Feminism vs. Misandry
It's a very prevalent stereotype for feminists to be angry, bra-burning man-haters, but if you look at the actual definition of the word, a feminist is just someone (male or female) who wants equal rights between the genders. The focus is usually on women's rights, because, let's be honest, they tend to be the more obvious problems. (Men also have their problems, of course.)
The word that suits man-hatred is "misandrist." It's basically the flip-side of a misogynist.
So why are feminists, who are by definition not supposed to hate men, so often cast as misandrists?
If we go back to when the women's rights thing was really kicking off in this piece of the world, we would look at the United States in the 1800s. Things were ugly, not gonna lie. Women were fighting tooth and nail for basic things like voting rights (which we were not granted until the year 1920) and the right to say "no" to sex with your husband (which we were not granted in any of the 50 states until 1976).
To get down to the short and sweet of it, men felt that their privileges were being threatened, and many in this day still do. It's understandable. Something new was happening, and the world was changing in a big way. It continues to change for women piece-by-piece, as people are now focused on contraception availability and how women are portrayed in the media.
And so the "straw feminist" was born. A "strawman" is a tool used to make someone's argument sound insane. There are all types of strawmen in media, the most popular perhaps being straw liberals and straw conservatives. The role of the straw feminist is to provide a woman to blow out of proportion-- she doesn't want equal rights, she wants the only rights. She doesn't want to rule the world side-by-side with men, she wants women to be in charge completely. Sometimes, these caricatures will go so far as to say that all men should be killed or put into slavery.
Now, here's the definition of "feminism" again. You can see why this caricature doesn't make sense, can't you? These straw feminists are not feminists. They are misandrists.
Because of these caricatures, many women (and men, for that matter) will not self-identify as feminists. They believe in equal rights for the genders, they'll tell you, but they are not crazy bra-burning man-haters. I suggest dictionaries for these people.
If you'd like to hear a little more about the "straw feminist," this young lady makes the point better than I could ever hope to.
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