I’m currently taking a class on Women, Gender and Politics. It’s proved very interesting thus far, and we’ve hardly even begun. Last week we watched a Ted Talk by the wonderful Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about being a feminist.
That’s a word that frightens a decent amount of people. Here’s the thing about feminism… in my opinion, it’s not something that someone just wakes up and realizes one day. All women support feminism in one way or another, I think some just get confused by the term. Feminism is a basic code of ethics that says that women and men should be equal in all aspects of life. I think that’s something that most of the people who fear the word “feminist” can agree on.
Many people fight that title, because of the baggage that comes with it; perceptions of man-shaming, angry loud women protesting on the streets, and aspects of the movement that are controversial. People associate the word with a certain type of person, but it’s wrong to do so. Many women of all different backgrounds and ideals are coming together on this, and it’s because we are all suffering from the same societal expectations, whether we allow ourselves to recognize that or not.
Here’s the kicker, you don’t have to be a staunch left liberal to be a feminist. I toe the line of liberal/conservative ideals on a regular basis, but of course, I believe as a woman, that I should have equal rights as a man. I personally have not attended a protest, but you can bet your ass that I support those that do.
The issue arrives when people misunderstand this movement. It’s not about shaming those who want to be a stay-at-home mom, a concept that the girl who wrote “I’m the Girl Who’d Rather Raise a Family Than a Feminist Protest Sign” clearly misunderstood. It’s about giving every woman the right to decide her fate. It’s about giving women a chance to be successful in the workplace, to have a shot at the same opportunities given to men.
It’s about providing a system that allows women to have a career AND be a mom: and one day I plan to kick ass at both roles. No one is saying down with soccer moms, baking is lame, etc. It’s about creating a society where women can do it all.
People say we’ve made progress and we certainly have. It’s not the 1950’s anymore, and women do have roles in leadership and have found ways to balance motherhood, careers, and everything else that we’re called to do, but it’s not a perfect formula yet.
That’s not an opinion; that’s been proven by the countless women speaking up via the hashtag ‘#MeToo’ about their experiences of dealing with sexual harassment and assault by those in power. Women have to think twice as much about what they wear to work, to school, about what they say, about where they go, and what they do.
Society has a different standard for women than they do for men. Feminism is supposed to equal the playing field, to change the way we see our society. Why is it that we raise girls to be ambitious but not too ambitious, to be successful but not in a threatening way to their male counterparts? Why do we put the responsibility on girls to cover their shoulders in school, instead of teaching boys to be respectful of women?
Why do we blame girls when they are sexually assaulted? Why are women running in politics held to the actions of their husbands rather than looking at their merits, their successes, and their flaws?
Feminism is about change. Change is scary to a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I am learning every day that these protests, these movements aren’t there to limit anyone. That’s the point. It’s not about hurting men, or shaming “traditionalists”, it’s about giving everyone a choice to live their lives in the manner of their choosing.
If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, that’s awesome, and no one thinks you’re a lesser woman because of it. But for someone to say that they are insulted by women, girls, and their supporters rallying on behalf of half the population to give everyone that choice, THAT makes you a lesser woman. Choosing to stand against those that are fighting for you to have a choice, is insulting, not to mention ignorant.The world is changing my dears, and that's a good thing. Get on board, or get the F*ck out of the way.