If your Facebook feed is at all similar to mine, feminism has been the hot topic as of late. I can't scroll through my timeline for three minutes without an article on feminism. In 2018, I really thought we'd have our collective acts together regarding this issue; unfortunately, it would seem that I am mistaken. You know what they say: if you can't beat them, join them. It's time for me to hop back onto my soapbox, friends. Newsflash:
We still need feminism in 2018.
Now, it is important to keep in mind that "the feminists" are perceived in a wide variety of different ways, many of which are grotesquely over-simplified and stereotypical. Anti-feminist rants tend to hone in on this stereotypical view of feminists as protesters who march the streets screaming obscenities in those ~specific~ hats and never succumb to the ways of "feminine" culture. I am here to break the news to you: that is a small fraction of the overall feminist movement. Just as conservatives insist that the Tea Party represents an extremist fraction of their overall viewpoint, I insist that your stereotypical version of the modern-day feminist represents the extremist fraction of our viewpoint.
What exactly is the "feminist agenda," you might ask. Well, let me hit a couple of highlights for you:
1. The need for the "Me Too" movement
I truly cannot believe that we face any opposition to the Me Too movement. What is there to oppose?! Women everywhere who have experienced sexual harassment and/or abuse are finding the courage to stand up, come together, and hold their abusers accountable for their actions.
I cannot believe the comments I hear-- many of which come from women!
"Oh there they go again with the 'me too' thing."
"Are you going to make a fuss about every old man who makes a dirty joke?"
"Not everything has to be this big of a deal."
"Awards shows shouldn't be a political affair; why do they keep coming back to the 'me too' thing?"
All of those statements are precisely why the Me Too movement is here to stay, folks. Women who suffer actual, literal harassment or ABUSE are too scared to say anything because they are afraid that they might be "overreacting" or that their situations are not valid.
2. "Boys will be boys!"
How many of you have ever heard the argument, "Boys will be boys?" I hate it-- a lot. It is never used in a good situation. Kids are crazy in general; we need not make gendered statements excusing behaviors simply for the sake of those behaviors coming from a boy.
When I witness a child exhibit a not-so-positive behavior, I usually stick to thinking that kids will be kids. All kids tend to run around like manics, break things, and accidentally hurt one another. That's fine, and it's normal. What is not normal is when we expect boys to act up, specifically, and expect girls to engage in more quiet, peaceful behaviors just because they are girls.
Next thing you know, we're saying "Boys will be boys" when our president makes a crude comment about what his power can do for him in the way of women... Oh wait.
3. Holding men accountable
Before I even START, please allow me to make it clear that I know women aren't perfect. I am one, and I know that I don't have a prayer of coming close to perfection. But since I do not have much knowledge on the issues women cause for the male population, I'm going to stick to what I do know. Okay? Okay.
Ever since I hit puberty-- no, you know what? It was before I even hit puberty-- my mother has had to once-over my outfits before I leave the house. The same goes for my younger sister. She has always used the same reasoning for doing so, from when I was eight to right now as I'm 22: "It might be a fine outfit. But some dirty old man might think so too."
... Wow. Is it not at all concerning to you that we have to tell even little girls to be careful what they wear because we don't know who might be creepily watching?
I'm sorry, but I refuse to be responsible for a grown man's lack of self-control.
4. Getting "dress coded"
This goes nicely hand-in-hand with holding men accountable for their own self-control. I am sick and tired of girls and young women being pulled into their principal's office because-- oh my gosh-- they are wearing a dress that exposes their shoulders.
I have a lot of personal experience with this one. I attended a private Christian school for about half of my high school career, thinking it would be a safer environment where I would not be scared to walk into school every day. I accepted their uniform of collared shirts and dress pants very willingly.
What I did not (and never will) accept is being one of those girls pulled into the office for wearing a crew neck T-shirt and shorts to my knee on a dress-down day. As a 15-year-old, I was told that my T-shirt was too tight on certain parts of my body and that it would make the boys susceptible to "impure thinking." My time at that school has given me body issues that I struggle with to this day, seven years later.
Girls, you are not responsible for dressing like you belong in an abbey instead of a K-12 school. It's not your fault that our culture puts an over-emphasis on sexuality.
5. "Gender roles"
Okay, I am not here to argue for or against the idea of gender and what all it means. That is not my battle in this article. What I am going to discuss is my concern that in 2018, we still have a tendency to stick to a disgustingly backward view of females.
I have heard enough, "Woman, make me a sandwich," jokes to know that many men still believe that women are to be the homemakers. To be honest, I have heard from a decent amount of women who feel the same way.
The very anti-feminist articles on my Facebook feed I referenced earlier tend to focus on this topic as their main argument for being anti-feminist. They say that they would rather be a wife and stay-at-home mother who spends time in the kitchen and keeping up with the family home. You know what? I think that's great. I think that children are such a joy to bring into this world and that moms have a huge responsibility to put their children's interests ahead of their own.
What I am NOT okay with is saying that a woman should not be a feminist because she wants to fulfill the typical female gender role. I would say I am a pretty stereotypical female: my favorite color is pink, I love sparkly things, I love Disney princesses and unicorns and cats... I want to be a mom, and I probably will end up staying home with my children much of the time. Oh! And I am adamantly pro-life. But you know what?
I still know feminism is valid and necessary. And I AM a feminist.
6. Donald J. Trump
And here is where I am going to be saying goodbye to all of my Trump supporters who made it this far, I am certain. You would have to be totally ignorant to continue to operate under the assumption that our president has anything close to respectful views of or relationships with women. I do not wish to engage in the DISGUSTING jargon of his "locker room talk" to even put a direct quote in here.
But you all know what he has said. Just soak in it for a moment.
Next time you find yourself arguing that "We don't need feminism," or "Women just need to calm down," I urge you to remember that I legitimately heard a woman listen to a report on the Bill Cosby court hearing and say, "Oh, that poor man."
THAT is why we will always need feminists.