“F” is for…
Today, I’m going to discuss an issue that can be divisive. Please don’t leave, though! This will be fun AND informative! Hooray for learning!
See, I think feminism has gotten a bad rap over the past few decades, and I’d like to address the misinformation floating around out there (I’m looking at you, Fox News!). People of a certain stripe with a fun little agenda have gloried in blaming it for societal woes that really have very little to do with the movement itself, and very much to do with the need for a scapegoat and a way to put women back “in their place” – because ALL WOMEN are interchangeable beings who ALL want the same things from life.
The problem is, some women today feel like they don’t want to identify with feminism because they don’t want to seem like militant man-haters. Many women who work full-time only to return home and pull a second shift of diapering and meal preparation feel like the feminist movement cheated them. “I want to go back to the days when women were only expected to perform one job!” they wearily sigh. Other women feel like they can’t choose to forgo the workplace in favor of staying home with the children and still be a feminist.
Men feel like feminists are the type of women who would yell at them for holding the door open on a date, so they too eschew that label.
However! Before taking a stand on the issue, you should evaluate what feminism really means before pitching your tent in the anti-feminist camp. The below test, formulated by me, should accurately gauge your true level of belief in the feminist cause.
This is not just for the ladies, gentlemen! Men can be feminists, too – it doesn’t detract from masculinity one iota.
How to tell if you’re a feminist:
1. You believe a person has the right to vote, regardless of whether or not they have a penis
2. You believe a person has the right to own their own property, regardless of whether or not they have a penis
3. You believe that two equally qualified people should earn the same wage for performing the same job
4. You believe that a person has the right to work at a job to earn a living
5. You believe intelligence bears no relationship to gender
6. You believe it is not okay for a boss to pat his female employee on the ass at work.
7. Ditto her ________ (fill in the blank with any other body part)
8. You believe that rape is a bad thing
9. You believe that women are capable of enjoying sex
10. You believe it is not okay for a man to hit his wife
11. You believe a person has the right to an education
See, without feminism, none of these would be true in our world today. Some of them still aren’t true, they’re just goals to which society should still aspire.
The work of feminism is far from over, and now more than ever we need young men and women to don the cloak of feminism proudly.
I mean, unless you WANT to go back to the time when it was okay for your husband to smack you for being “too loud” whilst giving birth. Your call.
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Photo 1 Source, Photo 2 Source
Oh, I just LOVE this post. Yay for feminism! I heard teenagers say that we live in a post-racial and post-gender society. I told them I would love to move to their planet immediately. I love how you started and ended the list – education is the key to it all! And one doesn’t need to attend college to realize that feminism is better for everyone in society. Treat women equally and everybody benefits. It’s that simple.
Blogging Bibliophile recently posted…The 16 Rules of Facebook Etiquette
Yes, where is this post-racial, post-gender society? I would like to go to there, lol.
Education is SOOOOOOO important, especially with the conflicting voices out there, subtly manipulating people…
This is a great post. I am fortunate enough to know and be able to have modeled after some really great feminists both male and female. We are a long long way from where we need to be but giving up on or trying to debunk gender equality is not going to get us there.
You ARE lucky! Not everyone has that, and when people get confused about their own rights…well, it just means something’s wrong in society.
Great timing. Your tweet for this post came sandwiched in between two from women attending a protest at the Texas state capitol. Stand up and be counted!
Ellen recently posted…This Summer
Yeah, I’ve had Texas on my mind lately…
I hate that Feminism is so vilified. It really behooves all of us to treat, um, all people as people. Why is that a difficult concept?
Some people LIKED the status quo…
I think part of the problem is the word “feminism” itself has been connected to so many different things, such as the radical man-hating feminism you mention, that people are wary of it. I love the button quote, “feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” If only we could get back to the basics. Maybe we need a new word? Genderism? Humanism? Are those already taken?
Janelle Weibelzahl recently posted…A Game of Thrones Primer for Canadian Politics
Lol, humanism definitely is already taken. We had a long discussion about this in one of my grad school courses…I think everyone’s new favorite term was “womanist.”
I love your new blog design. And it is hard to believe at the turn of the last century women couldn’t vote — a lot of men still look at the opinions of women as less than. I agree, there is nothing out-of-style or out-of-step about being pro women
Jamie@SouthMainMuse recently posted…How to handle turning 50. Tips from a Pro.
Yes, and when I think that women STILL get paid less than men for the same job, it boils my blood.
Woohoo, I’m a feminist!! Very fun and informative posts. Nice use of links to other content. Awesome page header design thing. (Could you have a fun and informative list post on blogging/website terminology next?) 🙂
Laura recently posted…Five Reasons Why You Should Play Minecraft with Your Child
Ha! Done. I’ll start with the hoozywhat…
This is a great list! It took me a long time to look past the negative associations with feminism, and realize that I was a feminist.
