I'm Not A Feminist... And Here's Why

I'm Not A Feminist... And Here's Why

I support equal rights of women, but I don't call myself a feminist.
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I've mentioned in previous articles that I am not a feminist. I don't identify as a feminsit. I don't affiliate myself with the feminist movement. I'm not vocal on the subject and I don't partake in debates about abortion, or the right to choose. As a matter of fact I deliberately distanced myself from feminism over the years. It was a combination of certain feministic views I disagreed with and certain stereotypes made by feminists that I found offensive. I am very critical of third wave feminism.

As a result, I have been accused by many, (mostly by feminists) of being anti-feminist. I find this funny because anyone who knows the definition of an anti-feminist would know it is someone who does not believe in the social, economic or political equality between men and women. (I voted for Jill Stein in 2016 Election so that is not the case with me.)

But yet, people ask me: Why am I not a feminst? Well I can say there are a few reasons why. Now some may find this offensive but as I always say in my classes whenever I'm about to say something controversial: If you get offended, its not my fault. You have been warned.

The first reason is the issue involving male victims of abuse. This is the biggest reason why I don't identify as a feminist. I believe the feminist movement has, unintentionally, overshadowed cases involving male victims. There are countless documentaries, scholarly articles and case studies on rape and rape cultures, and what I've noticed with all of them is that they center on female victims. If I didn't know any better, I would think that its a psychological trap, since women are perceived as being more vulnerable and "innocent" we find ourselves feeling sorry for them. Now I know that's not the case, and not even close and I know better then to even believe such an idea. It just so happens that women tend to be targeted as victims more then men. I have watched some documentaries, much to their credit as mentioning that men can be victims too. The problem there, is how brief they tend to touch on the subject of male victims. Most of the documentaries I've watched, where they do talk about men being victims only talk about the subject for five minutes. There is still no study done on male rape victims, therefore no data.

(I tackle this subject more in my article "Wait... Men are Victims too?" so click here if you want to read that.)

The second reason is, I can't hold credibility if I was to identify as a feminist. There are thousands upon thousands of people who will get behind women's rights. It's safe to say this movement has an army, they have the morale, they can fight the oppession. And some of these people can do amazing things. Famed director, Joss Whedon is widely known to be a feminist and one of the things he does is write prominent female roles in his movies, making a role model for young female viewers. The late Swedish journalist, Steig Larrson, wrote The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, raising awareness of abuse, specifically towards women. These people can make a contribution and are capable of expressing their feminist views intellectually and even artistically. I don't have the time, the interest or the energy to get involved in a movment I don't feel I can bring a contribution to. Women are entitled to the same rights and privileges as men, but I can't do alot to advance that idea anymore then the movement itself already has. I feel I would have to do more then just say it, to credit myself as one.

The third and final reason is how extreme feminists can be. Now this only applies to extreme forms of feminism and third wave feminism in particular is where I find the most radical of feminists. . I am well aware that not all feminsts "hate men." But I've had negative experiences with feminists and have read certain quotes from certain feminists that made me rennounce my identity as a feminist over the years. Robin Morgan, the editor of Ms. Magazine was quoted in saying "I feel that "men-hating" is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have the right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them." No it does not. It makes third-wave feminsts seem just as barbaric as the men who have oppressed them. Women have the right to fight patriarchal ideology and should fight it, with Donald Trump in the White House, that gives all the more reason to do so, but when you throw EVERY MAN into the equation, then I have to back off. All I have to do here is takout the words "men-hating", "oppressed", "oppresiing" and "class." Replace those words with "islamophoba," "Americans," "attacking," and "muslim," and you got yourself the perfect anti-muslim quote. If fear doesn't justify prejudice then male oppression doesn't justify hating men all together. We are not all like that!

Then there are the feminsts who patronize men. This is a result of centuries of patriarchy, so I cannot say this isn't understandable, but the problem is that suddenly, all men are to blame. All men are deemed ammoral, self-centered, unable to feel any compassion towards the oppossite sex. Former Congresswoman, Barbra Jordan was one of them. If no one knows who Barbra Jordan was, she was the first African American Women to be elected Texas Senate, and served in the House of Representatives for Texas from 1973 to 1979. She made a name for her self as a leader in the American Civil Rights movement, and was openly lesbian. She once said: "I believe women have a capacity for understanding and compassion, which men structurally do not have, does not have it, because he cannot have it. He is just incapable of it." This is a stereotype and nothing more.

Men are capable of showing compassion and understanding towards anyone. I've experienced getting judged for simply holding a door open for a women because that's saying the women isn't capable of opening the door herself. That is a rediculous arguement, I am sure the woman who was walking behind me is perfectly capable of opening the door on her own. So why did I hold it open? Because I am a nice person and closing the door on top of her would be rude. I hold the door open for anyone, regardless of gender. Not even out of moral obligation because I had the free will to just keep walking, but I stop and hold the door for him or her because that's me showing compassion.

or even just complimenting them. It's become a general assumption to assume then whenever a guys calls a woman beautiful, it means they want to have sex with them. Sometimes I wonder if they use that as an excuse because whoever who complimented them just wasn't attractive, but I can't prove that and that's a different discussion for a COMPLETELY different topic.

I know oppession still continues today. But can you really say there is no hope? With thousands of women AND men, making their voices heard, can you really tell me that I am wrong to voice this kind of opinion? 1 out of 5 women in the United States identify as feminsts, against 85% of the American population who believe in gender equality. I don't have to be feminist to say I believe in gender equality, because I simply do.

At the end of the day, I'm not an "-ist" of any kind. I just like to think of myself as a moral human being who believes in equatily for everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, religion, ethnicity etc.) I'll get behind Planned Parenthoond for the sake of women having the right to choose, just like how I advocate for the Syrian refugees, or support LGBT rights. But at the end of the day, my only motive is "equality," and nothing more. Isn't that how we are all supposed to be?

Cover Image Credit: google images

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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