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  • Pranavi Hiremath

Pseudo Feminism and Why it’s Harmful.

Pranavi Hiremath explains the difference between Pseudo Feminism and Feminism. She asserts the importance of Feminism by giving a brief history and examining how misinformation can cause harm to it.

Solidarity by Alison Laing (Instagram: @alisonlaingart)

Image description: The artist adopts a simplistic technique with black ink that creates a loving form of three women embracing. Across their faces are longing gazes, slight smiles, and the impression of blushing cheeks. They embrace in front of the pink lettering of solidarity, emphasising their embrace as not only loving but equally supportive.

Social media and the internet have proven to be great places to exchange ideas and learn new things. The validity of the information being shared is often the responsibility of the informer. At the same time, as consumers, it is our responsibility to question the validity of the information being provided. While I have learned several things from social media, I have also learned that what I see is not always what others see. I consider myself to be a feminist and consequently, follow many feminism related accounts. But I never realised how much misinformation there exists on such an important subject. Misinformation is something now often embedded in our society and should be challenged; the extent and naivety of people and their opinion of feminism is staggering.

Feminism is equality of all sexes. Feminism is a series of social and political movements and philosophies aimed at identifying, developing, and achieving gender, political, cultural, personal, and social equality. This movement aims at combating gender stereotypes and establishing equal educational and professional opportunities. While on the other hand, any implication that suggests the superiority of sex or gender is Pseudo Feminism.

Pseudo Feminism causes harm to feminism. The voices that need to be heard are muted because of false assumptions and notions. It leads to people disregarding an important cause while not even understanding it completely. It also indulges in shaming, and to some extent, makes feminism synonymous with misandry. Many people over the years have helped us achieve the things that we have today. It is important to understand this before disregarding or labelling feminism something that it’s not.

The early traces of feminism come from as long as 24 centuries ago. From Plato arguing for the total political and sexual equality of women, then the 16th-century female writers who were successful in changing Italian Humanism by influencing people to see women as true intellectuals. The emergence of the word feminism itself was in the year 1837 in France and the Netherlands. As the term gained popularity, it led to four “waves”. The word “waves” is used to describe the history of the modern Western feminist movements that took place.

The first wave occurred in the 19th century and early-20th century. It resulted in acts being passed that mainly aimed at giving women equal political rights. In the UK and US, it focused on the promotion of equal contract, marriage, parenting, and property rights for women. Women’s suffrage led to women attaining the right to vote and standing for parliamentary office in Australia by 1902. Even the Chinese communist party created projects that aimed at including women in the workforce. The Iranian women’s movement achieved women’s equality in education, marriage, careers, and legal rights. Women in France also obtained the right to vote during this time.

The second wave began in the 1960s and aimed at achieving legal and social equality. There were campaigns to reform ‘family laws’ which gave husbands control over their wives. The second wave also intends to put an end to gender-based discrimination that persists. This wave is intertwined with the third. This wave focused on individualism, diversity, micro-politics and gave rise to the standpoint theory. According to this, a person’s social and cultural position influences their knowledge. Thus, they should be considered to understand how gender inequality interacts with racism, classism, and homophobia.

The fourth wave that began in 2012 is the most recent feminist movement. Social media was used by people to raise their voices against violence against women, sexual harassment, and rape culture. The infamous Me-Too movement is also associated with this wave.

The rich history and steady development of feminism have led us to where we are now. There is still a long way to go, and, in many ways, we have only started. The reason I chose to give a brief history of feminism was to educate people about the struggle that women had to go through. To fight for laws and rights that were otherwise easily available to others. Women not only had to but still have to, protect and fight for their legal, societal standing and control over their bodies. So, after understanding this, why would anyone want to look down upon such a cause? It’s because of Pseudo feminism. It instils a negative impression and perspective to feminism and only slows down the outcome we want to see.

In the end, it is important to understand that feminism at its core is the fight for equality of all sexes. The term has been misused for long enough to make people think that equality and feminism are not the same. But we can change that by educating ourselves and the ones around us.

Further reading:

History of feminism:

To know more about the harm caused by Pseudo Feminism:

How you can support feminism:

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