The dictionary definition of feminism states that it is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” In this definition, I include non-binary (referred to as NB throughout this).
Too often I see people, women or NB included, state that they don’t identify as a feminist. Often I see references to crazy feminists, to man-hating feminists and to feminists being kill joys. Today, I think we should have a chat about that. So settle in with a drink of your choice, grab some snacks even, and get ready to read some facts and opinions.
As someone who identifies as female, I’ve grown up in a world ruled by the patriarchy. A world where I can’t walk down the street on my own without being hyper aware of everyone around me, I’ve been told to look a certain way, act a certain way, I was expected to excel in language and arts and certainly not maths or science, I grew up expecting to be paid less than my white male co-workers, knowing that I would have to work twice as hard to get half as far as those same co-workers. I knew that I would always have to put up with cat calls from the car, that statistically I would suffer some form of sexual abuse or assault before the age of 16. Nobody in my life spoke about feminism, they should’ve, but I don’t blame them. The thing is, when you watch people who speak out about these things and about women’s or NB’s rights constantly be labelled crazy, and someone to stay away from, you learn to be quiet about these things. For years I didn’t identify as a feminist, or when I did I said “but not one of the crazy ones” and I told people I believed in equal rights to avoid criticism. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I started to see that there aren’t crazy feminists, just passionate ones, and why wouldn’t you be passionate about something that advocates for your wellbeing and rights? Feminism is something that could have prevented most of the negative experiences and expectations in my life, and could potentially help prevent the same things happening to females of the future. We should all want a brighter future for the next generation.
As for feminism being about hating men, that just simply isn’t true. The patriarchy has influenced the way men are and operate, as well as their privilege, which is why some men believe this is the case. You see, for women and NB members of society to be truly equal, feminism does mean that there may be some loss for male counterparts. Men will lose their privilege, that’s what equality means. For example, eliminating the gender pay gap will (most likely) mean that men will sacrifice some of their earnings to ensure that their female and NB colleagues receive an equal wage. The society that we currently live in teaches us that people who hate us want us to lose something, and sometimes this is true, sometimes this means that they want and even playing field.
Now, to my personal favourite, feminists are killjoys. This one often makes me laugh, feminists aren’t killjoys – they simply don’t find sexism funny. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure how I can explain this without getting angry. I don’t enjoy being cat called from a car as I walk down the street. I don’t enjoy having to hold my keys in between my knuckles, and staying on edge, for the entire time I’m alone in public in the dark. I didn’t enjoy it the time a boy slapped my ass so hard in school that it bruised, and I was told that it was best to forget about it because boys will be boys. I don’t find rape jokes funny, nor do I find jokes about women or NB people being ‘dishwashers’ funny. I am not a commodity, I am not here to satisfy the male gaze, I shouldn’t have to be cautious of how much I drink, I shouldn’t be asked what I was wearing when I mention that I got groped at a gig or club. Every day I see jokes about women and NB people being less, I see jokes about rape, and sluts, and whores. It’s not a joke – it’s harmful. Those jokes play into rape culture, and I will never be okay with that. If you think I’m a killjoy, then maybe you need to take a closer look at yourself.
This is just a glimpse into feminist thought. Well, a glimpse into mine. The thing with feminism that that it’s subjective to a degree – but with a common purpose. Feminism is about everybody coming together. Feminism is about everybody being equal. If you think think that makes me crazy, a man-hater or a killjoy – I’m sorry. I’m not sorry that I make you feel that way, but I am sorry that you do feel that way. I’m sorry that you don’t see why feminism is an important issue, and if you don’t, I hope you’ll explain why in the comments below. Feminism is for everybody, if you don’t believe this then let’s have a chat, tell me why you feel this way!
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