Women are people. That really sums it up well.
Tracie recently posted…Breakfast Is Code For Dessert
Yep. Women are people, too. Doesn’t get much simpler.
You are so right! It really bugs me when people put the negative spin on feminism when it’s really just about equality.
Stacie recently posted…Yo! Puppies Are Exhausting…
Yeah, it usually springs from ignorance or carefully constructed ways to put things back the way they were…
Dammit. I just realized I’m a feminist. But I still like having a man open the door for me, hold my chair and pay for dinner. Is there such a thing as an old fashioned feminist? 🙂
Terrye recently posted…Cell Phone Addiction: An Epidemic
Terrye, that’s just courtesy. It’s okay to be a feminist and like that stuff – heck, I do, too!!
EXCELLENT POST! I am SO sharing this!
🙂 Thank you! Spread the word!
Oh, this topic. It’s my own little train wreck – I can’t I’m with Janelle in that the actual word may be what frightens people. I know it bothers me. Gear up for one of my jackasserly comments because I know this won’t come out right; it never does.
I don’t want to be part of a crowd pushing for the rights of WOMEN only. I don’t understand how that’s any better than pushing for the rights of middle-class-and-higher-white-males; you’re (general, not specific) still singling out one group, one group to be as good as the aforementioned pinnacle group.
It’s stupid that women still aren’t considered equal humans to other humans when we’ve already proven for thousands of years that we are of the same species, the same abilities, the same thoughts, feelings, emotions. But it’s also stupid that immigrants, teenagers, really old people, not-completely-obviously-heterosexual people, poor people, uneducated people, non-caucasian people, disabled people, circus people, loud people with unpopular opinions, and all the other people who just aren’t allowed in that top tier also aren’t considered equal to the rest of the humans in the world.
I try to wrap my mind around how I feel about this topic quite often. I know I’m not anti-feminism and I appreciate what women have fought for, scrabbled for, sometimes died for, everything they’ve done that allows me to live the comfortable life I have, one that lets me choose my own partner; own my own home and/or business, car, horse, what have you; allows me to vote for the benefit of my country, allows me to serve and perhaps die for my country. But it shouldn’t be just for me, it shouldn’t be just for my mom and my sisters and my girlfriends. Yes, granted, I have a higher stake in equal rights for women because I’m a female and I want to be equal. But what about my husband? He’s half Mexican. How does that make him not the same as the rest of the people? And what about my gay friends? I love them and want them to be equal, too. All of us, even the people I really can’t stand, we should all have the opportunity to earn a place of respect and dignity in our own society, regardless of ANYthing. We’re all just people, after all.
Even so, by your definition, I am a feminist. But I like to think I’m a peoplist, instead.
Erica O recently posted…Shaving cream and toilet paper: Recipe for disastrous fun
Erica, I love that you brought this up. It was something I was going to address in this post, but that would’ve made it way too long (trying not to turn it into a dissertation). In fact, it’s a concern that many feminists and non-feminists have with the movement, and why many struggle with the idea.
The truth is, there are some issues that just pertain to being a woman biologically, like child birth, or sociologically, like enforced modesty or the determination that they should be the primary child-carers. For some reason, in many places globally the larger society thinks they should have a say in these female choices. Feminism is a forum that lets us look at those issues and inequities specific to them and try to come up with better solutions and ways of thinking.
There is also the relationship between gender and class, which gets a lot of criticism. The freedom of the single mother who must work to support her family and has no choice to stay at home, or the woman who doesn’t have the choice to go to college and better her financial/career situation, or women caught in cycles of poverty in which wage stagnation is even worse than men of equal social standing – these are all issues that won’t be solved just by equaling the numbers of men and women at the top. We must pay attention to the conditions of ALL women. My hope though is that if there are greater numbers of equality at the top of commerce and politics, then there will a more balanced look at society in general, particularly those struggling at the bottom.
With all of the problems associated with feminism, there are still inherent inequities associated with gender that need fixing.
That said, although I am a feminist, I too am I guess what you’d call a “peoplist.” I agree – the rights of the disabled, minorities, LGBT community, the poor, children, and elderly ALL matter equally. However, their issues are different from those specific to being a woman, and deserve their own forum in which to address the societal problems specific to them.
Maybe that will be tomorrow’s post? 🙂
Thank you for opening up this dialogue! It’s important for people to talk about this respectfully with each other, and I don’t think we do that enough.
This reply of yours, it is fantastic.
Having people spell out the meaning of feminism, showing me their specific fight, helps me to understand the ideas and ideals behind the movement.
As a cataloger, I would create a Peoplism category with subcategories for all the disenfranchised people whose forced inequalities need to be broken down and discarded. Women would be one such subcategory and it would espouse all the issues you’ve mentioned and the reasons not giving women equality is harmful for society as a whole.
