"Feminism" Isn't A Bad Word

"Feminism" Isn't A Bad Word

There are some bad "F" words, but this isn't one of them.

Women's rights have come a long way since the early suffragette days, but feminism still has negative connotations attached to it. Nothing hurts my heart more than seeing someone turn his or her nose up at the mention of “feminism” because of preconceived (and quite often false) notions that are perpetuated by society. Here are my responses to some of those notions.

“Why is it even called feminism if it’s for everyone?”

It’s true, feminism is for everyone. By Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition, feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” So why, then, is it called feminism?

Well, historically, women have been the ones who suffered inequality and sexism. Women were the ones prohibited from learning how to read, owning property, voting, purchasing birth control, opening a bank account…the list goes on. In fact, it wasn’t until 1975 that the Supreme Court retracted the ban on women serving as jury members in a trial. That’s only 42 years ago! Men have not had to fight for equal rights, and if they had, it probably would’ve been called “meninism.” (which, annoyingly enough, is a term that has recently begun appearing in popular culture…but don’t get me started on that).

Feminism, as a movement, began because women were being treaty unjustly. They were not (and in some cases are still not) equal to their male counterparts in politics, economics, or society. Feminism is called feminism, not because women want to have a higher status than men, but because they want the same status.

"Ugh, feminists are just man-haters."

Again, feminism is not about the hatred of men. Yes, it so often feels as though fighting for equality is a 'women vs. men' war. But, as I mentioned earlier, feminism isn’t about hating men; it is about being treated the same as them. Just because I identify as a feminist doesn’t mean I hate men. In fact, I want them to benefit from feminism too.

In her book We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, says,

“We stifle the humanity boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.”

The rigid boundaries of masculinity are as toxic to men as they are to women. How often do we hear “boys don’t cry” or “be a man”? What do these statements imply? That showing emotion is (a historically “feminine” trait) is a weakness that must be avoided at all costs.

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I don’t want men to be afraid to show their emotions or talk about their feelings. I don’t want them to be so scared of feeling weak or seeming vulnerable or that they aren’t allowed to just be human. If in society, men and women were treated equally, then there would be no more “boys don’t cry” because crying wouldn’t be a weakness.

It’s really difficult to be happy when you’re trapped in a cage, so dispelling the thinking that men can’t ever show “feminine” traits without being seen as weak would mean a lot more well-adjusted, emotionally healthy men.

“Aren’t feminists just loud women who burn their bras?”

Fun fact: the original “bra burning” trope comes from a 1969 protest at which no bras were actually burned. The protest took place on the Atlantic City Boardwalk where it was illegal to start a fire, so the protestors put typical “feminine” items in a “Freedom Trash Can” instead. These items, which included bras and other beauty products, were representations of the beauty standards that society enforces on women. Unfortunately, the “bra burning” falsity stuck and was used to belittle the movement and disregard the message protesters were trying to send. So no, feminists aren’t just women who burn their bras.

“Feminism isn’t needed anymore.”

Things do seem better for women now. I mean, I’m writing this article, so that means I was taught how to read and write. I’m in college, so I was allowed to pursue higher education. I voted in the last election, which means the suffragettes work paid off. So we’re all good now, right?

Gosh, I wish that were true.

Unfortunately, women are still discriminated against. We still aren’t paid the same as men. Women are often the target of abuse online. One out of every six American women has been the victim of sexual assault. Women only make up 104 of the 535 (19%) seats in Congress, 21 of the 100 seats (21%) in the Senate, and 83 of the 435 (19%) of the seats in the House of Representatives. This might be part of the reason that, in most states, tampons and pads are not seen as “necessities” and are therefore still taxed like other “tangible personal property.”

Clearly, we still need feminism. We can’t afford to think we live in a post-feminism society just because things “aren’t as bad as they used to be.” We can always do better. We must do better.

Cover Image Credit: Vanity Fair

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Modern Feminism Excludes The Women Who Need It Most

If feminists wanted to rally behind all women, they would be applauding all strong, successful women, no matter their political views

There is a new wave of feminism in America right now and it is completely misguided. This modern feminism claims to stand for the equality and support of all women, regardless of gender, religion, race, etc. But does this movement really rally for all women?

Feminists themselves have answered this for us. No. Conservative women, pro-life women, Muslim women, pro-gun women, and anyone who does not subscribe to their exact agenda are all abandoned by feminism.

Women who identify as feminists will tell you this is not true. They are steadfast in their belief that feminism stands for support and acceptance and equality of all women and will remind you of this.

