I recently did something really stupid, I got into a fight on the internet. I know, what the hell was I thinking? Because of this argument though, it made me realize more than ever we need feminism and we need to stand up for it and not to the perpetuate these asinine notions people have of it. As a general rule I try to get along with people, but every now and then, I blow my top.
First let’s look at the definition.
:the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
: organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests
I am a Feminist. And I am tired of it being a dirty word, having crappy associations and misconceptions.
About a year ago I saw this floating around the internet.
What was my response at the time?
July 28th, 2014
I think my stomach isn’t even in my body anymore. I feel kind of sick that this is what people think of feminist these days.
I can love my husband, be feminine but still be a feminist. I never asked for special treatment, simply the right to be treated the same as all the men I know. The same opportunities and respect. That includes the respect of my body and my chooses of what to do with it. WHAT I DO WITH IT. Not what you can do to it. I think that makes me more of a humanist than a feminist. I simply fall in the category because I am a strong female. Because I do not see myself as an object but a human being. I could go on with this Tirade for a while but I will stop here.
So now I am going to continue on this point and make a couple more.
Firstly, that I take away from these pictures posted with a great article is that these woman don’t understand what feminist is. They don’t understand that it is what they’re talking about. The second thing is, rape culture is alive and well; get drunk and have irresponsible sex is stupid no matter what gender you are. Then there the money bit, in 2014 the same year this was posted, the Institute for Women Policy Research public that while more women are the main income for their house whole they’re only making 79 cents to ever dollar a man is making. I don’t know about you, but even 21 cents could in the long run make a big difference to my household.
This brings around to the stereotypes.
I think the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous says it best:
Voice of Documentarian: Do you think that most people would say that teenage beauty pageants are a good idea?
Gladys Leeman: Oh yeah, sure. I know what some of your big city, no-bra-wearing, hairy-legged women libbers might say. They might say that a pageant is old-fashioned and demeaning to the girls.
Iris Clark: What’s sick is women dressing like men.
Gladys Leeman: You betcha, Iris. No, I think you boys are gonna find something a litle bit different here in Mount Rose. For one thing, we’re all God-fearing folk, every last one of us. And you will not find a “back room” in our video store. No, no, that filth is better left to the sin cities.
Iris Clark: AKA Minneapolis Saint Paul.
While I laugh so hard at this part, it hurts too.
To quote the previous article “gender-blindness and even age-old stereotypes of feminists as angry, hairy-legged, bra-burning, man-hating lesbians who believe that men are the root of everything bad.”
Women don’t want to use the word Feminist because they don’t want to be one of “those women,” women who hate men, their penises, anything masculine or phallic and everything they stand for. If you’re a feminist you can’t be feminine or love men or even like sex in some people’s minds. I am here to call bullshit.
I like sex. I also like to cook, sew, knit, dance, I am generally a pretty maternal person. I love my husband and I love fancy dresses. I am still a feminist. I can also out run my husband and most of our male friends. I can out swim them and I am pretty sure my pain threshold is better than theirs too. Still a feminist.
I have also always been an independent person, nearly to a fault. Some of this might go back to being frustrated as a kid when my Dad hold me I couldn’t do something that my brother could but didn’t always want to do, like go hunting. Or walk home after dark from the book store. It was annoying, I do understand that my Dad was mostly concerned for me as a kid and the age difference than saying I couldn’t do something because I was female. I still played sports and got in fights with my brother. My Dad taught use both how to throw a ball, how to throw a punch and to be respectful good manners. In short, my father is a feminist. One of my proudest moments in my life was when I was and moving into my first apartment and my Dad said, “I am not worried about you, I know you can take care of yourself.” When I was younger I was always sure my Dad was going to be of the shotgun and a shovel variety when I would bring boys home. Nope. He wouldn’t always like them, but he trusted my judgement and he knew I would take care of it if it came down to it.
A friend of mine, (who is no longer with us), told me her Dad thought a women who was somebody who could hike in high heels and still take a shit in the woods. I thought that was hilarious at the time. Heels in the woods though? How impractical. The idea behind it always stuck with me, some strong, independent but still beautiful and feminine. I have always wanted to model myself after strong independent women. I was lucky, I had a lot of them. My Mom, by best friends, a little bit of Murphy Brown too :). The funny thing is, being a strong independent women is awesome, but doesn’t necessarily make you a feminist. It makes it a little easier to be one though, a little tougher.
