July 13, 2019
I am a feminist. There I have said it. But that being said, what does it mean?
Dictionary.com provides the following:
Feminist – a verb or a noun meaning advocating social, political, legal and economic rights for women equal to those of men or as a noun, the advocate of those rights.
This is my view of what Feminism means to me and what I have tried to teach my daughters.
In addition, it means strength, independence, self- reliance and bravery. Again, all characteristics I have shared with my daughters and now my granddaughters. The hope is always that they will be confident, secure women unafraid to speak their minds or stand up for injustice, mistreatment and prejudice where ever they see it.
That being said, I have noticed a trend lately in some young women that is a deviation from my understanding and belief in the above mentioned definition of Feminism.
I have witnessed young women who are using the hard fought victories of true feminist as a platform for belittling and minimizing others. Just plain treating them badly. The blatant disrespect of other humans beings, mostly men. Men are not the enemy. Please do not blame all for the faults of few.
There is a difference between speaking your mind for a cause, a well- thought out response is valuable in the feminist fight, in your face is not.
Taking a stand on an issue that is important to the Feminist cause (equal pay, human rights to name a few) all good. Being a force in an unjust world, to right the wrongs, level the playing field all excellent use of the Feminist platform.
However, I am noticing more and more, blatant disregard for others, poor treatment, talking down to or simply bullying all in the name of Feminism. Do not disrespect others under the umbrella of Feminism, it taints our purpose.
This downward trend concerns me, as a mother, a grandmother, a friend. Am I sending the right message to my daughters? Or have I encouraged them to be to be hurtful, domineering and to lose sight of the real meaning of Feminism?
In my experience and observations, the primary target of the misdirection of Feminism is men. While some of the minimizing and degradation of women is conducted by men, it is not all men. Therefore all men should not be punished as if the entire species is at fault. They are not.
There are good men ( lots of them) who support Feminism and believe in our fight. They stand behind and cheer us on. They come to our rallies and meetings because they believe in our cause. Do not judge the whole on the actions of a few.
If a man opens a door, he isn’t being condescending to our cause, he is simply extending a courtesy taught to him somewhere along the way. Smile and say thank you. I do.
Every compliment is not leering or a segue into something more seedy. It might just be a heart felt observation. Nice boots, you look nice today, nothing more or less. I give compliments to men and women and they are genuine and without ulterior motive.
As a culture our young women are extinguishing the learned identities of men (in some cases). The traditional roles of men are getting lost and morphing into something indistinguishable in the new Feminist definition. This concerns me.
Feminism is taking a turn away from the traditional definition and in that turn we are losing our hard fought for victories as they are being replaced by more aggressive actions and more in your face type interactions.
Point in case, I was in a grocery store and was listening to a 20 something woman speaking to her husband/partner as he was pushing the cart around the store. They were clearly not a team and he was timidly pushing the cart, catering to her every demand. As I heard her bark orders at him, I felt for the young man who seemed to have no idea or definition as to what his role was supposed to be. I didn’t either. At one point, she proclaimed loudly at him “I am a woman, this is how I am, take it or leave it” He took it and plodded his way through the store. I cringed at the behavior.
Please do not misunderstand me, I am a Feminist and I believe in fighting for equality and rights for all. I do not believe in rewriting the roles of men to fit into a new version of Feminism. I believe in men who fight along side us, but still open a door now and again.
When you are discussing Feminism with a young impressionable mind, present a true definition as the one above. When you see an injustice or misuse of the intent of Feminism, try to right it. Above all, be kind to other humans and appreciate the roles they play and realize the good in all.
Until Next Time,