Debunking feminist myths

By Jennifer Meyer

Not surprisingly, my feminist views are often misunderstood. A large number of people have negative views of feminists.

We are often assumed to be man haters, homosexuals and, my favorite, femme-nazis. Many times people think all feminists refuse to shave their armpits and only listen to women folk singers.

As a Women’s Studies minor, I often find myself explaining misconceptions of feminism to others.

Many people have asked me if classes revolve around male bashing and if one has to be a lesbian to minor in Women’s Studies. The answer to both those questions is no.

Many people mistake feminists as wanting to break down the family structure and burn bras.

It is disheartening to hear others, especially women, form negative opinions of feminists based on what society tells them.

Feminists are trying to improve the status of women throughout the world, and it is very hard to do that without the support of other women.

With the negative stigma society has placed on feminists in the past, it has been hard for feminists to overcome stereotypes and, in some cases, to be taken seriously.

Many believe that feminism no longer exists or that women are awarded the same opportunities and equality as men.

If this were so, women would not be making 75 cents to every dollar that a man made.

There would be more women in higher political and business positions as well as women being recognized on the front lines of combat.

Feminists today are concentrating on these issues as well as women’s health care and equal marriage rights.

Feminism around the world is alive and kicking, even at NIU.

To help clear up any misconceptions about feminism you may have, it might be a good idea to see first hand what feminists do and believe.

There are many organizations on campus that are devoted to feminism.

Both men and women can get involved in feminist organizations and events.

Without feminist activists on college campuses, many campus organizations would most likely not exist.

Another organization on campus that focuses on feminist issues is the NIU Women’s Alliance.

The Women’s Alliance dedicates themselves to improving the status of women through action and education.

They welcome both male and female members who are willing to help raise awareness about violence against women, sex discrimination, gender stereotyping and invisibility of women leaders in our society.

The Women’s Alliance is responsible for organizing events on campus, such as the Take Back the Night March and productions of the Vagina Monologues.

To become involved with the Women’s Alliance, you can check out their Web site at to find out meeting dates and times.

Not only can students at NIU participate in feminist organizations on campus, they can also make feminism part of their academic curriculum.

The Women’s Studies program is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the minor is open to any student, including men.

It is true that classes are largely made up of female students, but there are a fair number of males who enroll and participate as well.

Female students and teachers do not try to scare men out of the classroom.

In fact, it is often nice to see that there is a population of male students who are interested in feminist issues and they are always welcome in women studies classrooms.

There are even classes offered that can count towards general education credit!

Before making any preconceived judgments about feminism, please take the time to talk to feminists around you.

Most likely, you will find that they are regular people with different political views than you may have.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.