There seems to be a word floating around that is so offensive, many people will not utter it even in the most secure circles of trust. Feminism has so many different stereotypes attached to it that it’s difficult to say you are one without getting in an argument. But I’ll get brave, I’ll say it. I am a feminist.
I’ve been asked before why I am a feminist. Seeing as how I’m no good with verbal, on the spot debate I thought I’d hash out my ideas in a medium I feel more comfortable with, writing. What follows is why I am a feminist and what, in my opinion, being a feminist IS and IS NOT.
Feminism IS NOT about hating men. In fact I quite like most men. Someday my son will be a man and I’m pretty sure I’ll still love him. What I don’t like is misogyny. All people are different, I understand that. So I know that not all men are misogynists just because some are.
Feminism IS NOT about being better, stronger or smarter. I don’t think that or claim that women are the superior sex. Men and women are different. Along those same lines, every person is different. There’s no way to group all women in one category or all men in one category.
Feminism IS NOT about being a victim. I saw an article in response to the “I need feminism” campaign. It was an “I don’t need feminism” campaign. A number of the women said they did not need feminism because they were not victims. They said they are adults and can take responsibility for their actions. I had to wonder what they’re talking about. The everyday street harassment, date rape, sexual trafficking? The thing about those things, is that it has very little to do with your own actions and much more to do with the actions of a few misogynistic jerks.
Feminism IS NOT about understanding each other. You don’t have to understand someone to give them respect.
Feminism IS about respect and dignity. In the work place, at home, while you walk down the street.
Feminism IS about shining a light on injustice of any kind and not sitting by and letting it happen.
Feminism IS about seeing someone as a person first and foremost; not as a gender, race or religion.
At this point in our society, things are a certain way. When I’ve talked about injustice and lack of respect I’ve been told, well that’s just the way it is. I hate hearing that. Because I believe we can be better as a society. We can make a difference. Imagine if people like Susan B. Anthony or Alice Paul had just accepted things as they were. Would women have the right to vote now? What if Rosa Parks had gone to the back of the bus because that’s “just how things were done”? What if Martin Luther King Jr. had sat quietly and not shared his dream? What a different world we would live in. We’ve still got so far to go, I can’t believe there aren’t more people standing up and getting passionate!
Nothing will ever change if people don’t stand up. People would never grow and change, so society would never grow and change. We have the power to change the world. If people would stop getting hung up on the ridiculous stereotypes attached to a word maybe we would see real change.
Things may be a certain way, but that doesn’t mean that they have to stay that way.
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