You Are Not A Feminist, But I Am, For You

You Are Not A Feminist, But I Am, For You

Whether or not you want feminism, you still need it.
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I am a feminist. And that is okay.

A fellow Odyssey writer authored the very controversial piece “I Am Not A Feminist, And That Is Okay” about two weeks ago, and I’m pretty much positive you’ve seen it floating around social media since then. Thus far, it has received almost 170,000 shares on the online platform, a feat not many can say they’ve achieved. Writers have responded, readers commented, both in support and in dissent. A majority of the contention and dispute involves some confusion on the history and purpose of feminism, in addition to the fact that her message, though claiming to be anti-feminist, aligns closely with the fundamental beliefs of the movement.

But what I want to say to her is this: I don’t know who you are personally, but reading your articles, I can gather that you are a very kind young woman and an eloquent writer. I sense that you, being a fellow writer, read the works of other writers with an open mind. I’m sure you’ve seen the articles and the comments, trying to convince you that what you wrote it not as accurate as you feel it is. I can also tell that you are a human being, and you are just as entitled to your words, your feelings, and your identity as the next person. I’m sorry the world jumped down your throat. I do not want to give you a history lesson. I do not want to tell you that you are wrong to feel the way that you do. I do not want to try to explain things. I do not want to ‘clear things up.’ I do not want to argue. But in the same way that you choose to actively not pursue feminism, I choose to embrace it. And in the same way that I listened to your reasoning, I need you to listen to mine.

SEE ALSO: 6 Movies You Must Watch If You Consider Yourself A Feminist

Feminism, for me, is about so much more than equal pay. In fact, seeing as I like to write and to travel-- I’m pretty much doomed with the whole ‘pay’ thing. Equal pay is only one topic on an entire spectrum of issues that affects so much more than just gender. My feminism is about equal opportunities. What is more important to me than money? Education. Safety. Health. Choice. I will fight for your right to fall in love and get married and start a family just as hard as I will fight for the next woman’s right to become a CEO.

Even though I am not religious, my feminism does not deny religion. It does not deny the values of the bible. It does not deny what God has taught you.

My feminism does not wish for women to exclusively ‘run the world,’ but it fights for a world where people don’t give a flying freak about whether or not women run the world. My feminism isn’t about removing traditional female roles, it is about saying that tradition does not have to dictate what you or me or she or he has to do.

My feminism is about giving a voice to people who have not had the opportunity to speak or an audience to listen.

My feminism is about equality, yes, but it is also about humanity, which you completely neglected to acknowledge in your article.

I am a feminist-- but I also want to feel loved. I want to be fragile and nurturing sometimes. I want to be strong and aggressive sometimes. I want to be taken care of, but I also want to be independent. I want to be loved. I want a family. I want all these things that you want, and yet I am a feminist. Our biggest difference lies here: I have a title. And with that title comes a support system of both men and women who want me to have all of the above, and more.

But in a way-- I get it. The title ‘feminist’ is met with many unintended connotations, and that is not okay. You don’t want to be a ‘feminist’ because that word is so powerful that it threatens people. You don’t want to be a ‘feminist’ because you don’t want to meet the expectations of the negative ‘feminist’ picture that the very people who are afraid of feminism have fought hard to paint. There is so much negative publicity around the word ‘feminism’, in fact, that people have actually argued to change the name to ‘humanism’ instead. Would you identify with humanism? Because it’s basically the same thing.

The difference is that while feminism often intersects other movements, it is not fair or just to take away the spotlight and the credit from fighting for women simply because some people do not like the word. People have made feminism a dirty word, but that does not mean women should have to give up one of the very few things that is actually about them. Feminism gives women a voice, even the women who choose to criticize it.

And I know that there are always the feminists who are branded ‘bra burners’ and ‘men-haters’. They are the most vocal and the most active and the most talked about because they are the angriest. However, if they are truly feminist, then trust me, they don’t want to tell you what to do either. If they tell you that you have to do or be anything that you don’t want to do or be then they have a very distorted view of feminism-- and to chalk feminism up to that very minuscule population is is the same as saying that all Muslims are like radical Islamic extremist terrorists.

In other words, you can’t.

I am a feminist for the young girls around the world who are forced into marriage at the ripe age of thirteen. I am a feminist for the one out of every five young women who are sexually assaulted in college. I am a feminist for the men who want to be stay-at-home dads but feel like they can’t, because society expects them to be career-oriented. I am a feminist for the lower class African American woman who has worked her ass off her entire life and yet still has to fear violence each and every day of her life. I am a feminist for the 13,000 women and children victims just in Nepal, that are sold into sexual slavery for a mere ninety dollars, and are forced to have sex with up to forty people a day. I am a feminist for the twenty-one innocent transgendered women who were unjustly murdered in 2015-- their only crime being that they were women. I am a feminist for the single mother, who works endlessly and sacrifices everything to make ends meet, and who doesn’t complain about it for even a second. I am a feminist for the young woman who wants to find herself a good husband and raise a family and submit to him completely.

