I was at a Starbucks a few weeks ago, meeting up with my best friend after months of separation. The college atmosphere was fairly new to both of us, him being an art school student while I attended one of the most liberal universities in the country. We were talking about our day-to-day activities and lives when he popped one of the questions I've come to dread over the months.
"Aren't you a political science major? Ugh, please don't bring up politics, it's such an annoying thing these days."
I wasn't surprised. Myself and other political science students have been told this many times. Politics have evolved over the decades. There used to be a time when people with different ideologies could engage in civil discussions about current events. Now it's turned into an ongoing debate of what is right and what is wrong. People don't put aside their differences as easily to find their happy medium.
I asked my best friend why he thought of politics in that way when his answer took me by surprise.
"It's all of this feminist talk. I'm sick of it. Since when did some feminists find it okay to blatantly hate men as part of "supporting women?"
I couldn't find myself disagreeing. That's when I knew that feminism isn't always what it strives to be. Claiming to be a "feminist" these days doesn't just entail supporting women for what they choose to do. Many feminists have changed that definition to include degrading the majority of men for the actions of a select few. It's not uncommon for people to claim that all men are rapists, for example. Good men exist too. It's unfair that this thinking extremely present in feminist ideology, and often causes many feminists to debate their stances using flawed arguments.
What many feminists fail to realize, is that equal opportunity does not always relate to equal outcome. Just because women are given the ability to do something men do does not mean they will be treated exactly the same for those things. This is the sad reality that we live in. Look at promiscuity, for example. Why is it that when a man is promiscuous, he is awarded for his behavior? A man could have had many sexual partners in his past and still find it possible to settle down with a female at some point. Look at it from a female's perspective, however. If a woman has had multiple sexual partners and tries to settle down with a man, why is it that many of these women are looked down on? They've only done what men do, after all. This is what I'm arguing. Feminists need to realize that it's a huge step in itself to be able to do the same things men have been doing for years. A woman wasn't even allowed to go to work at one point. Now, the CEO of PepsiCo is a woman! However, it will still take more time for women to be able to elicit the same responses and outcomes as men.
Some feminists also need to understand that just because someone doesn't believe in something they do, it doesn't make that person their enemy. Feminism isn't about just believing what you think is right. Just because a feminist believes that a woman can have sexual intercourse with as many partners as she wants doesn't make it right in everyone's eyes. Yes, that woman has been granted sexual freedom but it is wrong of people to assume that everyone should be okay with it. I certainly believe that a woman can have sexual freedom. Free the nipple! Do I necessarily believe that it's right or do I partake in it? No. But this is what feminism should be about. It's about understanding that different people have different opinions but that it's okay. As long as women are focused on progressing and creating change, that's what is important.
In no way am I undermining the effects of feminism or the strength of feminism in this article; I believe that feminism is a unified force that has allowed for a lot of change to take place. More women are making themselves visible in political affairs as are women in the workforce. It's wonderful, really. Feminism is what has empowered me to write this article. I'm writing this in hopes that feminist ideology will change, that it will become more inclusive. Here's to hoping that when a male calls himself a feminist, he isn't made fun of for it.
Here's to hoping that when people declare themselves a feminist, they aren't looked down for it.