I have refrained from entering the realm of feminism to this point. I feel, as a man, I’m not really qualified to discuss the subject. After all, I never have, and never will, experience the inequalities and misogynistic treatment women face on a daily basis.
However, after the events of last week, I felt compelled to deposit my two cents.
I have exiled myself from news media, but thanks to Facebook and Twitter major news still makes it through my hastily constructed shield. The major last week (or, the major news relevant to this post) was that Emma Watson gave a very moving speech on gender equality in front of the United Nations. I have not seen the speech, but I have read that it was very passionate and moving.
In response, people lashed out at Watson. From The Mary Sue:
4chan’s b board responded to Watson’s rallying cry by threatening to make the Goodwill Ambassador the next victim in the wave of nude picture leaks that have happened over the past two months, complete with the countdown website Emma You Are Next. In addition to threatening to commit a sex crime against the actress and activist, users also spread a#RIPEmma hashtag on Twitter along with pictures of a fake report on the actress’ “death.”
If this isn’t proof that feminism is needed I have no idea what is. These are despicable acts committed by despicable people. No one deserves to be brutalized in that manner. Especially for peacefully espousing ideals of equality.
In the end, the threats turned out to be a hoax designed to drive traffic to a serial internet troll site. I’m not sure what’s more deplorable: the threats or the very shallow reason for them. Both bespeak an inhumanity so loathsome it makes me incoherent with rage.
The entire debacle made me consider my own views on feminism. I have sat silently while other bloggers and writers have taken to the internet in their quest for equality. I have encouraged those who speak out with supportive comments. I have promoted their posts via social media. I have yet, however, to address the subject in my own words.
The following is what I think I know about feminism:
- Feminism is about gender equality. There is a misconception out there that feminists are man-haters and want to reverse gender roles. The misconception is that women want to subjugate men. While there is no doubt a very miniscule percentage of women who would like that, the majority of women want simply to be treated the same as men. They want they same opportunities. The same pay. The same respect.
- Feminism is about choice. There is no right or wrong way to be a woman. If a woman wants to stay at home and raise her children, then more power to her. If a woman wants a career, the power should be within her to do so. Whether a woman is a stay-at-home mother or a hard-working, career-driven woman, she wants the ability to choose whatever path she wishes to travel without gender as a barricade.
- Feminism is about women not being treated as objects. Women are thinking, feeling beings – the same as men. They want to be able to walk down the street without being cat-called or harassed. They don’t want to live in constant fear of being raped or assaulted. They don’t want to alter their entire wardrobe to avoid attracting the attention of men who can’t control their urges. They want to be able to report said crimes without being blamed for their victimhood. They also want to be valued for the things they can offer: love, affection, direction, knowledge, writing, singing, painting, wisdom, etc. Women have so much more to offer than their bodies.
Looking through the things I think I know about feminism, it’s hard to imagine anyone resisting feminism, but it happens. When a woman touts feminist ideals she is attacked for her courage. When a woman dares to point out a man’s privilege he becomes defensive and angry. When a woman has been wronged by a man it is often covered up to protect the man. When a woman is raped people want to know what she was wearing, as if somehow a woman’s attire is a reasonable excuse to sexually assault her.
For the record, I am all for feminism. I believe men and women should have equal pay and equal rights. I think men and women should both be able to choose how they live their lives without gender stereotypes influencing their decisions. I believe that women have much more on their insides than their outsides.
Feminism, at its core, is about basic human decency. It’s about treating people with respect. It’s about treating people how you’d like to be treated.
I don’t see what the problem with feminism is.