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Feminism 101

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Andrea VicuniaAfter reading the title most people will stop reading thinking it’s an article on how women should rule the world, not shave, and ban men from earth. THERE IS A COMPLETE MISCONCEPTION OF WHAT FEMINISM IS.

This article is the result of something I read on facebook that burned several neurons in my brain; a girl proudly stating that she is a feminist because she doesn’t allow a man to tell her she’s pretty. Wait, what? That is not feminism. And the eventual comments that followed made me want to private message each of them stating how #%^&*@#$$% they were. Instead I started writing this. (I am impressed with my progress in anger management).

Why do these things happen? Lack of knowledge.

Using common logic we think of FEMINISM as the opposite of MACHISMO. Is it though? It is really difficult to establish a unique definition of what feminism is NOW, as it has gone through several movements, but this was the initial idea:

Feminism: a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.

Who wouldn’t call oneself a feminist after reading this?

Machismo: a strong sense of masculine pride with the supreme valuation of characteristics culturally associated with the masculine and a denigration of characteristics associated with the feminine.

Machismo has some negative attributes: “denigration of characteristics associated with the feminine” being one of them.  Feminism from it’s inception was full of positive attributes: equality, rights and opportunities. Commonly conceived as opposites, we can understand why feminism is taken like an attack platform against men. It has become a matter of MEN VS WOMEN, and it’s not.

This has to change, and it starts by being correct when speaking about the subject. As Emma Watson said in her impeccable UN Speech, don’t center on the word. Why don’t we use EQUALITY instead? The important part is we are ALL against SEXISM. We don’t want to be discriminated by our sex, men or women. We don’t have to protect ourselves from each other, this is what we have wrongly learned or is socially established.

Of course this requires a social transition, where patriarchy becomes obsolete. Where women are given equal power but where men are freed from all the responsibility and pressure of what being a ‘man’ is. No social reprimands. We can’t ask for change, reclaim independence, if we are not willing to liberate men from gender inequalities as them having to pay for dinner, a house, a car and a life. How is that fair? How is that making us independent?

Feminist movements and female pioneers who didn’t believe in the society they lived in, started making noise in the 18th century, but voting and education opportunities are privileges we have obtained not so long ago, that our mothers have fought for and suffered for. At least mine. That is why it makes me angry that the idea of feminism is blurred to absurd extremes.

This has led to the appearance of antifeminist groups, which include WOMEN AGAINST FEMINISM (which highly confuses me). Women refusing to have equal rights? Something has to be wrong here. There is a page where they share reasons why they don’t want to call themselves feminists:

‘I enjoy makeup’. We have to escape from the view of a feminist as a lesbian, with short hair and hair under her armpits. We live in a society where men shave their legs too. We can’t measure feminism by beauty routines, I like taking care of myself and wearing makeup and dresses, and I’m not less of a feminist for that.

‘I love my husband and he respects me.’ Now feminists can’t love? Once again, it’s not MEN VS WOMEN. You can have a boyfriend, lover, husband and be a feminist. BTW if he respects you, he is being one too. (Now we have a #WomenAgainstFeminism married to a feminist, ahhhh!)

After reading several Women Against Feminism pages, it only shows how much confusion over the term itself there is and how much fear to call oneself a feminist there is. Fear of social isolation, apparently. BTW if using the term “Feminist” is too aggressive for you, you can call yourself a PRO-Feminist, someone who is ok with what feminism stands for but not implying you are part of any feminist movement.

But most importantly, reading them makes me realize how we are missing what feminism is all about! It’s not about you only, you might have been as privileged as me, to be born in a family where I was treated equally to my brother. That has allowed me to respect him and to grow up with the person I admire most in the entire world, not fear him. Of course we fought as good siblings should do, but never over our sex. BUT so many people, men or women, are not in my position, or yours. They are being sold, discriminated, diminished, punished and those causes are the ones we have to unite for.

What can you as a Ms. In The Biz do to help? Treat each other equally, be careful and correct any sexist behavior you have, evaluate your position on the matter and even do some research.  You can always start with a clean slate on the matter. Or just have a talk about this with your people, younger individuals, so it’s not a taboo and instead we create a society where FEMINISM isn’t related to war but to unity.

Is there sexism in Entertainment? The statistics speak for themselves.  As the site Women Make Movies states ”in 2013 women accounted for only 16% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors.

Unfortunately, it is still surprising to see women direct blockbuster high-budget movies. In the acting arena, as The Hollywood Reporter states ‘The latest Screen Actors Guild figures reveal that an average of 62 percent of roles went to men versus 38 percent to women.’ In the theater world, roles for women are more often than not there to support a great lead male role, which has only been perpetuated in film and TV.

Let’s change this.  Let’s support and encourage directors that give women interesting lead roles like Woody Allen or Pedro Almodovar, and let’s encourage more women to take their careers into their own hands and use the feminist lens as a great catalyst for change in this industry!

Andrea Vicunia

About Andrea Vicunia

Andrea Vicunia is an actress from Spain known for her Series Regular role in Libres. She started her theatre career in 2009 at Checkov's Theatre, then at Triangulo Theatre, prestigious RESAD and culminating at Microteatro, performing her own script chosen over hundreds. But it was her heartbreaking performance in ´Libres that gave her National release and recognition. Libres has won several Awards including Best Series of the Year. In 2013, she won a Full Scholarship for TVI Actors Studio in Los Angeles. Her career abroad started as she arrived in Jason Cuadrado´s Devil May Call which had its Premiere at Paramount Studios. Andrea recently booked a Guest Star on TLC. Andrea Vicunia created the webseries 50 Shades of Girls´ featured on funnyordie.com. Andrea has directed and written 'Intrinsic' and has just participated in a WOMEN IN FILM panel.