There has almost always been a negative connotation around the words “feminism” and “feminist.” With the prevalence of rape and domestic violence cases, I think it’s important to understand what feminism really is, and why everyone (men AND women) should support the movement.
My freshman year of college, I wrote a paper on a piece we read in class about domestic violence. In my cover letter to my professor, I wrote, “I wouldn’t consider myself a feminist, but I do believe in women’s rights.” When I got the paper back with her notes, she had written a comment beside my statement that read, “That’s what feminism is! We aren’t male-bashing militants!”
That is when I knew I was a feminist.
Society has turned feminism into this bad word, where women hate men and want them all dead and burned at the stake. I, too, had been brainwashed into believing that’s what feminism was.
There’s the feminazi, the angry feminist, the “waste of a woman” who doesn’t want kids and the “forever alone” feminist. A woman is not less of a woman simply because she does not want kids. Or, God forbid a woman wants both a family AND a career because that would just be impossible for her to handle.
Nobody ever asks men, “How can you be both a Congressman and a father?” Voicing your desire for gender equality should not place you in this box where you will be single your whole life.
Yes, we are angry; if men were perpetually objectified, abused and oppressed, they’d be angry, too.
A recent study published on The White House’s Twitter account read that by the age of 65, the average woman will have lost $431,000 over her working lifetime because of the wage gap.
Data compiled from the Census Bureau and The Department of Labor Statistics calculated that in Wyoming, a woman’s average earnings is 64 percent less than a man’s average earnings (that’s $33,152 to their $51,932).
Occasionally, getting free drinks at the bar does not make up for you making more than me, if we have the same level of education and experience. You have a penis, so you get more money than me? Ah, okay. Cool.
Then there are the rape statistics in America: Nearly one in four women has been raped at some point in her life. Think about it this way: If you have four female friends, it’s happened to one of them, whether you know it or not.
What’s more frightening is that this is just the statistic for reported rape or attempted rape cases. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen to men because it does, but the numbers are staggeringly higher for women. Not to mention, 85 percent of reported victims of domestic violence cases are women.
We want our male peers to treat as equals. We want our fathers to stop pushing us into career fields where we should “rely on our looks,” not our brains. We want our male friends to stop making rape jokes and blaming women for “letting it happen.”
We want the men we date to treat us like human beings, not sexual objects or trophies. We want to be able to safely walk down the street at night. We want men to stop abusing women; we want women to stop abusing men. Nobody should be hitting anybody.
We don’t want you to be better than us, and we don’t want to be better than you. We simply want equality.
That’s all feminism is.
Photo Courtesy: Garry Knight