind of statistics can be found in the years before, because ‘men don’t cry’?
There is a stigma surrounding a man talking about his feelings or his mental health, just in case he seems ‘weak’ or ‘unmanly’. If this statistic alone is not enough to convince feminists that society disadvantages men too, then what is or what will ever be enough?
Feminism used its voice in the media to portray what they wanted. Where a movements voice in the media is its center point, it is what everyone hears and focuses on.
It used this to create the illusion that women are the only downtrodden gender. That men are the only culprits for crimes such as violence, domestic abuse and cat calling, creating feelings of mistrust and suspicion towards all men, even though it is a minority perpetrating these crimes.
What does this mean for society?
This bias in the media has indicated that some women are adopting a mindset that their husband need to help out more at home or doesn’t do any housework. Despite them working all day and being the only person who earns money in the home. How can this be equality?
The meaning behind the word feminism has been moulded and changed from equal rights for men and women, to women advocating solely for women’s rights.
Now women are abandoning feminism in their droves, leaving behind the extremists, who are screaming for blood instead of equality.
In a survey done in the UK, only seven per cent of women surveyed considered themselves feminists. However 74 per cent believed in gender equality.
We are using an old and outdated definition of feminism to fight for equal rights in a society where the meaning of equality has changed. We are no longer fighting a male dominated society where women have no rights.
Instead, we should be fighting together to make the world a more fair and just place. Rather than women solely campaigning for women’s rights or men campaigning solely for men’s rights. We need to campaign for equal rights for both sexes.
Feminism has advanced society, there is no doubt about that. But feminists need to realise that women are not always the victims.  Men face issues of their own, which may have been created by feminism in the first place.
There are plenty of examples of how feminism has actively fought men in their pursuit of equality. For example, feminism fighting paternal rights and feminism fighting educational changes to help boys. Whereas when questioned about what feminism has done for men’s rights, they have no answer.
Feminism was meant to be a battle for equal rights, but it is not. Equality is not a battle for just one gender, it is a battle for the human race as a whole.
I do not think I can ever call myself a feminist. I believe that society equally disadvantages both men and women.
If campaigning for women’s rights or men’s rights is what you are passionate about, then more power to you. I am just sick of hearing the word feminism.
Lucy Mangan