Feminsim. Just the word evokes visions of militant hairy women shouting. It is such a polarizing word. Some people think feminism means more rights for women than men. I’m not sure where they got the idea, but it is extremely harmful to everyone. I will not take up this space complaining about the MRA, however. I don’t have the time it would take for me to rant. Instead, I want to share my journey to feminism in hopes those who stereotype it will relate and open their minds.
I was never a feminist. For years I would not describe myself as one and thought all of them were crazy feminazis. I wanted to be the “cool girl”, I pretended to be the “cool girl”. The “cool girl” is not a feminist. She is not there for women, she is all about serving men. Then something started to happen, I aged a bit. I got tired of pretending. I got tired of shoving down my feelings and acting like I didn’t care. Once I started to shed that skin, I started to see all the ways in which society hurt women. From rape culture to the wage gap. I started to read articles and books about feminism and I woke up. The myth about society’s visions of feminism is that it’s not just for women. Feminism is good for everyone.
Men; have you ever been told to “man up” or “grow a pair”? Have you ben mocked for feeling or being interested in anything traditionally seen as feminine? That’s why you need feminism too. Men should be able to openly express themselves without ridicule. Also, they don’t deserve to be put in a box and told how to act. If women everywhere are educated and empowered, all the burden of being a provider does not fall on men’s shoulders. We can share it. When women are equal to men, we share all of life’s burdens equally, that only benefits society as a whole.
What’s funny is that for a world that loves to use up resources, so many places ignore their greatest one; women. Many studies show that when a country begins to educate and empower it’s women, the entire society benefits. Half the population of so many places are not being constructive members of the society because the hyper patriarchal culture keeps them in the home instead of in the workforce. If every man in the world were a feminist, believed in women being equal, who knows what kind of world we could be living in now.
My journey to feminism was brought on largely by Social Media. It started with #everydaysexism on Twitter. I watched the TED talk after. Then another documentary. Then I was lead to read Simone de Beauvoir’s work, then Gloria Steinem. The deeper I got, the more I realized the ways misogyny had impacted my life. How many times I had been groped in a bar and accepted it because society told me my body was not mine. It opened me up to seeing how women are treated in countries like Saudi Arabia, and informed me about the women being blamed for their own rapes in Sri Lanka. I hope Social Media will create an entire generation of strong, feminist men and women as it did for me.
Women’s rights are human rights. No one loses out with gender equality, and we should all fight for it.