It’s 2017, so I shouldn’t have to write an intro paragraph explaining why feminism is important. If you don’t know, I probably can’t help you. Feminism is incredibly important (duh), and we all need to make ourselves aware of injustices facing women around the world if we hope for a better one.

Feminism, fundamentally, means advocating for equality of the sexes. It means recognizing that despite how they’ve been viewed historically, women are just as capable as men at leading, teaching, changing, and building. We will never enjoy world peace if we don’t start treating women equally around the globe, and we’re missing out on a lot of progress by holding women back in so many societies.

Feminism is not about women being superior to men (though I mean… you know, sometimes we are.) It is not about valuing the opinions of women more than the opinions of men (though I mean… we did listen to men’s opinions way more for a really long time, so maybe it’s not the worst thing.) And it’s also not about “siding” with women in debates where they don’t have facts and evidence on their side just because the other voice is a man’s. That, I feel, is an insult to feminism, which does not require blanket acceptance of everything women say and do in order to matter monumentally.

Women are just as intelligent as men. They don’t need a “handicap” in order to debate, though calling out mansplaining can be appropriate at times. Feminism isn’t about making women immune to criticism, just as no man, including men of influence or power, should ever be above criticism.

When women cry “sexism” in a debate with a man purely because they are female and they think it will strengthen their argument, feminism is injured. When they throw feminism into the mix to try and score additional points in a discussion with a man that isn’t a feminist one, and where said man has exhibited no sexist behaviors or attitudes, feminism is injured. A man is not sexist because he doesn’t agree with a woman. He is sexist when he doesn’t listen to a woman because she is a woman. People are not sexist for agreeing with a man in a debate because they believe facts and evidence are on his side, not hers. Feminism matters too much for us to reduce it to automatic agreement with women whenever they have different opinions than men.

As a woman and a feminist, I never want my gender to be the reason someone backs down from a discussion with me, or the reason someone agrees with me in a debate. That’s an insult to my intelligence. Let me win on my own merits. If I’m debating a man and I’m wrong—tell me. Call me out. Don’t give me special treatment. Women are capable of being wrong, but more importantly, they’re capable of being right, and they don’t need to play the “woman card” to be such. Don’t let ego—the very thing that propped men up for way too long—ruin feminism.

Samantha Shelley
Samantha Shelley
Samantha is a freelance writer from England, known in the Mormon blogosphere for co-founding Millennial Mormons and Whatsoever is Good. She has guest blogged for LDS Living and Mormon Women Stand, and worked as a social media intern for Deseret Book. She hated writing all of that in this bio. You can Venmo her money for sandwiches using @Samantha-Shelley-1, and follow her on Twitter @TheSamspo for half-assed jokes and opinions.

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