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I am a feminist

23 Feb

And, no, I do NOT hate men. I believe in equality, plain and simple.  I take the dictionary definition of Feminism quite literally:

feminism n (1895) 1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests — feminist n or adjfeministic adj

And, the majority of feminists will tell you the same thing. Many times, the mere mention of feminism causes eye-rolling, dismissal of one’s beliefs, and even vitriol.  I have had to defend my identity as a feminist very frequently lately, and I’m tired of it.  So, I’m going to write about it here, and in the words of CNN, “leave it right there“. :)

Just like with the politics and religion, there are extremists, like Mary Daly and Andrea Dworkin.  So, the term ‘feminist’ has become bastardized.

This is NOT what a true feminist looks or acts like.

Contrary to popular belief, feminism is not a war against men at all. Rather, it is a war against what we see as the root cause of women’s oppression: patriarchal gender relations.  Men are not the only ones who promote and maintain patriarchal relations, and it would be unwise to assume that all feminists think that it is only men who benefit from patriarchy. There are many women out there who are anti-feminist.

There are two reasons that the term ‘feminist’ has become such a dirty word. 1) its been hijacked by a vocal and radical minority, like Daly and Dworkin, and 2) it is in the best interest of those who wish to keep the current patriarchal gender relations to squash any movement that threatens the status quo.

Most of Christians don’t like to be associated with folks like Fred Phelps.  Most Republicans don’t like to be identified with groups like the Aryan Nation. Most Democrats don’t like to be compared to the Earth Liberation Front.  Most pro-lifers would never, ever murder an abortion doctor, as Scott Roeder did.

And, in the same vein, most feminists do not believe or behave as the extremists do. So, all I ask is that you give me, and anyone else who identifies as a feminist, the benefit of the doubt.

Don’t assume that I hate men because I want to make the same salary as my male coworker, who has the exact same experience and education as me and is currently making 10% more than I do. Don’t assume that I’m a lesbian because I don’t find advertisements that reinforce gender stereotypes appealing. Don’t assume that I think women are better than men because I don’t think your sexist joke is funny. Don’t assume that I want women to get “special treatment” because I abhor and want to get rid of our rape culture.

I am a feminist, and I am more than a stereotype.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 23, 2010 in Rant

 

2 responses to “I am a feminist

  1. Meagan

    February 23, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Good post. It’s very annoying that some folks think just because you want equal rights you want to take something away from men. Seriously, equal rights also come with equal responsibility. And wanting to have the same opportunities as men, to me at least, also means men can have the same opportunities as women (work in predominantly female careers, stay at home with kids, etc.)

     
  2. Christian

    February 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I’ll start by saying, I am a man and I am a feminist :)

    I think this is a great post, and of course right on point. From a male perspective, I do believe part of the issue is sheer ignorance. I certainly didn’t see half the issues of sexism before meeting my wife. She has always defined herself as a feminist, and has opened my eyes to things I never would have noticed. The Dodge Charger commercial is a good example. I am willing to bet a lot of people (including women) wouldn’t categorize it as sexist. It doesn’t have the same ‘flavor’ we’re used to. So, if we can’t collectively understand ‘what’ is sexism, it’s not surprising we can’t understand what a feminist means.

    You’re also right, that it’s not just men that can’t identify feminism. My wife certainly continues to face ignorance as a new mother. There’s so many stigmas attached to different aspects of motherhood and how to be a feminist at the same time.

    Anyway, good post. Very helpful.

     

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