Are you a feminist?
This was the question posed to me by my best friend as I was laying in bed, watching Law and Order: SVU while eating popcorn. She had just come home from her internship at Women and Children’s Services, where she sees women who have been taken advantage of and abused day in and day out. No one had ever asked me, point blank, if I was a feminist, and I didn’t know how to respond.
You see, the whole idea of “feminism” has warped over time. The original idea was that women and men are equal and deserve to be treated as equal. That’s it. If you believe that, you are a feminist. There’s no man-hating, no outlandish demonstrations, no calls for making the two sexes indistinguishable. You just view men and women as equals, colleagues if you will. By that definition, every woman, every person should be a feminist.
So, what happened? What event turned us all away. Why are we ashamed to stand up for ourselves, and support our rights to be viewed as equals? Why, when faced with the simple question, “Are you a feminist?” do we hesitate?
The Answer? Feminazis. The feminist radicals who make it seem that the only way to be a successful and powerful woman is to take that success and power away from a man. The women who think all men are misogynists, that all men view us as subhuman, and that all men are out to get us. These women, the feminazis, who have made life a true battle of the sexes, are the ones setting women back fifty years. Their immature and argumentative tactics are used for mere shock value, at large. It’s enough to give most women secondhand embarrassment, which causes them — us — to sulk away from the feminist movement.
Radical feminists are the women who are burning bras, refusing to shave, and demanding abortions for all, pornography for none. They’re shouting for their cause. Screaming that they deserve equality — and in doing so, reassuring people they don’t deserve it. They act like barbarians and fuel real misogynists all the while. They liken themselves to female pioneers like Abigail Adams and Susan B. Anthony, when in reality, they are nothing more than the over-emotional, illogical, crazed women men say they are.
They fail to realize that they are the problem.
Yes, women were oppressed for thousands, if not millions of years. Yes, there are men who are rapists. Yes, there are men who abuse women. And yes, there are real, live misogynists out there. But that’s not most men. Attacking anyone who doesn’t live within the confines of your warped ideology won’t get you anywhere.
I’m putting my foot down. I am a feminist — a person who believes in the equality and fair treatment of women — and I’m sick of these women ruining the word. We should all be feminists. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, if you’re white or black, if you’re old or young — whatever! If you have a vagina, you need to be a feminist. Throw out all the political bullshit that comes with that label, and focus on the true meaning of feminism: equality for all genders.
In this past year, America ranked 23rd (FALLING from 22nd) on World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report. On that same report, we came in 60th for representation of women in the political establishment. We came in an embarrassingly low 67th for wage equality. In 2012, women earned 77 cents to men’s dollar — one third of this gap could not be explained by any of the common factors affecting earnings (hours worked, education, employment sector, etc.). These issues are real, and we can’t ignore them just because some crazy ladies gave the word a stigma.
I’m not saying change who you are. Wear the bows, and curls, and sundresses. Pamper yourself with a mani-pedi. Indulge in that Netflix binge. You don’t need to become manly — in fact, I think the most powerful women are the ones who are able to become successful in a dress and heels. Be true to yourself, but demand to be treated as an equal. So, let’s take back feminism, because it’s about girl power, and it’s important.
I am a feminist. Are you?