I feel that many people misunderstand, not necessarily by fault of their own, what feminism as a political movement stands for. Its aim — gender, racial and LGBT equality — should not be a controversial one.
Due to both media misrepresentation and personal political views, many people see feminism as a man-hating, pro-matriarchy and anger-driven movement. However, it is my understanding of feminism itself which drives me to disagree fundamentally with misandry and the prospect of a society which favours women politically, socially and economically. It is wrong however, to assume that the minority of people who are pro-matriarchy are also representative of all feminists. Any such belief — one that assumes any form of social inequality — is highly misrepresentative of the feminist agenda.
It shows ignorance to suggest that gender equality has been achieved. Inequality affects people of all genders on political, economic, social and psychological levels. The objectification of women in both the public and private, for example, undermines confidence and self-assurance. Judgement of women based on appearance rather than intelligence, intellectual capacity, strength and good-will is degrading and offensive.
The most under-discussed and yet such a vitally important element of feminism is its intersectionality. This means it is not just concerned specifically with gender inequality, but all societal inequalities which unfortunately exist. For example, feminism also fights for racial equality and sheds light on the ongoing issue of racism that continues to exist today. It highlights the ties between gender and race inequality, for example by showing not only that women earn less than men, but that black men earn less than white men, and black women earn less than white women. Clearly these issues have a close relationship.
Essentially, this article is looking to shed light on the real objectives of feminism, and to highlight its primary goal of tackling social inequalities. While of course there are disputes amongst feminist scholars regarding what constitutes female empowerment and how to go about achieving certain aims — with some women taking these ideas too far — the general understanding of feminism should see it as an entirely positive and empowering political movement, and one that needs to be more widely-endorsed.