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
simply put, the notion that men and women are equal. feminism does not call for hating men, in fact, it abhors it. it is a call for human equality, regardless of race, age, and especially gender.
"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute." ~Rebecca West
by maadge June 14, 2007
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
*Sigh* This is getting out of hand. Feminism is the idea that everyone is equal, plain and simple. Feminists are not 'ugly dykes' and are not 'the epitome of perfection'. Women who hate men are *not* feminists. Jeez, you all need to cool it.
Gloria Steinem was a feminist.
Virginia Woolfe was a feminist.
That chick at the bar who calls all men rapists was not a feminist.
by StykTheGreat July 04, 2004
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
1. The practice and/or idea that women and men are equal.
Mary shrugged off the stereotype of the man-hating feminist and embraced FEMINISM when she realized that it could potentially help her receive higher pay at work and aid her in countless other areas of her life.
by functionjunction June 11, 2008
Feminism is the movement of women that attempts to break down the barriers of gender inequality. It is thought to have began in the late 19th century with the womens campaign for the vote. It began to pick up steam in the again in the sixties with the arival of the pill but began to fizzle out in the 90s.
It is now largely regarded (particularly by ignorant skinheaded men) as obselete. "Ya vote, ya work, Wha' ya monin' 'bout ya freaky lesbo" is the general thought among this crowd.
True women can vote but that is hardly the surface of gender inequality. Women CAN work but are also expected to look after the kids and do the housework. Equal? I don't think so. Women are also statistically paid less for doing the same jobs as men and hold relatively few high powered jobs compared to men.
Sure women have made progress but there are still major inequalties in society that need to be solved.
"Why do I care?" I hear those of you who are male say. Well, you have mothers, sisters, wives etc. Wouldnt you be furious if they were disadvantaged because they were black or gay or disabled? Of course you would! So why is it ok for this to happen to your family because they are women?
You do not have to hate men or burn bras or be a lesbian to be a feminist. You just have to believe in equality.
Feminists (including men) kick ass!
Supporter of feminism: I demand equal pay for my sister!

Skinhead boss: I dont like bra burning lesbians.
by Boylio October 30, 2005
The radical notion that women are people too.
Feminism: the right to vote, work, study, own property, have freedom of movement, be free of sexual harassment - for ALL adults.
by A. Eron June 12, 2008

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