Today I typed “Why I’m not a Feminist” into Google this morning and spent an embarrassing amount of time reading fuzzy opinion articles (you know, like this whole blog) of why women out there do not call themselves feminist or align with the feminist movement.
It was interesting, eye-opening, and left me with a few thoughts.
These are some of the common reasons written that women stand against feminism:
- Feminists support abortion
- Feminists do not believe in/support men’s issues (such as men’s domestic abuse and sexual assault)
- The plight of the first world woman is small potatoes these day compared to race issues, LGBT issues, and the mistreatment of women in undeveloped parts of the world.
- Feminism perpetuates the idea that women are weak creatures who can be victimized by men and society.
- Maybe Feminism was important 100 years ago, but now men and woman are pretty close to equal.
- Feminists condemn women for being mothers and homemakers.
- And most importantly, because it ties back to everything listed above, this new “wave” of feminism is filled with man-shaming, nipple-baring radicals who are quick to cast hatred toward anyone who does not agree with them.
The first thing I would like to say to these women is that if you have a strong stance on what you want to do with your reproductive system, you believe in promoting awareness and justice for male rape and abuse, you want to fight for groups facing oppression, you believe women are strong and capable of success, and you defend the right to choose family over career, then you are a feminist.
The whole point of feminism is a woman’s right to choose what she stand for as an individual and what causes she wants to fight for. That means no two feminists have to share exactly the same views.
The only underlying value that must be shared by all feminists is that men and women (whether by birth or transition) should be treated equally on all accounts.
More than one of the articles I read said, “I’m all for men and women being equal but…”
There is no “but”. That statement makes you a feminist.
It’s the misunderstanding of feminism’s place in an individual’s life that leads to number seven on my list. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you need to agree with other feminists and it doesn’t mean you need to march through the city completely nude with “My body, my choice” painted on your boobies (but if that is feminism to you, then you do you girl, wave your titties to the sky). Maybe feminism to you means quitting your high-paying job to stay home with your kid, breaking up with a boyfriend because he didn’t respect your desire to wait until marriage, negotiating your raise, or raising money to send girls overseas to school.
It’s your life, your body, your world, and you believe in the right to move through it any way you like.
As for the radicals feminists, who spread hate and blame, you can not use them as the face of an entire gender movement. You can be feminist and not support that subgroup. Just like you can be a Republican and not support the KKK or you can like cheese but not like Pepperjack. To say that a subset of a huge group of people is powerful enough to dismiss an entire movement is unfair.
I would also like to say that in no way do I believe that the struggles of the white, middle-class woman are more important or more severe than those of minority groups all over the world. I fully recognize that I have a roof over my head, a job, legal rights, and am general safe in my existence.
Feminism doesn’t mean to say that those other issues are irrelevant. It only wants to bring attention to a specific one. You can be a feminist, black lives matter support, pro-life activist, a green party member, a Christian, and a “protect the bees” protester all at the same time. Feminism is not meant to overshadow the other issues important to you. It’s just a piece of the millions of things that make up your tough, smart, incredible, womanly self.
It case it isn’t clear, I am a feminist.
I went to college, I got married, I kept my last name, I work full-time, if I have kids someday I’d like to stay home with them, I like wearing crop tops and leggings, I rarely wear make-up or do my hair, I talk a lot, I swear a lot, I make a lot of references to “my dick”, I like cooking for my husband, I like feeling independent, and I love voicing my opinions.
This is the way I am and it’s all possible because of the women past and present who support my right to say and do whatever the hell I want in my own life.
We call those feminists.