Isn't feminism just another way of saying gender equality?
Yes & no - it's far more complex than that. Feminism is an ideology, as well as a series of political and social movements, that share the common goal of defining and establishing political, economic, personal, and social rights for all women.
The movements defining feminism span numerous centuries, beginning in the mid 1800's and continuing into the present. They are represented by the women's suffrage movement, the reproductive rights movement, the equal pay movement, and many others.
In modern terms, feminism has evolved and expanded. The movement is broader, the messages are more visible, and more people are getting involved. So naturally, the definition has evolved and expanded its focus as well. More than ever before, feminism has become a movement for personal rights.
"Feminism is a movement towards equal society for male, female and transgender people, without discrimination. People should not feel discriminated against for being who they are. They should be able to live in peace, without fear of not conforming to the “social norm.” We need to change the social norm. We need to move towards a society where men are not afraid to be vulnerable and women are allowed to be independent; a society where being male or female has no impact on how a person lives their life; a society where the pressure is off and everyone can be themselves." --Hannah McAtamney, the Huffington Post
Although feminism may seem like a pretty positive movement, the modern feminist movement has faced a lot of criticism and backlash, with people claiming it to be a movement focused on man-hating and bringing down the patriarchy and the establishment. In some circles, being a feminist is even looked down upon. In one article, the modern feminist movement is referred to as follows: