"Gross oversimplification time! What did we get from first-wave feminism? The right to vote, among other things. What did we get from second-wave feminism? The right to have sex indiscriminately, among other things."Feminism tends to take one of two forms when depicted in the media: Angry, scary bra-burners and vague declarations of Girl Power. Of course, in reality, feminism is a much more complicated movement. A good comparison to feminism is a major religion like Christianity. They've both got one essential message, but there are many divisions and subgroups with different views on how to interpret/act on on that message, and some of them don't get along so well. There are literally dozens of different factions within the feminist movement, which split off of each other due to disagreements over everything from abortion rights to the pairing of feminism with racial/gay/whathaveyou rights movements to how big of a problem gender discrimination really is in the first place. There are pretty much only three concepts you can count on any mixed group of feminists agreeing on:
— The Nostalgia Chick
All feminists are women.Just as it's possible for straight people to be in favor of same-sex marriage, or for non-Jews to be against anti-Semitism, it is very much possible for men to identify as feminist. Some well-known men who identify as feminists or have expressed feminist ideals include Alan Alda, Joss Whedon, Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Hayao Miyazaki, Henrik Ibsen, John Stuart Mill, Linkara and most of his male colleagues, Frederick Douglass, and L. Frank Baum. Even Dr. Eggman has been described as a feminist in the Sonic Heroes instruction manual.
All feminists are lesbians.Lesbians have been an important part of the feminist movement pretty much from day one — prominent lesbian or bisexual feminists include Andrea Dworkin, Valerie Solanas, Simone de Beauvoir, Judith Butler, Julia Serano, Camille Paglia and Mary Daly. However, many feminists are straight women—in fact, it's likely that most are, if for no other reason that homosexuals are believed to make up only 10% of the population. There are also male feminists (straight, bisexual, gay and asexual), asexual feminists, transgender feminists, and feminists of any other sexuality and gender identity you can think of.
All feminists are hairy-legged, makeup-shunnin', boot-wearin' brutes.As much as feminists dislike the "women must be dainty and pretty" messages that society/media blast at them, for most, it's the must part that they object to. Some feminists choose to avoid or reject mainstream beauty ideals as a statement of protest, and there are even some who adhere to a Real Women Never Wear Dresses philosophy — but it's increasingly argued that valuing traditionally masculine behavior (like being unconcerned about looks) over traditionally feminine behavior (like wearing dresses and makeup) is ultimately pretty anti-feminist in itself. Most feminists just think men and women should be equally free to decide for themselves how much effort they care to put into their appearance.
Feminism was invented in the 1970s.Go back to any place and time where there has been widespread discrimination against women, and you will find feminism. (Or at least something that looks like feminism if you squint hard enough.) The word "feminism" dates back to 1895, and Christine de Pizan was writing feminist works as far back as the early 15th century. If you believe that men can be feminists and that one does not need to describe oneself as a feminist to be one, then the very first might well be Euripides, which would make feminism Older Than Feudalism. (On the other hand, some of his contemporaries called him misogynistic even by Ancient Greek standards.)
Feminists think men and women are 100% identical.Most feminists would agree that there are slight, overall differences between the sexes. While sentiments like "men on average have two thirds (or 60 to 100%) greater muscular strength in the upper body" can lead to arguments if stated/interpreted wrongly, the majority of feminists would concede that, yes, males generally have females beat in raw strength. What really grinds a feminist's gears are suggestions that:
Feminists are frigid, hate sex, and want to stop anyone from enjoying porn or fanservice.Feminists have a problem with porn tropes that promote a degrading or hateful view of women (Loving Force, Not If They Enjoyed It Rationalization, Sex Slave, etc.), and with the ways the porn industry exploits a lot of the women who work for it. Some (again, this was a more popular position in the 1970's than it is today) do think porn inherently objectifies women and is therefore always misogynistic(though one wonders how that mindset applies to gay male pornography); other feminists, though, think what the world actually needs is better porn — porn that presents sex as something where both partners' desires are equally important (Gloria Steinem uses the terms "pornography" and "erotica" to differentiate between the two.) There's more of a consensus on fanservice: feminists are generally not against seeing sexy ladies in media, but don't like how often the ladies' Character Development is pushed aside in favor of looking at their, err, other developments. In any case, most feminists enjoy sex just fine, and those who don't are typically at least okay with the idea of it. There's even a whole faction of the movement, called Sex-Positive Feminism, that focuses on working to promote positive and empowering views of sexuality, and feminists who work in the sex industry who consider the work that they do to be empowering and advocate for feminism and the world at large to be more open-minded about sex work.
Feminists hate men, think women are better than men, and think women should have more power than men.Women who seriously blame men for everything are known to readers of this wiki as Straw Feminists and to mainstream feminists as "wrong". Most feminists don't think sexism is primarily something all individual men do to all individual women — the problem is patriarchy, the whole system of cultural ideas and institutions that function to oppress and control women. Culture is insidious: women can, and frequently do, act in ways that support patriarchy; and men can and do fight it. The point of feminism (as much as such a vast and highly fragmented movement can be said to have a point) is to raise women to the level of rights/respect that men have had for centuries, not to drag men down to subhuman levels as some cosmic act of revenge.
Feminists think women are the only ones who are hurt by sexism, and don't care about men's problems.It's pretty uncontroversial in feminist circles to point out that patriarchy hurts men in plenty of ways. It's also not too controversial to argue that it hurts women more on the whole, but this can lead to Flame Wars, and most feminists would rather skip the question of "who's being oppressed worse" and just actually do something about it. A lot of feminists specifically focus on the ways men's oppression and women's oppression are linked — for instance, many argue that companies need to start granting paternity leave both so that fathers can have the chance to bond with their kids, and so that women aren't always assumed to be the ones who are automatically responsible for child care. One of the ways in which this stereotype has more recently reared its head on the Internet is when feminist blogs and websites have mocking rules against "what about teh menz?" discussions, where discussions about women's issues or problems are derailed by pointing out comparable ways in which men suffer. This can give the false impression that blogs with these rules don't care at all about men's issues. But it's simply that they don't want to talk about them where they're off-topic - and, in a larger sense, resent the idea that women's issues "aren't important" until they're made relevant to men as well.
Feminists burn bras.Back in The Sixties, there were some public demonstrations in which feminists threw bras, high heels, and other fashion-related items into trash cans to protest unrealistic standards of beauty. A newspaper headline compared these actions to men burning draft cards during The Vietnam War. The two ideas got jumbled together in the public consciousness, and the myth of bra-burning continues to this day.
Feminists are angry, bitter harpies.Most feminists will have certain Double Standards they especially loathe; however, they don't go around being cranky all the time, any more than atheists do. (Besides, don't we all have certain double standards we especially loathe? Fundamental attribution error at work again, ladies and gentlemen.)