Then why are pro-life women and groups kicked out of the Women's March every year? Why are feminists not raising awareness of the crippling oppression women in the Middle East are victim to? Where were feminists when women in Syria were protesting their abuse by law enforcement? Or the protests against the brutal regime in Iran?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an author and activist who was raised a devout Muslim, said in a PragerU video, "Common among many Western feminists is a type of moral confusion, in which women are said to be oppressed everywhere and that this oppression, in feminist Eve Ensler's words, is 'exactly the same' around the world; in the West just as in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran. To me, this suggests too much moral relativism and an inadequate understanding of Sharia law."

She then states that feminists have argued that non-Western women do not need "saving" and that any suggestion that they do need assistance and support from Western feminists is insulting and condescending to non-Western women.

Prior to the march, Feminists released a set of "Unity Principles," which lays out what The Women's March stands for. Thirteenth on this list is the importance of civil rights.

"We believe Civil Rights are our birthright. Our Constitutional government establishes a framework to provide and expand rights and freedoms–not restrict them. To this end, we must protect and restore all the Constitutionally-mandated rights to all our citizens, including voting rights, freedom to worship without fear of intimidation or harassment, freedom of speech, and protections for all citizens regardless of race, gender, age or disability."

Feminists are declaring the movement as "intersectional" and demanding we recognize and applaud them for their inclusivity and unity. How can they chant for protection of all citizens while demanding access to abortion, which facilitates the opposite?

"Protections for all citizens regardless of race," they say. In the United States, the abortion rate for Black women is almost four times that of White women. Abortion clinics in America are disproportionately located in poor, minority neighborhoods.

"Protections for all citizens regardless of disability," they say, even though they demand the right to abort babies who test positive for Down Syndrome or other disabilities.

I suppose the key word in this principle is "citizen". That would explain why feminists do not pay any attention to the actual oppression of women in Western countries.

If feminists wanted to rally behind all women, they would be applauding strong, successful women, no matter their political views. Instead, feminists like "comedian" Chelsea Handler are bullying women like Sarah Huckabee Sanders instead of empowering them, like they should be.

Joy Behar, a feminist host on The View, mocked Christianity, even going so far as to call it a "mental illness".

Feminism is now a bad word. It is a hypocritical, hate-filled word because of the reputation these women have given it. Women deserve empowerment, support, and equality, but this is not how we get it.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube via MRCTV

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The Revolutionary Student Front Is Holding UT Austin Accountable

On March 8, 2018 UT students found the Littlefield Fountain's waters dyed purple and a message spray painted on the wall to accompany it.

International Women's Day at UT Austin began with a message spray painted onto the Littlefield Fountain along with its waters turned purple, initially red. The message read, " This is the blood of survivors that UT ignored." The Revolutionary Student Front claimed responsibility for the act after a similar message was found on the UT pharmacy building a few weeks ago.

The "survivors" RSF is referring to are sexual assault victims. These graffiti memos come from a convicted UT pharmacy professor Richard Morrisett pleading guilty to a domestic violence charge in 2016. Morrisett still continues teaching at the University of Texas at Austin.

In an attempt to shed light on UT's assault issues on campus, their actions dim their cause. Rather than being abhorred by the numbers of sexual and domestic assault victims walking around on campus, students are furious about the tacky graffiti on UT property.

Although this group may not have gotten the response it was looking for, they bring up a good point. There are some serious issues concerning violence on and around campus, and there's not enough being done about it.

Just the other day after the first round of student government elections were over,Guneez Ibrahim talked about her experiences as a candidate for SG president.

Throughout her campaign leading up to the election, she was spat on, shoved, called derogatory names, and sent death threats by her own community.

Sadly, such acts have become a common experience for women on campus. I've heard friends talk about being spat on and having alcohol poured on them while walking home.

There are two reasons why someone would treat another person so heinously without knowing them:

1) Guneez and Hannah were such a threat that they forgot their human decency skills.

2) They were never decent human beings to begin with.

There's no excuse in the world that can justify spitting, hitting, or stalking someone simply because they hold different beliefs than you.

Hell, it's not even okay to touch someone without their permission, let alone make them suffer because of your personal unhappiness.

If you're so easily threatened by someone's vision to change the status quo, then that's you're own problem to solve. That doesn't mean you call the victim a liar when she/he comes out about their violent experiences.

As someone who's gone through it in the past and is going through it again, trust me when I say it's harder for the victim living with the scars than it is for people to give them the benefit of the doubt.

According to the 2017 sexual assault survey, 15 percent of undergraduate women have reported being raped and 28 percent said they were victims of unwanted sexual contact.

This report doesn't talk about how many students have experienced domestic violence and considering how many UTPD updates I get throughout the week, it suggests those numbers are high as well. Especially when Wildfire is quicker to alert students of dangerous situations happening on or close to campus than UT does.

Although most students prefer marching to the capitol than vandalizing school property, it's agreed that UT does have an abuse issue, specifically preventing the abuse of it's students.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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