Because, you know, I like to classify things.
Thank you for your reply and for this post, in general. It’s good stuff for my brain to chew on.
Erica O recently posted…Shaving cream and toilet paper: Recipe for disastrous fun
I could get on board with that idea. 🙂 Human rights for all!
You lost me on #1. ; )
The fact of the matter is, girls are far outpacing boys. The fact that your bodies also create and nurture babies makes it incredibly challenging for your generation. You girls are doing more than us boys in the workforce, and doing the majority of the housework/child raising (statistically speaking). I’m not saying it’s fair, but for a large portion of women, feminism brought even more inequality in work than before. Which, as a lazy male, I’m all for. (This was mostly tongue-in-cheek).
Chris Plumb recently posted…Songs for the Missing Keys of Life
Ha! I know you too well to take that one seriously.
Yeah, the inequality in work thing sucks, which is how I know WE’RE NOT DONE. 😉 Personally, I have to stop myself from doing too much housework, and ask Mike for help. Wouldn’t you know it – he ALWAYS helps when I ask, I just have to remind myself that it’s not my job to do EVERYTHING, even though it’s been culturally conditioned in me.
Samantha Brinn Merel
I love this post. I also think that feminism has gotten harder and harder to define, especially now that people use it to mean such a negative thing. For me, feminism means choice. It means the ability to choose whether to have a career, or stay home, or some version of the two. It means that when you make the choice to work, you should be paid exactly the same as a man in your same position. It means having the choice of when and whether to have a family. I want to eradicate the term “radical feminist” from the English language, but if believing in these things makes me a radical feminist, sign me up.
Samantha Brinn Merel recently posted…Back to the Park
I know. So many people made it into something it’s not, something ugly. We need to get back to basics, and stop the internal squabbling.
And I like your definition and ideas – they don’t seem so radical to me.
your list makes feminism easy to define and almost impossible to not be. but yeah, let’s all be peoplists. aren’t we close to the point where we just respect people on what they say and do and not their gender or race or whatever.. i mean, can’t we all just get the frig along.
icescreammama recently posted…If you ask me, brushing your teeth is a gift. My kids prefer money.
I wish we were all at that point, and that we didn’t need to struggle anymore! Surprisingly, there are still men and women living in medieval times… 🙁
Excellent!!! And the last line is perfect. Such a great point that none of those things would be the case today without feminism and it’s hard to believe we’re still debating the rest in this day and age. But we persevere. We’ll get there.
Linda Roy recently posted…100 Word Song: Uncertainty
I know. I love the image of that woman hold the sign that says “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit.” We’ll get there.
I believe I enjoy sex..I just realized I am a feminist. In all honesty whenever I hear about feminism its like something that leaves a bad taste on your mouth instead of just being the simple idea that women are people. Its not a badge that I would have worn because I was misinformed about what it really was.
You break it down so easily that I can’t help but see why I SHOULDN’T be afraid to announce to the world that I am a feminist.
Shanique recently posted…Third World Blogger
I think a lot of people are misinformed about it – I know that I was, before college, which is why I think it’s important to raise these issues and educate ourselves. 🙂
renée a. schuls-jacobson
Card carrying feminist here. Always have been. Always will be. 🙂
renée a. schuls-jacobson recently posted…Overnight Camp: A Kiss and Tell Account
My kinda lady! 😉
Guess I’m a feminist 🙂 Hope it gets to a point when it means we are just people.
Kate recently posted…Our first date
Me too! Welcome to the club. 🙂
I love your list so much! I’ve always identified myself as a feminist, which made my last relationship so much harder and soul crushing. Besides the abuse, he’d always go on and on about how unequal pay actually is fair due to pregnancies, blah, blah blah…it made me so angry! And what made it worse, is that I knew he wasn’t the only one who thought like that. It just makes absolutely no sense to me! I mean, damn, we should get paid MORE for doing our jobs WHILE pregnant! Anyway, yes, yes, yes to your list.
Ericamos recently posted…Why Free Clinics Are Free
I know. It hurts so much to see misinformed people spread their opinions far and wide, further misinforming others. I was just as misinformed going in to college, which is why I felt compelled to say this…
Yay – I’m a feminist! But booo – the term is still so laden with images of angry bra burners. Can it be fixed? I’m not sure. Maybe we need a new cool name for people who fit the criteria of your list.
How about just “people”?
Alexis recently posted…Is Your Crib as Safe as You Think?
I can’t wait until we’re all just people, lol.
Woah. How’d I miss this one? This was fantastic. And I agree- feminism has gotten such a terrible reputation and unjustly so. Go YOU!
Julie DeNeen recently posted…The BlogHer Panic Has Begun
Thanks! It needed to be said, especially since I didn’t start out as a believer, lol.