I can wear makeup, shave, love men, and still be a feminist 

By Nicole Penzkoferova, BA Creative Writing and Journalism 

Photo by Nicole Penzkoferova

Our society has always put people in boxes and gathered them into monotone groups. All gay guys have to play with dolls. All men have to be masculine and they can never express emotions. All girls are gentle and pretty and they don’t know anything about cars. Feminists are all lesbians with short hair, they don’t shave, don’t wear makeup, and they hate men. All that is absolutely ridiculous. Only very small-minded people would believe that large groups of people are all the same just because they share one trait.  

I’m pretty much a girl who conforms to most of the “rules” the patriarchy wants to bestow upon us. I do my makeup, I wear dresses, I shave, I don’t have short hair, and I’m heterosexual. I also believe that we should all have equal opportunities. Not just men and women, but everyone in the world. We all deserve the same rights. 

According to the Oxford dictionary, feminism is “The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” Therefore, for anyone to be a feminist, all they have to do is believe in equality. Mark Ruffalo, a white actor, considers himself a feminist. Beyoncé, a black singer and a woman who wears makeup, said in an interview on tour of her album that, “A feminist is someone who believes in equality.” Arielle Scarcella, a lesbian YouTuber who shaves has said that she’s a feminist. Emma Watson, another female who wears makeup, has been speaking up for feminism for years. The list of people who could be feminists is infinite, but there’s still so much stigma around it. 

According to a YouGov survey in 2018, only 34% of women said they considered themselves a feminist, while 8 out of 10 people said women and men should be treated equally. Even though the definitions of what feminism means are clear, people still see feminists as man-hating lesbians with lack of femininity. Sure, non-feminine lesbians can be feminists, but feminism at its core has never been about making women more powerful than men. Shailene Woodley, an American actress, has said that she loves men and wouldn’t want women to be in power over men. But that’s not what feminism is about at all. Some feminists might hate men for personal reasons, but if they want to take away all their power, they’re not actually feminists. This is the biggest issue around feminism, because even though a lot of us believe in the same thing, we get into an argument about the word instead of fighting for equality. 

Millions of women participated in the Women’s March in 2017 after Donald Trump’s Inauguration in the United States. The #MeToo movement spread across the globe extremely fast once the scandal of Harvey Weinstein came to the surface. There are more, and more feminist movements such as #EverydaySexism or the Time’s Up movement that a lot of famous actresses and actors are part of. The movement also created the #4percentchallenge this year, which is a challenge for actors to work with a female director in the next 18 months since only 4% of directors of the highest-grossing films in the past eleven years were women.  

We are making progress, so much has changed for the better in the past century. People are speaking up, we can make more choices, gender roles are starting to change as well, but we still have a lot of work to do. Instead of arguing so much about the word “feminism”, we should worry about tackling the patriarchy and giving everyone the same opportunities, same choices, and same amount of respect.