Feminism. This word has gotten a bad rep over the past years. Here's a list that looks at the top myths about feminism, feminist women and feminist movement. I've often heard people say "Now, I'm not a feminist or anything, but I don't think any woman deserves to be raped". Wow, what an amazingly radical statement. I'm not a crazy liberal, but I think black people should be allowed to vote. I know, it's out there. Feminism is at it's core, a belief that women are people and should be treated equally to their male counterparts. And to their intersex counterparts, but maybe a list about cultural and social definitions of sex and gender is better saved for another time.Note: Defining how men and women determine equality will vary among various cultural groups, and how feminism is defined in a western industrialized country will likely differ from women's equality movements in "developing" countries.
Feminists Hate Sex
There's some who believe feminist women are just unattractive women who can't get laid, and thus take it out on men. Not true, first of all feminists don't hate men, feminism has nothing to do with hating men. Feminists do not hate sex, in fact one part of working towards equality between men and women is embracing the idea that women can and do enjoy sex, and not be labeled as s**ts, and that women can have open and healthy conversations about their sexuality.
Feminists wear combat boots and dont shave their arm pits
I believe in equal rights for women. And I believe in shaving my arm pits, you don't shave yours that's cool, but my silky smooth underarms don't make me any less of a believer in equality than you. Also if you are a dude that identifies as a feminist, this is a moot point. And I'd be slightly weirded out if you did shave your armpits. But if that's what you want to do, I will not judge.
Feminists exaggerate facts about violence against women
There are some who argue that feminists exaggerate facts about domestic violence and sexual assault to paint a grimmer picture of reality for women. That feminism is about portraying women as victims and men as predators. In reality, it is very difficult to get accurate data on these issues because they are so rarely reported, it is not practical to go off hospitalization data, or crime reports. But feminism is not about bashing men or falsely accusing men of sexual crimes. Here's a great post on the recent false rape accusations of four Hofstra University students: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2009/09/17/false-rape-accusations-and-rape-culture/
Only Women Can Be Feminists
If only women could be feminists, we'd have an even tougher battle ahead of us in terms of working towards equality. Feminism is the radical notion that women are people, and I would hope most men would agree with that statement. Men can be feminists, intersex people can be feminists, people questioning their sex and/or gender can be feminists, bears can be feminist...because bears don't see gender, they just see delicious human flesh.