Feminism: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. My question is, why is this seen as such a negative point of view? I started to identify myself as a feminist last year. I always had been, always upheld the belief that men and women should be on an equal playing field, but I always heard a negative tone when the word “feminist” was uttered until last year. The fact that I hadn’t heard a positive view point until that point is really saying something about our culture and society. Before then, I thought a feminist was someone who hated men for always having these privileges over females and that always rubbed me the wrong way.
However, when I started to hang out with young females who identified themselves with this word, I realized they wanted equality for BOTH sexes. And they didn’t hate men! They were friends with men, and men seemed to gravitate towards them, so why is the word still associated with a smirk and shudder?
I read comments on videos of women who identify themselves as feminist on the internet and it genuinely makes me feel sick to read some of the things people say. I understand that everyone has an opinion and they are entitled to said opinion, but when has it ever been okay to belittle others who have opinions opposite of your own? It is a known fact that women make less money than men, especially women of color. It is a known fact that women in third world countries are oppressed by men and are considered a lower class. Yet, people in first world countries often forget that there are people outside of their bubble. That feminist aren’t only rallying for the people in their own bubble, but for people everywhere who are unequal.
There are women of the world who are made slaves in their own body, who don’t have control of their own flesh and blood. There are young girls who are sold into a marriage to a man three times their age. These are things that aren’t only in our past, but in our present and will continue to be in our future if we don’t do something about it.
Feminist aren’t here to overthrow the man and have world domination. As a feminist, I believe that everyone should be created equally: both men and women. I believe that men should be able to be vulnerable and not be called “a pussy,” “a bitch,” or (the horror) “a girl.” I think that men shouldn’t be ashamed of feelings and put on a front of “being a man” at all times. Men in society are made to feel inferior if they have emotions because that’s a “female” problem. Women are too emotional, so as a man don’t show any. How is that fair?
Emma Watson delivered a beautiful speech at the UN advocating her movement HeforShe. She invites men to come forward and pledge that they support women, but guess what, women also support men. She speaks about men being afraid of going to the doctor to get their prostate checked, which is one of the biggest leading causes of death in men: prostate cancer. Similarly to this topic, Samuel L. Jackson started a campaign for men called “Love the Glove” so men feel normal to get an exam. Why be healthy when you can be masculine? Why is that a thought that men have?
One of my favorite parts of Emma’s speech is when she speaks about putting both men and women on an equal playing field:
If men don’t have to be aggressive, women won’t be compelled to be submissive. If men don’t need to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are.
I may have shed a tear at this point because finally, FINALLY in these most recent months feminism is starting to shed that negative connotation it once had. Beyonce had that powerful (amazing, jawdropping, holy cow) performance on the VMA’s before her song FLAWLESS with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s definition of feminism playing in the background from Adichie’s TED talk. How incredible to have one of the most watched, loved, and influential entertainers in the world to exclaim to the world, “I’m a feminist. Deal with it.”
So, here I am. I’m a feminist and I love men. And I’m not burning my bra. And I like make-up and clothes. I like to bake and travel and wear dresses with backs cut out. I’m a feminist and I want equality. I want to walk down the street and not feel threatened. I want to make the same money as men. I don’t want to be associated as “bossy” when I ask for what I want, nor a bitch. I don’t want to be called a “slut” when I “friend-zone” someone, nor do I think that men should have to pay for everything when you go on a date with them. I just want equality of the sexes. I want everyone to be on an even playing field, and I want to have total control of my body. Don’t tell me what to do with it. So, stand up for change. Make sure your daughters and sons have those rights once they are older. Isn’t that what the world needs? I think so.
If you’d like to join Emma’s movement, please follow the link here.