Editorial: Women are more than their gender

Ask someone what the most pressing issue facing society today is and they will probably respond with a cause that has something to do with fostering equality for all.

Of the many possible answers, only one seems to have a less than positive image: feminism. Why is this? Likely, it’s because of a disconnect between what feminism means and what people think of when they hear “feminist.” Often, thanks to the internet, that is a near insane woman who thinks the entire male population has simultaneously done her wrong.

That image though, is not what feminism is about. In order to know what feminism is about, we need to clear up some misconceptions, the most major of which is the belief that men cannot be feminists. This is, quite frankly, just plain wrong.

Feminism, at its core, is about equality and equal representation. The idea that feminism is a “girls-only club” goes against the underlying principle of the cause. Any cause focusing on equality, regardless of who the cause is fighting for, should let everyone be welcomed supporters of said cause. It just makes sense.

On a related note, being a feminist does not mean that you are obligated to hate all men and that you want to see all that men hold dear burned to the ground. Feminism is not, in any way, about the destruction of men. Rather, it is about the empowerment of women; that is the idea driving the movement.

And something that must be clarified about that empowerment is how it’s gained. Women do not need to be given the empowerment, by anyone. Rather, it is already present within them, and simply needs to be “unlocked,” so to speak.

To make this idea more tangible, let us turn to television, specifically, Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” In “Buffy,” the title character has the power to fight and slay the various demons haunting our world. She is the one and only Slayer.

However, it is revealed in the final season of “Buffy” that all young girls across the globe have the potential to become a Slayer (they are aptly named Potentials). In the series finale, a powerful spell is cast that gives every one of the Potentials Buffy’s powers, creating a world full of Slayers.

Now, there probably won’t be a magic spell that comes along and instantly grants equality for all, but the idea behind the Potentials holds true.

Every girl, young woman and adult female on this earth holds within them the power the Potentials have: the power to make a name for themselves beyond “female,” to make themselves known, valued and respected based on their skills and abilities, goals and aspirations and everything else about them that makes them a person, not just their gender.

In short, feminism isn’t about women being better than men or reducing the male dominated society to rubble. Rather, it’s about turning that society into one that’s more gender fair, one that recognizes that women are not defined by  the “F” next to gender on their ID cards.