By definition, a person who believes in the fundamental equality between the sexes, with a focus upon women's issues such as equal pay or stereotyping.

However, those who call themselves feminists rarely abide by the dictionary term. A more appropriate term for the feminist of today is female chauvinist, one who believes the female sex is naturally superior to the male sex.

Those that call themselves feminist typically subscribe to second-wave feminism, which evolved in the 1970s from the earlier, first-wave feminism. Whereas first-wave feminism sought legislation that would grant equal protection under the law, second-wave feminism sought an overthrow of what they called "patriarchy," which included traditional families and capitalism.

Contrary to many feminist claims, feminism is not a belief that is exclusive to women. Some feminists object to men referring to themselves as feminist, and use the term "pro-feminist" instead. A man who believes in equal protection under the law can be classified as feminist by definition.

Feminists and feminist organizations tend to campaign for issues they percieve as important to women, such as abortion rights (most feminists are pro-choice), domestic violence, LGBT rights, and similar issues. Feminism is often criticized for a unilateral approach to their issues, focusing only on increasing the rights of women, even to the point of denying the rights of men, underscoring the importance of those issues in relation to men (such as Dr. Laura stating that men had more to fear from violence then women, as they were attacked more often, and being subsequently villified by feminists.)

Feminism has garnered much criticism for it's methods and statistics, and has been accused of violating it's own edicts. Among parents, mothers are more likely to murder their children then their fathers according to the FBI, yet feminist organizations push that single-parenthood, with maternal custody, is in the best interests of the child. Alternatively, feminist organizations equate any time a rape or domestic violence (female) victim is required to present evidence to prove her claims as "blaming the victim." Feminist organizations want to apply the precautionary principle, accepting the allegation at face value to "protect the victim." Critics counter by stating victims can provide evidence to the courts, and that precautionary principles without checks and balances allow women to exploit the legal system for profit.

Backlash further against feminism can also be found in statements that are misandrist, or hatred of males. Valerie Solonas is one of the most popular, having written a book about killing men. Mary Daly, a theologian who was fired for refusing to admit a male student who was otherwise qualified for her class, also advocated creating a "male-free" paradise. Other misandrists include Robin Morgan, Andrea Dworkin, Gloria Allred, and Catherine MacKinnon.
The family down the street believes in feminism. They believe special treatment that favors men or women is inherently sexist.

Major feminist organizations are not feminists. They believe in gaining special treatments for women and depriving those rights of men. To justify this, they usually use vague statments such as "ignorance of male privlege."
by Matt444333 November 02, 2006
A belief that women deserve to be treated on an equal par with men. It also denounces sexism as derogatory and offensive.
Feminism is not dead
by Subcultural Girl September 05, 2003
an idea that involves the fair and equal treatment of people, regardless of their gender. A feminist believes that while women are physically different from and think differently about some things than men, this does not make either superior or inferior, it just means that they are different and should not be used as a basis for preferential treatment either way. Supporters of equal treatment for both genders are called feminists, whether or not they themselves are female.
Note: some feminists, often referred to as feminazis, have given feminism a bad name by claiming that men are evil and that oppression lurks everywhere. This is unfortunate, as real feminism is about gender equality.
Feminism means that women are not *better* than men, just different from them, and should not be treated any better or worse than men for it.
by Child Hatter May 27, 2003
A umbrella term used to define a huge range of idea's around women's rights. The belief that misogyny (the hatred of women) is wrong.
If you look at the other definitions of this word that are written by misogynists, you may see why feminism is so important.
by reprieve11 April 17, 2010
A political movement, the goal of which is EQUAL rights for men and women. Many people view feminism as a negative movement. There are many branches of feminism such as Eco-Feminism, Womanism, Liberal and Radical Feminism. Feminists are more than just bra burning man haters. They are anyone who believes in equal rights for women and men!
"I support feminism because I believe woman are just as capable as men."
by blubebe0800 February 03, 2010
A movement to promote equality and fight oppression. That it does so at the expense of male power and privilege is a result of patriarchy, not feminism.
Feminism allows you to look at the world in a new light.
by Hellonhairylegs December 29, 2008
The belief that women and men are equal, and the movement that has arisen to support that idea. Feminism can generally be divided into three periods in the United States:
First Wave- 1800's-1920's. The passage of the 19th Ammendment is commonly seen as the culminating event of this phase.
Second Wave- 1950's-1980's.This is often seen as the high point of the Women's Movement in the US. The failure of the Equal Rights Ammendment's passage is seen as the endpoint of this period.
Third Wave- 1990's-present. Often seen as a more theoretically-driven phase, sometimes incorrectly referred to as post-feminism.
Thanks to feminism, women now have the right to vote, the right to control their own property and bodies, and the right to support themselves by working outside the home.
by Neko-Onna June 12, 2008
1. The radical idea that women are people.

2. A social movement created by those who believe that women are people.

3. Something a women is accused of believing in if she does or says anything that implies she believes she is a person.

(Often incorrectly mistaken with misandry and lesbianism)
1) Someone who does not agree with feminism by default agrees with sexism. (Denying gender equality is the same as saying one or the other gender is superior.)

2) Historians have identified three distinct waves of Feminism.

3) See almost every other definition of feminism or feminist listed here.

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