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Several of the articles here have started as conversations. This is one of those. And it’s a conversation I keep finding myself in.
This guy said he does believe in feminism but doesn’t want to call himself a feminist. He said he wants a word that doesn’t have the “femme” in it, but that means everybody is equal, sure, men and women, but also that is more inclusive of other terms of gender/sexual identities like gay, trans, etc.
I understand what he’s saying, but to me, this points to just how deep misogyny has placed itself. Ok, sure, Equality is our goal, and maybe that’s the only true umbrella word, but for all intents and purposes, I think Feminism does that, and more.
Even though you believe that men and women are socially, economically, and politically equal, different but the same, you can’t use the word that today we are using to mean exactly that?! Because it has the “femme” in it?!
Feminism is that umbrella word for equality that we need today. We need to put females at the forefront in the progress toward equality, and in doing so, equality of all peoples will progress with more success than if we let the misogynistic mentality in power continue to control our resources.
If feminism means that women are equal to men, equal in the sense that we are capable of everything and anything we aspire to, and have not been treated as such, and are still not treated as such, then this means that all men and women should be treated equal, regardless of where on the male/female spectrum of individual identifies. It is the term that means all humans are equal. It does not mean that women are better than men. It means that we want to be treated as HUMANS – as men are treated, with respect and trust because they are believed to be capable and responsible humans. There does not need to be a strict divide, there cannot be a strict divide anymore.
But to call yourself a humanist, instead of a feminist, because you think that’s a better word for the equality we’re striving for, is to not acknowledge the fact that women and the feminine aspects of our natures have been looked down upon, seen as less valuable than our male counterparts. It’s the same as saying all lives matter instead of black lives matter – it’s not acknowledging the issues at hand. The true oppression that we have felt as a female gender, and that black people have felt, must be acknowledged in order to be rectified. This is the first step. We must have empathy.
This guys says to me, “You must be happy then, with the #metoo movement.” Ummm… That’s really not a good way to put it, but yes, I am happy that boys and girls are speaking out against sexual harassment and assault, because we cannot let the world function like that anymore. We must be comfortable speaking up for ourselves, and I made the point that this movement is not just for girls. Boys get raped and taken advantage of all the time, and it’s not a weakness to say that you’ve been victimised, because we are all just humans and it is possible for any one of us to be susceptible to exploitation!
He said, “Don’t you think a guy is a pussy if he gets raped?” And to that I say, absolutely not, he is a victim. And don’t you see the sexism in that entire statement? You’re calling a man a female body part when he’s been assaulted?? The toxic masculinity in that statement is terrifying. To feel the pressure to be so manly that you can’t prosecute your rapist, is terribly sad and cannot continue. Thus, women must also come forward against their aggressors, and inspire men to do the same, and see the uselessness in rejecting vulnerability. It is incredibly destructive to the person and to society to blame the victim.
If you are a humanist, be a feminist, too. Say that you are feminist in your conversation with others, that you believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. It is not a projection of women being better than men, but better than they’ve been thought of historically. Treat us better than we have been treated in the past. Let us have ownership over our bodies and dreams and desires. Men have owned everything for a long time. Women have engrained the feeling of less-than, and we’re finally starting to see ourselves as more than, not necessarily more than men, but more than we’ve thought of ourselves, more than we’ve been thought of.
We need to solve the world’s problems creatively and collaboratively, and that means women must come to the front. To not tap into the potential of a more feminine ways of life is to disregard beautiful perspectives. We must look at things in a new light. We all must be more woke.