I’ve never been shy about identifying as a feminist, but I do get pretty annoyed when I’m accused of hating men simply because I believe in equality of the sexes. What’s so hard to understand about believing that men and women should be on equal ground?
Why does this even need to be said? Feminism shouldn’t be some dirty word that women (or men!) are afraid to associate with. The fact that the outdated and frankly ridiculous idea of all feminists as militant lesbians who want to wipe men off the face of the planet is so dumb that I can’t even take it seriously. Feminism is simply the belief that men and women are equal and the demand for us to be treated as such. Why is that a bad thing exactly?
I can love men and hate the attitudes many of them have. I don’t have to agree with the BS attitudes many men have about women or the way society favors men in pretty much every way to still get along with and even enjoy dating men. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. Am I angry about many women’s issues? You bet. I’m angry that old white guys in government are still trying to police women’s bodies. I’m angry that physicians don’t take women’s pain as seriously as men’s. I’m angry that women regularly face sexual harassment or assault in the workplace and outside of it that often goes unpunished. I’m angry that women are still getting paid roughly 25% less than men. If those things don’t make you angry, I question what type of person you are.
Feminism isn’t about bringing down men, it’s about empowering women. I’ve come across so many men—and sadly enough, many women too—who immediately rally against feminism because they think it’s some underhanded plot to destroy men and take over the world. Not only will that never happen even if that was the goal (and let’s be clear here, IT NEVER HAS BEEN), people who think this kind of prove exactly why feminism is needed: they’re seeing things through the lens of men’s experiences and completely disregarding women.
Sexism and misogyny still exist—that’s a problem. There’s no denying that sexism and misogyny are still rampant. Anyone who thinks that equality has been achieved and there’s no more work to be done is either living under a rock or in complete denial. Imagine if sufragettes—who were definitely feminists, by the way—never campaigned for the vote? What if feminists didn’t push for abortion rights, for access to birth control, for women to be allowed to serve in the armed forces or work in STEM fields? You might see the world a bit differently if you consider what your life would be like without feminists who’ve been fighting for generations against the sexism and misogyny that are designed to work against you.
Sorry, but misandry is not a real concern. Again, I’ve heard the complaint from men and women both that feminism is nothing more than misandry or even “reverse sexism.” First of all, there’s no such thing as reverse sexism, just like there’s no such thing as reverse racism because the system has never been set up to discriminate against men (or white people, in the case of racism). You can’t claim discrimination against people who have never systematically been at a disadvantage. Do some feminists hate men? I’m sure. Does it really matter considering that society will never enact laws or policies that enforce that attitude the way they do with women? Nope.
The sooner we ensure women’s autonomy and equal standing, the less we’ll need feminism anyway. Feminism sprung up out of need. We’re not fighting an invisible ghost here, we’re fighting for basic rights to determine our own futures and to have equal chances of succeeding in the world. We’re basically asking for the same “privileges” that men have enjoyed for time immemorial. The sooner it happens, the less we’ll need feminism anyway. Until then, it’s one f-word I’ll be keeping in my vocabulary.