Why People (including women) have the wrong idea about feminism.
I was browsing my Facebook feed and came across a link to this pin. It is a play off of the “Who needs feminism” blog on tumblr and I think it really reflects the problem of how feminism is viewed in our society. Feminism is a movement and ideology aimed at raising women to the same political, economic, and social status as their male counterparts in society. It isn’t about demonizing men or blaming men for our problems. Feminists don’t attack men, they attack the patriarchal society that forces men to play a very specific role. In our patriarchal society, men are given the elevated role as the dominant gender. This is clearly seen in the gender gap phenomenon. American women are only paid 77 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts earn. Men are also hired and promoted more often and elected into public office more often then women. There is an obvious disparity between the sexes. This phenomenon is not because men are cruel demons who are all misogynistic. The root of the problem lies much deeper than that. Men especially are subjected to incredible pressure to fit our patriarchal society’s idea of what it is to be “a man”. Feminists recognize that men are pressured as much as women are pressured. Women are expected to be beautiful (according to society’s unrealistic standard of beauty) and men are expected to be able to provide for their families. Women are pressured to stay home and raise children and men are pressured to buy their fiancee an expensive but relatively worthless diamond ring to prove their love and loyalty. Both women and men are told that they cannot pursue certain careers. Both sexes are subjected to incredible pressures by our current patriarchal society. Feminism is an alternative to that system. It isn’t about making a dominant sex. It is about making a society where people can be themselves and be free to live in peace and not have to fit themselves into a stereotype. Its a movement to make employers pay their workers based on merit and not on what gender and sex they are. It isn’t a battle of the sexes. Feminism is about leveling the playing field.
Ok lets get this straight: Where has it been said that there is a war against women? As I said before, women are simply victims of a Patriarchal system. And whether or not you want to call women “targets of violence” the fact remains that women make up the majority of reported rape and sexual assault victims. I’m not saying that men can’t be victims as well. They make up over 10% of sexual abuse victims. But the fact that the majority of victims are females indicates to me that there is some sort of institutionalized trend towards violence and sexual abuse against women, namely rape culture. Rape culture is the concept that rape and violence against women are institutionalized in our prevalent attitudes and that rape is normalized to the point where most of us don’t even notice it in our culture. It’s so easy to see the hyper-sexualization and objectification of women in our media culture. Practically every time I turn on my TV I am bombarded with advertisements of female eye-candy in liquor commercials. Don’t get me wrong. Slut shaming is certainly bad and part of feminism is that women shouldn’t be sexually repressed and shouldn’t be banned from dressing the way they want. But advertisements that show bikini-clad women hovering around a guy with a bottle of beer are not meant to say anything more than “if you buy this beer women will flock to you” which is pretty false but also, more problematically, portrays women as objects. They are portrayed as almost lesser mechanical creatures with a limited range of emotions who don’t really think for themselves and can only feel lust for the man with the beer. And last I checked women are much more complicated and diverse creatures. We are humans and are not just creatures to please men. Slut shaming further contributes to the objectification of women and rape culture. Women don’t ever put on clothes with the intention of getting harassed or even raped. The idea that is so normalized in our culture and is completely disturbing is that if I wear a short skirt and a top that shows off my cleavage that I am “asking for it”. Who would ever ask to be raped? Rape is one of the most horrific experiences a person can be subjected to. The idea that women are asking for sex by what they wear is simply not true. The only way to know if a woman wants sex is to ask for her consent when she is completely sober and rational. Sadly, women and men are equally guilty of participating in slut-shaming and rape culture. How many times have you heard the phrase “I raped that last chemistry final!” or some other similar phrase that normalizes rape? It may not seem like a big deal but by talking about rape like this we are only normalizing rape and making it more socially acceptable. When we call another girl a slut not only are we hating on our fellow female but we are objectifying her and slut-shaming. This is a trend that needs to stop.
And lastly: If you claim to be an adult who is capable of taking responsibility for yourself and your actions and you define yourself and derive your own value based on your own standards then congrats! You are the spitting image of what a feminist is. Feminists are people who are just like you. They come from different walks of life and may have different values but they all believe women are able to assert their individuality and define themselves for who they are and not as a part of the traditional gender role