I’ve been noticing recently that people in some of my social circles seem to think that feminism is a dirty word. I find this a little disheartening, since I consider myself a feminist.
No, I don’t get offended when men hold doors open for me. No, I don’t hate men or think that women are better than men. No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be a stay-at-home mother.
There are a lot of misconceptions about feminism, what it is and what it isn’t. Perhaps feminism gets a bad name because of the actions of certain radicals. However, most feminists are perfectly reasonable people. I don’t think it’s fair to discredit the concerns addressed by the majority of feminists because some radical feminists are off-putting. That’s why I’m proud to say that I am a feminist.
I’m a feminist because I think it’s wrong that we spend more time teaching women how to avoid being raped than we spend teaching men not to rape women. Because I shouldn’t have to carry my keys as a weapon when walking to my car at night. Because no means no.
Because body shaming disproportionately affects women. Because watching a four-year-old girl worry about getting fat makes me cry.
Because I have friends working in male dominated environments, and sometimes they experience unwarranted hostility in these environments. Some of these friends don’t feel that they have opportunities for advancement in these jobs because promotions are never given to the women.
Because it’s not right to assume that women who want to have a career are selfish or to assume that women who want to stay home are lazy. Nor do I think it’s right to assume that all women want to have kids or that not wanting to have kids makes you a selfish, terrible person.
Because things that are “girly” are inherently seen as less cool. Because I don’t want boys who like “girl” things to feel ashamed of what they love, and I don’t want girls to assume that the things they love aren’t important.
Because it’s nobody else’s business whether I decide to wear make-up or not. Nor is it their business how long I choose to keep my hair, or what type of accessories I want to wear.
Because it’s wrong that people can discredit any of my opinions they disagree with by making the argument that I’m PMSing or that I’m just being emotional. Yes, I have emotions. That’s not reasonable grounds for invalidating my argument. And because it’s wrong to make anyone, male or female, feel weak for expressing emotions.
Because being catcalled isn’t flattering. It’s demeaning. And quite frankly, a little scary sometimes.
Because “like a girl” is still considered an insult.
Because female students and teachers have had acid thrown at their faces for going to school.
Because I grew up thinking that I couldn’t be funny because I was told that men were funnier than women.
Because male students in my class think it’s okay to refer to me and my fellow TA as “you girls” when complaining about how we graded something, even when the student is younger than both of us.
Because I think it’s unfair that a woman jogging in short shorts or yoga pants is somehow more offensive than a man running shirtless or in spandex.
Because when I say I like super heroes or sports, I shouldn’t have to be quizzed to see if I’m a “real fan” or just there to oogle attractive men. And because I think it’s dumb that they don’t make super hero toys for girls, even though a lot of girls want to be super too.
Because I don’t like the that boys won’t read books about girls, even though nobody cares if a girl reads a book about a boy. And because it’s flat out wrong that boys should be uninvited when a female author comes to speak at their school.
To me, feminism is all about liberating women and men alike from the burdens of gender roles. I’m not trying to dump on men, or say that all men are evil misogynists. And I do realize that there are ways in which society is unfair to men. I want to address those issues too. At the end of the day, I just think people should be treated like people, regardless of what gender they are.
And maybe I will make you a sandwich. But if I do, it’s because I love you. Not because I’m a woman.