I read an article last week that really got to me. Titled “I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists,” it was written by a female college student approximately my age, and it made me mad. While I am, and will always be, of the opinion that everyone has the right to share his or her beliefs, I am also of the opinion that people need to be ready for the backlash when they write or say something out of line, which is what this situation calls for.
The article, when boiled down and stripped of its sarcasm, is essentially one giant complaint about how women need to stop complaining about sexism and start complaining about feminism. It’s frustrating to read something like this in any case, but it’s especially frustrating when a fellow woman, who clearly does not understand the definition of the subject of her complaints, writes it. For anyone who doesn’t know, or for anyone who hasn’t heard Beyoncé’s “Flawless,” the Merriam-Webster definition of feminism is: “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” Let me say that again: “equality of the sexes”. Equality. Not “women are better than men,” not “females are the ‘dominant’ gender,” not “women feel the need to put down men for every problem we endure.” Feminism is about equality, which is something we sure as hell don’t have yet.
I hadn’t even clicked on the article yet and it had already annoyed me. The sub headline reads: “I believe that I am a strong woman, but I also believe in a strong man.” Yes, and? How does that have anything to do with feminism? It doesn’t, except that feminists believe that both men and women are equally as strong. The problem is, in today’s society, and in societies for the last thousands of years, men are always “the stronger ones.” Men are supposed to be masculine and buff and stoic, but when a woman carries herself in a confident and strong manner, people get scared. People call her bossy, pushy, a show-off, anything to try and diminish the strong woman in front of them. You say girl power is getting shoved down our throats in today’s world? I have news for you: what you deem as “getting shoved down our throats” is barely grazing the issue at hand.
“This is the 21st century. Women have never been more respected.” Yes, that’s true, and that’s sad. It’s sad that the level of respect for women that society has reached in 2016 is the highest it’s ever been. News flash: arguing that “respect for the female population is diminishing quickly” is “a load of bull” is a load of bull. Sexism is still alive and well today, and it shows up in everything from the too small number of women in positions of power to rape culture and everything in between. When was the last time you heard someone tell a man to not “dress that way” because he “wouldn’t want to give anyone the wrong idea?” How many reports of sexual assault are dismissed because “she was drunk” or she was wearing something “too provocative” or people simply didn’t believe the victim?
What about the wage gap? How can you say “there is still considered to be a glass ceiling for the working female?” There is nothing to be “considered” here: women make 78 cents to every dollar earned by a man. That’s a hard fact, and is one of the many reasons that this fight is far from over. In my opinion, the argument that up until the '80s many women didn’t work as much as they do now has no merit. If “women branching out into the workforce is still relatively new,” then explain the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Why did people feel that was necessary decades before women supposedly branched out into the big bad workforce? And yes, women are starting to break the glass ceiling, but it’s like that thing is made out of Plexiglas.
Building an anti-feminism argument on the differences between the mental and physical makeups of male and female bodies is another part of this article that made no sense to me. Perpetuating the idea that women are only delicate and gentle and that men are only strong and are supposed to literally sweep us fragile girls off our feet is part of the reason women are seen the way they are in society. We don’t need to be taken care of, and we don’t need to pretend that we do. And hey, I know it’s OK to be vulnerable, but that’s not what makes me a woman. I am a strong woman, and I’m allowed to be vulnerable sometimes; I’m only human.
Listen, I am happy that this author sees herself as a strong, proud, confident woman, and I am happy that she doesn’t “believe being a female entitles [her] to put down men and claim to be the ‘dominant’ gender.” But guess what? That’s not what feminism is about, and I think I made that pretty clear. Yes, there are some feminists who are very angry with men, but a faction of radicals cannot and should not define a movement. Most feminists don’t want to put men down and blame them for everything. We want a world where we don’t have stricter dress codes because middle school boys can’t handle seeing a girl’s bare shoulders. We want a world where people don’t do a double take when we walk into a conference room and mutter, “What’s the skirt doing here?” We want a world where we make the same amount as men. We want a world where men and women are considered equal and are treated as such. We just want equality, and until people like you understand that, we’ve got a long, hard fight ahead of us.