Okay, so before anyone yells at me and calls me hideous names, I am going to make one thing very clear: I am a feminist. I always have been, and I always will be. This is why I’m disheartened to hear about the way that feminism is looked at today. The definition of “feminism” is that women should be equal to men. Simple enough. So why is it that some young women of my generation don’t identify as feminists today? I think I know where they are coming from, and I would like to share my viewpoint.
Despite being a woman, there have been many times that other women have pushed me aside because I wasn’t exactly like them. Even when I was a little girl, I was made fun of by other girls about my looks, my body image, my wardrobe, and my intelligence. I’ve been called a “whore”, a “filthy skank”, and a “virgin for life” all by women. A lot of those girls today consider themselves feminists. One of the many questions I have is why? You HATE it when society picks on us for not being picture perfect, so why would you do the same to me? Is it okay that you do it because you’re a woman? I don’t think so. If I had to put everyone who has ever put me down in one place, it would be a room full of women and very few men. Do you seriously think that if those same girls organized their own Women’s March today, they would have allowed me to participate? Absolutely not. So much for being inclusive.
I have also found it quite unappealing how some feminists like to silence men’s opinions if those opinions are not the same as theirs. Excuse me, but this is America. The beauty of America is that both men and women are allowed to have whatever opinion they wish. For example, I have repeatedly heard women tell men that they are not allowed to have an opinion on abortion unless they’re prochoice. So they have to have your opinion or no opinion at all? What would our world be like if we could only speak on certain issues based on our demographics or personal experiences? We would never get anything done, and that is one of the dangers of identity politics.There has also been a large amount of bigotry within the movement coming from all sides. Women of color tend to not feel included in the fight for women’s rights due to their troubled history with the National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA). This is partly why the term “white feminism” has been created to describe what all white feminists believe, being that they must be opposed to having rights for minorities and members of the LGBT community because they only focus on the "struggles of white, middle-class, and cis women." This is slightly skewed being that obviously not all white feminists think this way, and it makes me sad that I would be grouped in with them just because I am white, cisgender, and a feminist at the exact same time. It’s insulting to me that one would think I am only in the movement for people who look like me and have the same sexual orientation as me when they don’t know anything about me. It’s very ironic coming from people who wear vagina hats considering that some transgender women do not have that genitalia. This divisiveness between different groups of people in movements needs to stop. We are only hurting our cause when we don’t come together and when we put each other into categories. Remember being inclusive?
There are real issues at hand that need to be dealt with. We need to fix our justice system so that rapists do not get away with their crime with a short sentence or no sentence at all. 1 in 6 women get raped, and it is appalling to me that rape is this common for women. We need to fix the fact that not all companies in America treat women as equals to men. Feminism is not painting “pretty” pictures with your own period blood or telling me that I can’t be an aerospace engineer and that I should be an elementary education teacher instead because it is “more for women.”
Feminism is not getting so triggered about how the 19th Amendment was only implemented about 100 years ago. It’s about understanding our past and the world our ancestors lived in and learn from it. A real feminist doesn’t tear other women down to make herself feel better. A real feminist doesn’t hate on a female political figure just because she is a member of a different political party. A real feminist believes that if a man hits a woman, she should defend herself and if a woman hits a man, he should defend himself. A real feminist believes that custody battles are unfair to men and that men being taken out of the conversation about rape needs to change. That is true gender equality. It is not silencing men because they “don’t understand the struggle” or calling a woman names because she is pro-life. Inclusiveness. Get it right.
I understand that with a Donald Trump presidency, there has been a lot of fear and a lot more hatred than I have ever seen in this country, but I am going to be very honest with you when I say this. If I ever have a daughter, I will not tell her that she can’t be president because Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. I have heard repeatedly from other women that those election results were a waste of our only chance to rise up. No, they weren’t. Hillary’s loss doesn’t mean that you have no chance of sitting in the Oval Office or that you can’t become a doctor or own your own business one day or be any kind of success. Hillary’s failures do not define your future. However, I can promise you that if you think this way, you will be the only one who is responsible for your lack of success.
If you have read up to this point and you are shaken with anger, I will have you know that I am very aware that these observations are not representative of all feminists. There are a lot of open-minded feminists who really do care about the big picture. I just feel like the radicals are becoming the face of the movement, and this is why it’s difficult for some feminists like me to feel included in it.