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Anna Frazee
Dr. Parker
ENG 113
October 7, 2016
Is Feminism Only for Women?
When it comes to the topic of feminism, most of us will readily agree that feminism is
often a controversial subject. Where agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of what
feminism actually is. Feminism has been defined by many people in a variety of different ways.
Celia Buckman uses the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition; “the belief that men and women
should have equal rights and opportunities” (qtd. in Buckman). Patricia Hill Collins uses Pearl
Cleage’s definition that feminism is “the belief that women are full human beings and capable of
participation and leadership in the full range of human activities –intellectual, political, social,
sexual, spiritual, and economic” (qtd. in Collins 12). Zendaya is quoted by Emma Grey in
saying that “a feminist is a person who believes in the power of women just as much as they
believe in the power of anyone else. It’s equality, it’s fairness, and I think it’s a great thing to be a
part of.” Still another author, Roxane Gay, says her favorite definition comes from Su, an
Australian woman who, when interviewed for Kathy Bail’s 1996 anthology DIY feminism, said
feminists are “just women who don’t want to be treated like shit” (qtd. in Gay 303). In sum, these
women’s definitions reveal that feminism is divisive rather than unifying, which causes much
tension between the sexes and leads to stereotypical man hating feminists, which distracts from
what feminism should be. In sum, feminism is, for me, a movement in which men and women
seek to embrace each other’s differences and treat each other with respect, drawing upon each
other’s strengths for the benefit of all.

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When considering men as part of the feminist movement, I believe they should play a
role in the movement, because only through unity of the sexes can we have equality. Some
feminists may disagree with me, however, on the grounds that men cannot understand how
women feel and so they have no part in the fight to end oppression. But I would argue that
making men the enemy contributes to the problem and only divides us more, making it harder to
live and work with each other. Several male celebrities have proclaimed themselves as feminists
and this is accepted by most people, but there are those who think these men should simply take
the label of pro-feminist without taking the label for themselves thus, supporting the movement
without claiming to be a part of it. In my view if we are going to have mutual respect between
the sexes and have them working together for a common goal we should have a title to unite
them under whether it be feminist or some other title. What we tend to see is that those feminists
who are men haters are not truly interested in being treated like equals, although some may argue
that they are the only ones who are serious about securing the rights due them and willing to
declare war on men to obtain the rights that they believe are being denied them. Still I would
insist that that is not the solution. Rather we must embrace our differences, just as our society
attempts to embrace different cultures and encourages people to be unique; we must apply this
think in regard to men and women as individuals. Part of the reason some feminists oppose the
idea of men playing an active role in the feminist movement is because they believe men are the
sole cause of the problem. It is this kind of thinking that turns people away from the feminist
movement. Because some women do not want to become men haters. We as women need to lead
the movement and encourage others to use feminism to unite men in women drawing upon our
various strengths, in mutual respect and restore the belief in the inherent worth we have as
human beings.

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Works Cited
Buckman, Celia. “Defining Feminism: Tumblr, Bra-Burners and Beyoncé.” The Huffington Post., 24 Oct. 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2016
Collins, Patricia Hill. “WHAT’S IN A NAME? Womanism, Black Feminism, and Beyond. The
Black Scholar 26.1 (1996): 9-17.
Gay, Roxane. “Bad Feminist: Take One.” Bad Feminist: Essays. New York, Toronto, Sydney,
New Delhi, Auckland: Harper Perennial, 2014. 303-313. Print.
Grey, Emma. “Zendaya Has a Beautifully Simple Definition of Feminism.” The Huffington Post.
03 Nov. 2015. Web. 30 Sept. 2016