I’ve been reading about the #WomenAgainstFeminism movement in the media recently, and honestly, some of what is being said about not needing feminism is so out of touch with the reality of what feminism is.
Feminism is the movement that brought women from out of the Dark Ages. It fought for our rights, and as the movement expanded, it began to fight for not only women’s rights, but equality for all genders. Of course, just as within any group, there are extremists. The vast majority of us are not hanging out in the polar ends. We believe men should be treated with respect and that respect should be mutual.
This photo addressed a few misconceptions that hit close to home for me, so let me begin by trying to correct those and finding some common ground.
Men and women are good at different things
It’s fairly obvious that people have different skill sets. Not everyone can change a tire or bake a cake, but the stereotype that only men are adept at working on cars while only women can efficiently wash laundry falls flat in today’s world. Men and women have shared roles for decades, and while there is nothing wrong with traditional roles if everyone involved is happy, there is also nothing wrong with changing those up. Feminism allows for people to fulfill whatever role they so choose. No one is born into a a particular set of skills because of their gender.
I don’t like degrading men/I love that my husband is a gentleman
I’d like to say I’m shocked that this woman believes feminism degrades men or that we don’t appreciate gentlemen, but I’ve heard this story so many times before I don’t need the book. Feminists have been labeled as “man haters” for as long as the movement has existed. I was never advised that men are our enemy or that I should hate them.
Moreover, feminism has increasingly drawn men who are tired of having their Man Cards revoked for choosing to spend equal time parenting and helping to support their significant other’s life choices. Men have realized that in supporting women emotionally and encouraging their independence, everyone benefits. All involved are happier, and relationships are based on mutual respect and reciprocity rather than socially constructed expectations of gender stereotypes that might leave one person feeling the relationship is lopsided. Feminists value our interpersonal relationships, and want nothing more than to strengthen them for all parties involved.
I feel no shame that sometimes I need help
I’m not sure where this particular thought comes from at all, especially since we all need help sometimes. Feminism isn’t about shame in asking for help. In fact, feminism values the ideal of a helping hand. We could all benefit from a little more understanding when another needs help.
I don’t blame men for my lack of success
I don’t blame men for my lack of success either, but don’t be mistaken, sexism in the workplace still exists.
Most of the time people get in return what they put out. In that aspect, if someone isn’t trying they can’t and shouldn’t blame anyone else. However, and this is important–in a world where only 3% of the world’s Fortune 500 companies are headed by women–there is a definite problem. So, it stands to reason that women who are trying don’t always receive what is fair. In the Forbes article Why Most Women Will Never Become CEO, the author, Gene Marks, states the reason why this might be is, “Men are still trying to take women seriously in the workplace. But most haven’t progressed beyond the maturity level of my teenage son and his friends.”
So, do I blame men exclusively? No, but for all the strides society has made, the playing field still remains uneven for women.
I grew up with ‘traditional values’
This might come as a shock, but most feminist have strong ‘traditional’ values. Meaning we value empathy, honesty, loyalty, trust and compassion for other people. Treating others with the same respect we would enjoy for ourselves is part of being a feminist. We wouldn’t be asking for that treatment if we didn’t expect to give it to others.
As for sexual values, yes, feminism advocates for women to be in charge of their sexuality and reproductive choices. We work hard to end sexual violence, end blaming victims for their sexual assaults, and also ending the notion that others are entitled to a woman’s sexuality. If a woman decides to have sex, she shouldn’t be shamed for it. Some of us enjoy very open sexual relationships, while others may not.
Feminism works to help people realize that sexual stereotypes aren’t indicative of our value as women.
I don’t think women participating in #WomenAgainstFeminism realize they are probably more feminist than not. I mean, most of them probably enjoy the right to vote, receive an education and choose their own career path. They probably appreciate that there are legal protections against sexual harassment in the work place, and the wage gap between men and women is closing, and that most companies allow for paid time off when a child is born.
These are all things in which feminism had a hand.
Feminism is about recognizing that women have a voice, and that they are supported in the decisions they make in their lives. We are a diverse group that ranges from happily married stay at home moms, to the career women choosing a child-free life, and every type of woman in between.
One of the problems with the world today is there is too many saying “them” and not enough saying “us”. We need a coming together to make a better, less toxic world. And you know what? We feminist will continue to work for the rights of everyone–for us or against us–so we might, one day, enjoy a world built on equality.
Tammie Niewedde shares her life with 24, 21, and 16 year old sons. She also has a 2 year old grandson whose energy level reminds her exactly how old she is (40, and she owns that proudly!). In her home, you will find a 120 pound fur factory named Dexter and a few cats whom have decided that she is merely their staff. The root of her love for books, writing, and animals comes from being a child whose only siblings were books and her animals. She is a full-time student, mother, coordinator of all that is chaos, and a hopeless list maker. Most of her writing is creative non-fiction that describes her real life adventures. Her acerbic, biting sense of humor may capture your heart, or it may induce rage. Nonetheless what she writes is true to life. You can often find her hanging out with the kiddos, studying, reading, writing, and making lists…of everything! You can find her on Facebook!