Or, How To Be A Feminist
I am a feminist. I choose to respect my body and myself. I choose to follow my dream, despite whispers of failure and defeat. I choose to value integrity and dignity, equality and fairness.
However, too often, I see feminism flouted by the ignorant, abused by the obsessed. Over the years, the movement’s message has changed. For every person, the message is different. Some people scream, “abortion,” “choice,” and others scream “career,” “family.” Feminism glorifies the individual – that is, if the individual is a young female who is begging for change.
Sometimes, I worry that feminism is backtracking, creating a world that forces decisions upon women. Why be a stay-at-home-mom when you can become a corporate executive? Why kiss your loving boyfriend when you know how “all men are”?
This frustrates me. And it should frustrate you, too. If you are a feminist, you should not be making judgments about other people, especially if “other people” is a whole freaking gender. The word feminism has such a bad stigma now that many of my male friends – who, I can assure you, are not misogynists – feel slighted by the feminist population. When people say, “All men are perverts” – or even, “All men are messy” – I bite my tongue, wanting so badly to shout retaliation. Here, I’m going to do just that.
Not all women are housewives. At the same time, not all men are rapists.
I think feminism – or, as the Libra in me likes to call it, equalitism – should be about a few key things. And barking at men is not one of them.
History tells us that, for years, men were able to get jobs, but women were not. Men were able to move up in society, or even in paycheck, but women were not. Men were able to vote, but women were not.
Now, in 2012, we’ve overcome those obstacles because we had the strength to do so, rallying and protesting in the Women’s Rights Movement. Females are equal to men, now, in a lot of respects. That is not to say that misogyny does not exist. That’s to say that, if you know someone who’s a misogynist, it’s a big deal, and you probably wouldn’t want him or her to be your friend.
A lot of feminists go back to one issue: rape. It’s a big issue, and I don’t think I’m going to cover it now. But if you’re a feminist, have the strength to talk to a friend who’s been raped. If you’ve been raped, muster the strength to tell someone, or to press charges. But please, don’t judge every man you meet. There are plenty of female rapists out there, too.
It’s easy to forgive your girlfriend for forgetting to pick you up an iced coffee. It’s not always as easy to forgive the man you loved for breaking your heart.
However, that’s not to say that all men will break your heart, and that’s not to say that the experience did not change you for the better, anyway. The same goes for men involved in break-ups with their girlfriends. Forgive that person, move on, and never see them again, but don’t tell your friends that all men are lying cheaters.
“We just want equality,” I hear feminists say. But, sometimes, as you vouch for equality, you distance yourselves from men. What you really want is to be better than them, to be higher up on the totem pole. And that’s not okay.
We’re all human beings, with different personalities, past history, and IQs. Just because you have reproductive organs doesn’t mean that you’re better than anyone else. The reproduction debate sickens me, because in the end, you need two people to make a baby.
Discretion aside, equality, I think, is the most important. However, the word “feminism” implies that females are the center of attention. Which is why I say I’m an equalitist (even though, as Word painstakingly reminds me every time I type it, it’s not a real word).
I’m going to close by asking for respect – for me, for women, and for men. Not all men are assholes. Not all women are tightly wound. Think before you make judgments. Reach out to see how other parties are feeling, instead of jumping on the first conclusion. Delve deeper, and learn about the other gender, the other person. You might be surprised what you find.
DISCLAIMER: Trust me when I say that not all feminists are like this. Most of them, in fact, are not; instead, they are beautiful, equality-driven, determined, respectful,and forgiving individuals. I’m sorry if I ever over-generalize in this article, because that is exactly what I’m preaching against.
What does feminism mean to you? Comment below!