“Equality” has become a word that means different things for people. It’s a word that snuck its way into our biggest public conversations.
That one is big. Gender equality. That which has become the basis for a not even close to new in existence but certainly new in popularity movement: the feminist movement.
When I first noticed the word “feminist” used in the context of a sort of social movement, I think I was on Tumblr. And I understand that that is a very millennial thing for me to say, but it’s true.
On a societal totem pole, for pretty much all of human civilization, females have been just under males. “Gender roles” have been in place for centuries, and many of them are still practiced. Women care for children while men go out and “provide” for the family. Women wear dresses to look “lady-like” and men try not to look like they haven’t showered in a week.
But this word, “feminist,” and that other word, “feminism.” They rose from the depths of sexual objectification, less than 100-year-old voting rights, and government underrepresentation and stormed our wholesome American communities.
And what are they supposed to mean?
That’s the thing I mentioned in the beginning, isn’t it? Gender equality.
That’s probably why, these days, it can catch you off-guard when someone claims to not be a feminist. It sounds like that person is saying “I do not believe in gender equality.”
Still, though, many people (including women) insist that they are not feminists and do not agree with much of the feminist rhetoric?
Perhaps it’s because when we think of it, we think of all the wrong things–things that are not syncing up with what we consider to be the true definition.
Feminism. Fem = female.
Feminism thereby sounds pro-woman. Because it is. Pro-woman inherently sounds like it could be anti-man. Maybe that’s what scares people.
We start with the idea that a woman has the capacity to do anything a man can do.
If that is true, I wonder if a woman can inflate her pride to a point where she feels sincerely threatened by someone doing the same thing she can.
Given that it’s hot outside, I can remove my shirt. Society accepts my decision to remove my clothes because it is hot and clothes will only make me hotter.
Given that it’s hot outside, a woman cannot remove her shirt. ‘Cause boobies.
A woman cannot show her breasts to the public because it is considered obscene and inappropriate. It is only considered to be those things, though, because a woman’s bare chest has been sexualized. It still is sexualized. So it can’t be seen.
Is that wrong?…Is that how it should be?… The only certain thing about it, really, it that it is not equality.
I just don’t think a woman should be president. They’re too emotional.
You know what? Maybe we need a leader with feelings. But beside that, what exactly do we think is going to be the result of a female president’s emotions?
Once a month (during that time we all think is so gross) the overly emotional female president is going to say something she didn’t mean to an ambassador and ruin a perfectly diplomatic relationship? Or she’s going to be too busy crying and watching Grey’s Anatomy to balance the budget?
I don’t want women to be lawyers. Their emotions might overtake their arguments.
And forget the medical field. No way a silly female can keep her composure when operating on another person.
Education? Nope. No way. A woman might get too worked up and drop kick a child like the old lady in the last post.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
If a woman can raise a man as annoying and difficult as the one who thinks a woman can’t hold an office, she can probably hold an office.
Back to the word. Feminism. The scary word that is scary because people think seems anti-man.
Which feminists are the ones giving off that impression?
“All men are jerks” is admittedly a generalization and can simply not be proven. As a man, though, I have to admit that it doesn’t bother me. You do have to be kind of a jerk to keep the societal status of half the population underneath the status of your own half.
But it’s probably more than just the people who say things like that.
Yeah, it could be a little bit of this, too.
If a feminist, to you, means a person who thinks men are the worst and shouldn’t exist, then I can see why you don’t want to call yourself one.
But come on. Who is actually afraid of that?
If I am out walking alone at night, I am not worrying about a feminist jumping out from the darkness and murdering me.
If a woman is out walking alone at night, she shouldn’t be. She should at least be with a friend. If she goes alone, she puts herself in danger of being attacked by someone else, who is probably a man.
Men have hurt a lot more women than the feminist movement has.
Suppose I was attacked one night. What would happen next?
Would people be questioning what I was wearing that night? Would they have questioned whether I’d had anything to drink? Would they ask me why I didn’t just fight him off?
Maybe that’s part of where the word comes from.
I think being pro-choice has become sort of a ‘gimme’ if you identify as a feminist.
That’s something a lot of people (again, women included) cannot seem to get behind. A woman going through with the termination of a pregnancy is not necessarily favored. A woman should not have the right to “selfishly” walk away from a pregnancy.
A man certainly has that right, though. It is not his job to care for a child, it is a woman’s.
A man also won’t be called a slut for having slept with the woman in the first place.
And must we get into the contraceptive availabilities?
Is this equality?
Is ‘feminist’ still a scary word?
Maybe it gets scarier once you get into the domestic violence argument.
Why is a man a sexist jerk for hitting a woman, but a woman is empowered and brave for taking down a man? If that’s feminism, why would I want to be a part of it?
Well, good news: it’s not feminism. At least, not by the earlier established definition. That hitting scenario is not equality, but feminism is equality. So it can’t be feminism.
Men should not hit women. Women should also not hit men. People should not hit people. That is equality.
But that means
Feminism benefits men too?
For men and women to be equal, women should not be expected to act, dress, and talk a certain way. They should not be expected to work certain jobs. They should not be expected to take lesser pay for the same jobs.
And men should not be expected to be emotionless robots. They should not be expected to be athletes instead of artsy. They should not be expected to do anything simply because it’s considered “manly.”
For men and women to be equal, women should not be expected to dedicate their lives to starting and raising a family. Men should not be expected to not do so.
Feminism exists within the idea of equality. Sexism does not.
Sexism is the reason we call problematic and hurtful men “dicks” and men who show weakness “pussies.”
So, do “radical” or “extreme” feminists even exist?
I’m pretty sure those are the ones people are afraid of. The “extreme” feminists who somehow give off the “kill all men” vibe. Women are just as powerful as men–in fact, they’re more powerful. No man understands the female plight. He just sits there in his privilege and farts whenever he wants. Those are the scary ideas.
But if feminism is just equality, what would “radical” equality look like? And would it be all that scary?
To the feminists who do their best to push the idea that feminism preaches equality:
Wonderful. But be mindful. Be sure that under your equality umbrella, you include women of color. Be sure that you include lesbian and trans women. Be sure that you include disabled women. Be sure that you include female children.
I think I understand just fine.
Feminism doesn’t mean women get to hit men. It means no one should be hitting.
Feminism doesn’t mean don’t hold doors for women. It means hold the door for anyone, and if someone does it for you, thank them.
Feminism doesn’t mean men cannot pay for dinner. It means the man can pay this time, and maybe the woman can pay another time, and maybe they split it another time, and maybe the woman has a gift card another time, and maybe it’s a couple of gay men with the same pride as straight men and they always fight over who gets to pick up the tab.
Feminism doesn’t mean all women should throw away their bras. It means men should be able to handle it if a woman decides to do the same thing he does to feel more comfortable.
Feminism doesn’t mean kill all men. It means love men. Love them in ways that shows them that the world is meant to be shared by them and women. Love them by teaching them to respect their female counterparts, and love them by not forcing unnecessary ideas of masculinity onto them. Love them by refusing to let them believe they are entitled to women. Or that they can decide things for women.
Feminism does not mean fear women. It means fear the day your daughter accepts the idea that she probably can’t do something because it’s usually done by men. Fear it so much that you use the movement to prevent it.
Feminism is not anti-man. Anti-man, or misandry, is not feminism. It is to be denounced as it makes as little sense as any form of sexism.
Feminism means understand that life for a woman is not the same as life for a man, but it doesn’t mean the life is worth less.
we’re all human.