The thing I got the most confused about in my unintelligible internet fight was went I was told to, “Please just shut you fucking whore mouth. The world is growing increasingly weary of your idiotic echo chamber . If you want to help your cause, get the fuck off of reddit and your massive ass, go to Syria and stand up for actual oppressed women, you hypocritical bovine dyke.” That one was a little bit of a slap in the face. Really? I mean, really? Dyke? Whore? Why is every intelligent woman boiled down to being a whore or a lesbian for speaking her mind? Honestly, I would love to go to another country to hold up the rights of women there. It’s pretty clear to me that we have a lot of work to do on the home front. If I can’t win my home games then what good would it be to I run away from this problem to face another far away from any of my well established resources?
It goes back to the definition of Feminist. My husband and I were talking about this last night too. Being able to rock the hell out of a LBD is awesome, but has nothing do with equality. While it is very clear, particular in America, (where I am), that we are dealing with some pretty serious problems when it comes to the female image issues, they are connected, but that’s not feminism. I am going derail myself here for a second.
The female form is beautiful in all of its shape and sizes. If you’re skinny, great, if you’re a big, great. Pear, hourglass, square, it doesn’t matter. Are you comfortable in your body? It’s the only body you have, get comfortable in it. If people don’t like it? FUCK THEM. I do work out, not because I have this goal of being stronger or losing weight, while those are bonus, I like how I feel in my body because of it. I love me some chocolate chip cookies too. Yum. Okay, back to it.
I am not asking to be the exception to the rule, I am not asking for you to say, “she’s a woman so she deserves…” No. I don’t want woman to be the first and only thing you see about me or anybody. I can’t count how many times I have been underestimated in my life because I am bubbly female. There is still a brain here and it works hard. I have four amazing nieces and every single one of them should be able to have the same opportunities as all of their male counter parts. None of them should be told that something isn’t appropriate because of their gender. Yes, take the karate class, kick some butt, take some names. Be Captain America for Halloween and no, not “sexy” Captain America, she’s 6 come on! Take the engineering course. Be on the football team, join the boy scout or the girl scouts, challenge others expectations. Be awesome.
Guess what everybody though? Feminist goes both ways. If we expect to be treated as equals, we should be treating men the say way too. Don’t look down on the stay at home dad. Men can and should be nurses too. These gender associated jobs is so stupid. I am sorry I can’t think of a better word. Men can be raped. Men can be in a domestic abusive relationship. One of my Ex’s, his brother was in one. I was so livid when I found out. He had been living there for 6 months. 9 months of a physically abusive relationship and nobody knew. I was there to help him move out. I was just waiting for his partner to do something. I wanted him to do something. I am not a big person, but I wanted to hurt his partner. I wanted to throw him over the balcony into the garbage because that is what he had become to me. My husband wasn’t in physically abusive relationship before me, but some of the stories he told me, if he had been a woman in the same situations, let’s just say I am pretty sure somebody would have called the cops for him instead of him having to deal with her. I know there have been a number of videos about it, but it still holds true. Violence is violence no matter who is perpetuating it, it should be stopped. I know a little silly since I just said I want to throw a guy over a balcony, but I didn’t.
Out of all of this shit that has been bothering me and keeping me up at nights, the most strangely delightful thing happened. My 80 year old Grandmother, who I have never seen eye to eye, agreed with me. I was giving vent on social media under the same title and my Grandmother agreed. It shouldn’t be a dirty word. I was shocked and so happy. My Grandmother is a very intelligent woman, she is also very Catholic and very Republican. She has also written a number of books and still raised four kids. It makes me so damn happy to know that my Grandmother despite all of our misunderstanding, understands me one this one thing. I should have thought about it more, but I am so lucky to have her, my mother, my aunts, my uncles, my family, we’re a family of feminist. There are a lot of things we won’t agree on, but to know this is one, makes me feel stronger than I did before.
Please more than anything, rethink you’re negative view of feminism. Why do you think it’s so bad? Why aren’t you one? More than anything, can’t we all just be humanists?