Now I know most of you must be thinking that this is not what a feminist looks like, but you’re wrong. Not all feminists are butch, bra burning tyrants. In fact, not even mostradical feminists could be described this way. I’ve received a lot of feed back from friends and family who have assumed that feminism and man-hating are one in the same. They thought this because this is what pop culture and stereotyping have taught them. This is why I’ve decided to write this piece on the humanistic idea that I live my life by. I’m going to clear the air and set the record straight for my generation.
Since I can remember I’ve been aware of the mistreatment of women and girls. I paid attention to history and listened to the news. I knew sexism was happening in third world countries and decades ago in the states but it took me sometime to understand that it is still present in our country. I understood feminism as something I could stand behind because it involved me. However I now know that is issue involves all of us. Feminism by definition is, “The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” Now this doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Feminism isn’t about tearing men down, it’s about building women up.
So why is it that when we say that big scary “F” word at least half the room decides to roll their eyes? It’s because the images of the radical bra burning women of the 1960’s are still imprinted in our minds. Radicalism, violence, domineering women who are sexually liberated are all things that make us worry. We shake our heads because we’re afraid that these things can destroy our society. So we pass on the stereotypes. We hand them down to our children and share them with our friends, but it has to stop. When I was 16 my U.S. history teacher was giving a lecture on the women’s movement of the 1960’s. He explained in ignorance that Betty Friedan, the author of The Feminine Mystique and huge advocate for women’s rights, was only a feminist because she was too “ugly” to get a man. My mouth hung open in disbelief. I couldn’t believe that he could stand there in front of young girls and preach that feminism was only used by homely sex starved women. But everyone laughed, they laughed at the struggles of the women who had come before them. They disregarded their blood, sweat, and tears all because it didn’t seem fashionable to praise them for their accomplishments.
It’s society that must be changed. It’s what boxes us all in and keep us separate from one another. Men feel it to, certain expectations of how to live and who to be simply for being born with an XY chromosome. Men and women are different but that doesn’t mean we can’t be equal. If you’re not a racist, can you really be a sexist? If you believe in equality for some then why can’t you believe in equality for all? It’s humanism, the belief that all humans regardless of sex, race, and sexual preference deserve equal opportunity and equal treatment. Do you believe in unity and collective power – in treating one another with love and respect? Well if you do, than congratulations because you my friend are a feminist.