Sunday, August 17, 2014

Who Needs Feminism?

I have only been interested in feminism
since January of this year.
I can't remember how I felt about it before,
to be honest.

But now
it's a basic food group
of my intellectual diet.

I recently learned that
there's a Tumblr called
that has posts like this,
uploaded by real people.




There's also a Tumblr called
that has posts like this,
uploaded by real people.




(Obviously,
I selected these examples as typical of each website,
and my selection is inherently biased by my opinions.
If interested, please visit each website
to gain a fuller understanding
of the arguments voiced by each group.)

My initial feeling
was that the Women Against Feminism contributors
are just missing something.

Some of my rebuttals to their arguments include:

-Catcalling is not as serious as rape,
but is still emotionally destructive,
and accepting it will lead to a culture
that embraces violence against women.

-Feminism is not a trend.
It's an ongoing movement
to heal centuries-old wounds
of inequality and violent hierarchies.

-Being feminine is not incompatible
with feminism.

-A patriarchy is a system in which
men hold most of the power
and women are largely excluded from it.
Even if we don't live in a de jure patriarchy,
we still live in a de facto one,
even in the United States.

But despite all my rebuttals,
I had a feeling that
these women must be somewhat right.
There are many of them.
They have some valid points to make.

What I was most struck by,
after reviewing hundreds of their comments,
is that these women don't personally feel
that they are oppressed
or that they are victims.
The men in their lives
treat them as equals,
and they are respected
and loved.

They uphold traditional values
and worry about a movement
that advocates for more liberal values,
which, if allowed to take root,
may upset the society that they hold dear
as the healthiest setting
for raising a family.

In my own life,
I don't feel that
violent male-dominance hierarchies
have affected me personally.

My parents are paragons
of equality in marriage.

I am smart.
I went to a charter school
where girls excelled at math and science
alongside their male peers.

My dating relationships
have been full of respect.

But.

I can remember
scores of times
that I have laughed at misogynistic jokes
told by my male friends.

I did this on purpose,
so that I would be seen as
a cool girl--
one who understood
and could parody
the shortcomings of her own sex
without getting whiny
or being a buzzkill
or launching into a lecture.

If we as women look at our lives,
I think we will find these instances,
no matter how much we think
we don't need feminism.

I think all women
and all men everywhere
need feminism.

We need to build respect and teamwork
if we are to succeed as humans.

But the question is
Can you make people care about something
that they don't think affects them?

Should they have to care about it?

If you want to make them care about it,
are you just as bad as what you're fighting?

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