Why I'm Not A "Feminist"
...because I'm actually a Feminist!. What's the difference? I use the term "Feminist" to refer to “Feminist” a stereotypical media character who exists to destroy what I call "Feminist!s" (the real deal) by portraying herself an extremist asexual witch.
I'm not the type of person who shies away from feminism for fear of being thought of us a “Feminist.” I call myself a Feminist! with much pride. I believe that gender equality is a fact, not a right, and I believe it mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and religiously. There is not one bone in my body that would beg to differ. I believe in feminism as a movement, and the incredible leaps and bounds our fore-mothers and fore-fathers have made to give women equal treatment. Yet, something happened to me that really made me consider the way society sees feminism, and how we Feminist!s really have our work cut out for us.
I was at a group dinner with a bunch of my friends one night. The conversation was normal—from school, to people, to events, etc. Somehow, the conversation shifted to feminism—this time not just the “Eden the Neurotic She-Devil” conversation, but a real, substantive one—and the adult leader of my group, whom I respect very much, commented: “Sure, I believe men and women are equal, I'm just not a 'feminist'.” I'm sure you understand why this was confusing—after all, its sometimes difficult to see the difference between someone talking about a Feminist! and a “Feminist”; equality of genders being the definition for the former, I had much reason to be confused.
This conversation stuck with me; it's not like I have been spared the I-believe-in-equality-but-there's-no-way-in-hell-I'm-calling-myself-a-feminist shtick. Over the years, much to my distress, feminism has been demonized and looked at as a misandronistic cult—far from the reality.
My all-time favorite politically incorrect and completely obscene quote about feminism is by Pat Robertson: “[Feminists] leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.” Somehow, this is what “feminist”s are—no matter what Feminist!s are actually saying. The saddest part is that no matter how many times I say I'm not a man hater (I actually rather like men) or that I don't want women to dominate the world, people simply can't disconnect the term from the tropes.
Egalitarianism. Women's Rights. Equality. Women's Liberation. Suffrage. What do these words mean? Feminist!. You see, feminism is just as much masculinism—it's a movement devoted to ensuring that the equality of both genders is protected and sustained in society. Right now, and for the past long, long time, it's been women that have been treated or considered less than equal; the feminist movement was established to right patriarchy's wrongs. If, however, it would be the other way around, I have no doubt in my mind that feminists, or masculinists, as they would come to call themselves, would picket for men's equality as well. Some of these terms have magical affects—still stating that you're about sustaining equality throughout the genders—but with no black magic connotations attached.
So the way to redefine feminism is simply to define it! We must find the right words, the rights pictures, and the right expressions so that feminism is not lost in its own title. We must articulate that its not gynocentric—it's a movement for men and women alike; we must push that it's not an idea that you can take or leave, its an inherent fact of nature, about rights that are being taken away. We don't need to start over, we don't need to coin a new word—we need to express feminism in a way will get the message across: we are equal, we are fighting for rights that are long overdue, and enough is enough with this misogynistic bull that we take everyday for calling ourselves what we are.
I would never say that feminism is not something we should affiliate with; I certainly live my life by the movement. Its done amazing things that I am thankful for every single day—things that make blogs like this able to exist. Of course there is nothing shameful about being a feminist; it's being a “feminist [nasty emphasis by those who don't know what they're talking about added]” that's a problem. Having people ignore everything you have to say because they heard the word feminism and assumed you're that “feminist” witch—which leaves your logical, fool-proof, equality argument down-trodden, along with your dignity. Somehow, we must both stick to our Feminist! roots and present ourselves in a way that society will hear without immediately associating to the “She's A Witch” scene in Monty Python. Somehow society must accept that, as the glorious Gloria Steinem said, “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn but to unlearn.” We must represent ourselves LOUDLY and clearly, for all our sakes.
I am proud to be a Feminist!, even if it means I'll have to face ignorance, I am proud to try to find the right terminology to make our movement heard loud and clear, and I am proud to slap anyone who wants to call me a communist witch for fighting for my God-given equality.
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