By Katie Dahl

By nature, I am not a very angry person. I don’t get pissed off, I don’t yell or scream. I don’t even feel the need to challenge people, even when I know they’re wrong. There are a few things however, that I will indeed speak out about.

One of these things is the madness surrounding the concept of feminism and what being a strong or independent woman is. Women should be free to express themselves in whatever way they feel comfortable and not be criticised for it.

People like Miley Cyrus have received a huge amount of flack lately for apparently setting back the feminist movement. But all she is doing growing up, learning to be comfortable with her body and not worrying about others opinions.

A lot of the issues surrounding the definition of feminism come from a lack of knowledge or education of the word. Anything that we don’t know much about is automatically seen as scary or wrong. People don’t like change, and especially don’t like things they don’t understand. With this mentality comes ignorance and therefore a resistance to open-mindedness.

There is such a misconception of what feminism is since women don’t even want to define themselves with the term shows that yes, we, have a problem. We can’t continue to put women down when they are taking risks that should be resulting in increased respect and equality.

The Oxford Canadian Dictionary defines feminism as: “the advocacy of equality of the sexes, esp. through the establishment of the political, social, and economic rights of women.” This demonstrates that feminism isn’t about hating men, or female-on-female hate; it’s about equal empowerment and not just equality. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Women and men alike shouldn’t be afraid of the word. Women shouldn’t be looked at as men-hating, non-shaving extremists and men shouldn’t be looked at as soft or weak.

Women should be able to be in relationships without losing their independence. They should be able to be CEO’s of major corporations without being an exception. On the other hand women should also be allowed to stay at home and raise a family without being looked down upon for it.

The truth of the matter is at the end of the day people need to agree on what feminism is before it can be defined and become a good word.

This change can only happen if people are willing to accept a new definition of the term, leaving behind the previously established stereotypes.

I’ve had enough of getting harsh looks when I defend my opinion or the way I dress, or for my respect for Miley Cyrus. It’s perfectly normal to have an opinion and I believe in a world in which anyone can call themselves a feminist and not get discredited for it.