I’m a feminist because I believe that women and men are equal.

I’m a feminist because I believe that male rape victims should receive the same support and awareness as their female counterparts.

I’m a feminist because I don’t believe in the slut shaming of women or the pressure exerted on men to “grow some balls”.

The dictionary definition of the term is this: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”. So why, why, has the term become a derogatory phrase used towards anyone advocating gender fairness?

It seems to me that the word has become associated with the idea of women’s rights overruling the rights of men-somehow being asserted above those of the opposite gender. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth-and those who do advocate female supremacy have misunderstood the cause they are fighting for. For many, the imagery of stern, man-hating women comes to mind-who, according to one man I recently had the misfortune of debating with, claimed “needed to be turned by him.”

The term equality doesn’t necessarily have to imply that two groups of people are the same: more accurately, simply acknowledging and appreciating both parties for their different characteristics and skill sets. Every heard the phrase “Men are from Mars, and women are from Venus”? This is not a concept that I have absolute, unquestioning faith in as I believe that gender and gender identity are a complex mix of genetics and social construct, and we are far too ill-informed to make such prolific assumptions about our fundamental differences.

Evidently, men and women do have recognisable dissimilarities. But regardless of our origins, both sexes live on planet Earth. It is therefore essential to complement and try to gain a deeper understanding of one another.

Women have periods and sometimes men don’t appreciate the difficulty of day to day life for those who menstruate, or lack sensitivity. Men are emasculated for showing emotion in public-and often other men, as well as women, humiliate them as a result.

If we are to progress any further as a race, this needs to end.

We are all emotional asylum seekers, and it is our duty to offer the opposite sex refuge from the hardships they face. Over 130 million women living in the world today have undergone Female Genital Mutilation, 24,000 of whom live in the UK. It is thought that male suicide rates are currently more than three times higher at 18.2 male deaths compared with 5.2 female deaths per 100,000 population.

This needs to change.

There is no battle of the sexes; we are all soldiers of the same army, and it’s about time the negative connotations of the word “feminist” were laid to rest.

However, I think that, ultimately, the most constructive and productive thing to do would be to completely eradicate the term. This may seem contradictory, but I fundamentally believe that the terms is flawed and outdated-the emphasis on “fem” suggests a bias, a air of superiority. Although the meaning must stay the same, we need to change our wording:
So, conclusively, I write this in the name of Gender Equality.