Understanding feminism

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As a tutor at the BYU Writing Center and a reader of The Universe, I see a lot of students coming in with concerns about the evils of feminism, the threat it poses to traditional families and its incompatibility with the gospel. I find these claims not only untrue but a sad misunderstanding of what feminism is and what it means to be a feminist.

A feminist is a person who believes that, regardless of what differences between our genders may exist, we should treat each other primarily as people, and not as men or women. Feminism isn’t about women. It’s about people.

For example, if you think that a person should be judged by the content of their character and not by their decisions, you are a feminist. If you think it’s OK when a person — male or female — chooses to be a homemaker, you are a feminist. If you think God created men and women equal, and that we should treat each other fairly, you are a feminist.

Now, if you think that a woman shouldn’t be allowed to work outside of the home, you are a sexist. Alternatively, if you think a woman has to work outside of the home or else she is an oppressed domestic slave, you are a sexist. If you think men are inferior idiots who will soon be swept away, even if you claim to be a feminist, you are a sexist. I am a male feminist, and I don’t think feminism is about destroying the traditional family. I think it’s about treating each other as loving brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the same God.

Benjamin Dearden
Belmont, Mass.

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