Feminism, as defined by the latest Oxford English Dictionary, is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” Why do you think the vast majority of feminists are women then? Is it because women care about their rights more than men care about women’s rights? Maybe, though I know many men who are more for women’s empowerment than some women I know (like at a Beyonce concert vs a Chris Brown concert). It seems to me that “feminism” is often seen as an exclusive club for men-bashing, sign-holding, armpit-hair-having women, to talk about why it’s hard to be a woman in this time and age.
I don’t know where this reputation came from aside from pictures of protestors from the 1920s advocating for women’s right to vote in America, (which I think we can all agree was well deserved) but I’ve never seen a feminist that fits that description. Although women were “radicals” asking to be heard back then, feminism is not so far-fetched now. If you don’t think that women and men should be paid equally, receive equal benefits, and have equal opportunity for employment, your political views probably sound pretty ancient to most Americans. So if we in America are a culture that values women and their contributions to society, why would supporting those rights be somehow so radical that to be a feminist is to be a woman-loving, hard-headed, and downright annoying individual? It’s hypocritical, dumb, and as far as I can tell, totally false.
Feminism is not feminine. If it was it would be associated with painting your nails and watching Grey’s Anatomy. Feminism as a stigma somehow emasculates men, and masculinizes women, while totally ignoring the whole point of the word; gender equality. Everything that’s wrong with the way we misinterpret feminism in America is a mirror to what’s wrong with gender stereotypes in our culture as well. Feminism is confusing because it makes us take a step back from the body parts and examine gender in your actions rather than your appearance.
What I have to ask is, why is that so terrifying? Why in America is it so confusing for a woman to be butch or a man to be feminine? I know that gay rights is a hot topic right now, but I don’t even mean who you sleep with, I mean who you are. Why are we so terrified of reassigning our roles to fit modern times?
Once again, I don’t know. I know that I know plenty of men who cry all the time and plenty of women who never do and are all still pretty great people. Turns out, regardless of your mannerisms, preferences, gender, or sex, you are still a person who deserves rights, respect, and empathy from your peers. We could judge people based on the way they check their fingernails or who they sleep with, or we could look at people for what they do for others, and the injustices they stand up for.
So just like straight men can wear pink, gay men can wear clashing outfits, gay women can do their hair and makeup everyday, and straight women can dominate in the bedroom. The stereotypes that we assign to people are bashing individuals for their personalities. We alienate outliers based on an outdated standard of behavior that we haven’t taken the time to push forward. The point of all of this? We can change it. Feminism doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it can be a way to accept each other for who we are and what we value rather than how we look. Feminism, like gender equality, is for everyone. The issues that plague every she, he and they are our issues. We are all feminists. Wear some pink. Get over it.