It is now quite a common view that feminists are evil men-like spinsters who fight for the supremacy of females. Karl (2017) notes that various messages posted via social networks indicate that feminism is now regarded as a negative concept. This view is supported by the fact that many people, including celebrities who are highly visible, do not want to identify themselves as feminists although their perspectives are within the scope of this movement.
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For instance, Emma Watson, in her UN speech, mentioned numerous postulates of feminism without using the word itself but utilizing metaphors instead (Batterson, 2016). Indeed, the word has a negative connotation in the modern world, and there are several reasons for this trend including historical, social, economic, political, and psychological.
One of the reasons why feminism is viewed negatively in the contemporary society is the fact that it has always had a negative connotation. Karl (2017) argues that feminists have been associated with negative images since the early 1920s. The stereotypes that were created in the highly patriarchal world persist these days and make many people reluctant or afraid of identifying themselves as feminists (Swirsky & Angelone, 2014).
Swirsky and Angelone (2014) also suggest that people’s reluctance to associate themselves with feminism is due to the dichotomous presentation of the movement. In the contemporary world, many groups use radical ways to achieve the goals they believe to be feminist (Karl, 2017). Some also think that feminism is outdated and unnecessary as females now have as many rights as they need. Education and personal experiences also affect the way the word is perceived (Swirsky & Angelone, 2015). Education, especially higher education, is a potent platform for raising people’s awareness of the actual meaning of the concept. Finally, personal experiences also shape people’s attitudes making many see feminists as aggressive fighters for something hardly understood.
At the same time, there are people who claim that there is no such a trend and feminism is viewed neutrally and regarded as what it is in reality. For example, Hoskin, Jenson, and Blair (2017) reported that the majority of the participants of their research did not have negative attitudes towards the word and the movement behind it. However, it is noteworthy that only 335 people took part in the research, so the data can hardly be regarded as generalizable.
Swirsky and Angelone (2014) state that only 20% of American females self-identify as feminists, which shows that only a small group of women want to associate themselves with the term. The outcry of the majority of social networks users is also illustrative as thousands of tweets and posts blame feminists of being constantly complaining evil masculine lesbians.
To sum up, it is essential to emphasize that feminism has, indeed, a negative connotation in this world. People’s negative views are associated with historical, political, social, economic, and personal factors. Celebrities who are often role models or the ones who create the momentum do not identify themselves with feminists or even try to avoid using the word in their speeches that are inherently feminist.
However, it is critical to accept the fact that the word is now perceived as something highly negative or dirty. These views make true feminist values and concepts less visible and relevant. It is time to draw people’s attention to the negative stereotypes existing in the society and make them aware of the exact feminist agendas. In this way, more people will not fear that they will be associated with feminism as a movement. The positive connotation can result in the increased activism and fruitful discussion of the existing issues.
Batterson, C. (2016). “Feminism” and feminism: A rhetorical criticism of Emma Watson’s address to the U.N. Quest: A Journal of Undergraduate Research, 5, 1-12. Web.
Hoskin, R. A., Jenson, K. E., & Blair, K. L. (2017). Is our feminism bullshit? The importance of intersectionality in adopting a feminist identity. Cogent Social Sciences, 3(1), 1-19. Web.
Karl, A. (2017). Actually, feminism is a dirty word. Huffington Post. Web.
Swirsky, J. M., & Angelone, D. J. (2014). Femi-Nazis and bra burning crazies: A qualitative evaluation of contemporary beliefs about feminism. Current Psychology, 33(3), 229-245. Web.
Swirsky, J. M., & Angelone, D. J. (2015). Equality, empowerment, and choice: What does feminism mean to contemporary women? Journal of Gender Studies, 25(4), 445-460. Web.