The words feminism and feminists have garnered such a negative connotation to many people, especially conservatives, and I have a hard time understanding why. Feminism is here to make the world a better place. Beyonce is a feminist and the definition of feminism given in her song Flawless is what feminism is about.
Feminist: A person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.
It is such a misconception that feminists want women to be more powerful than men or that we are monsters out to get men. This simply isn't true. We do not want to take over the world, we simply want equality. You may say, "Oh, women can vote now. That is equality." but while that has been helpful gender inequality is still rampant.
In my favorite Ted talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave countless examples of the differences in treatment between men and women in her home country of Nigeria. Less and lesser economic opportunities, a heavy emphasis on getting married and having children and so on, but a critical point that I realized is that we in America have many of the same problems. Gender inequality does not only prosper in undeveloped third world countries, it exists here at home in the United States of America every single day.
The wage gap is a huge issue that we have today and surprisingly enough, the wage gap is more in jobs requiring more education and prestige. The people most affected by the wage gap are hard working doctors, surgeons and lawyers who not only do not receive the pay that they deserve but are not taken as seriously as their male counterparts. Right here, you may say, "Okaaaay, so what? If these ladies were that great they should just ask for a raise." and I thought that too. The only issue is that these ladies are indeed asking for wages -- they just are not getting them. Men are 25% more likely to get a raise than women are when they ask for one. It is absolutely absurd to me why this is still happening, but it is because of a deep seated bias against women in the workplace.
One of the most important aspects of feminism to me is that it is supportive of choice in women. I believe that I should be able to make my own choices about my own body as an adult and that the government should not stop me from doing so or giving men an unfair advantage. Currently, it is easier for many people to get insurance paid for Viagra than birth control. The issue here to me is that hormonal birth control is not solely used to protect a woman from getting pregnant, it is also used to help women with mood swings, cramps and other uncomfortable symptoms of menstruation. Viagra, on the other hand is just so that guys can have sex easier. I do not consider that a more important health issue because it is for pleasure and does not directly affect a man's health like a woman's period does. I definitely don't think it is bad thing that insurance covers medications like Viagra but I do believe it is bad that Viagra is being covered for some people and birth control is not.