I am a feminist for this much and more. I am a feminist for my friends and family. I am a feminist for my future friends and family. I am a feminist for my future daughters and sons. I am a feminist for you. I am a feminist for me.

And finally-- I’m sorry. Whoever taught you feminism got it horribly wrong. Whoever gave you the idea that you can’t be a feminist and want all of the things that you want at the same time should not be allowed to utter the word ‘feminism’ ever again. I’m scared that at some point, someone in your life allowed you to actively denounce feminism, and that the same person is encouraging others to think the same thing. I’m sorry that you feel like you have to reject the movement that wants the very best for you. I’m sorry that at some point in your life, feminism was made into a dirty word.

I am a feminist. That is okay.

You are not. That is okay.

Because I am a feminist enough for the both of us.

One day, I hope I won’t have to be.

Thank you.


The most important way we can help is to be educated and use our voices. However, if you are looking for more active ways to become involved, please check out some of the following links:

http://feministing.com/

http://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/help/ (Sex Trafficking)

http://www.thetaskforce.org/stop-trans-murders/

http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/how-can-we-end-child...

http://www.heforshe.org/en


Cover Image Credit: Medium.com

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Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace, But Neither Is Christianity

Let's have in honest converation about the relgious doctrine of Islam

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Islam is not a religion of peace.

Christianity is also not a religion of peace.

But, most people in both religions are generally peaceful.

More specifically, bringing up the doctrine of Christianity is a terrible rebuttal to justify the doctrine of Islam.

That is like saying, "Fascism is not a good political ideology. Well, Communism isn't any good either. So, Fascism is not that bad after all."

One evil does not justify another evil. Christianity's sins do not justify Islam's.

The reason why this article is focused on Islam and not Christianity is the modern prevalence of religious violence in the Islamic world. Christianity is not without its evil but there is far less international terrorist attacks and mass killing perpetrated by Christians today than by those of Islam.

First, let's define "religious killings," which is much more specific than a practicer of a religion committing a murder.

A religious killings are directly correlated with the doctrines of the faith. That is different a human acting on some type of natural impulse killing someone.

For example, an Islamic father honor killing his daughter who was raped is a religious killing. But an Islamic man who catches his wife cheating and kills her on the spot is a murder, not a religious killing. The second man may be Islamic but the doctrine of Islam cannot be rationally held at fault for that killing. Many men with many different religions or experience would make the same heinous mistake of taking a life.

Second, criticizing a doctrine or a religion is not a criticism of everyone that practices the religion.

It is not even a criticism of everyone who make mistake while inspired by the religions. Human are willing to do heinous things when governed by a bad cause. Not every World War 2 Nazis was a homicidal maniac but human nature tells them to act this way in order to survive in their environment. It is hard to fault a person from traits that comes from evolutionary biology and natural selection.

However, commenting on a philosophy, ideology or a religion is not off limits. Every doctrine that inspires human action should be open for review. The religion may be part of a person's identity and it holds a special place in its heart but that does not mean it should be immune to criticism.

Finally, before going into a deconstruction of the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, there needs to be a note about the silencing of talking about Islam.

There is a notion in Western Society that if a person criticizes Islam, then that person hates all Muslims and the person suffers from Islamophobia. That is not the case, a person to criticize religion without becoming Donald Trump. In Western Society criticizing fundamental Christians is never seen as an attack on all Christians because there is a lot of bad ideas in the Bible that Christians act on. Therefore, criticizing Islam should have the same benefit of the doubt because the Quran has many bad ideas in it.

The Quran advocates for war on unbelievers a multitude of times. No these verses are not a misreading or bad interpretation the text. Here are two explicit verses from the Quran that directly tell Followers to engage in violence:

Quran 2: 191-193:

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers)"

Quran 2: 216:

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

There is no rational way to interrupt these passages in a peaceful way. The whole premise of both passages is to inspire followers that war against the unbeliever is justified.

The first verse advocates for genocide against non-believers for the mere transgression that a society worships a different god or worships another god along with Allah.

The second passage is arguable more dangerous because the first passage just advocate that fighting may be a necessity, while the second passage encourages it. The second passage claims that war on the unbeliever is a good thing under the eyes of Allah.

The reason why these passages are dangerous is because they directly incite religious violence. For most followers of Allah, these passages are ignored or they convince themselves the passages means something they do not. However, for a large numbers of followers that view the text of the Quran as the unedited words of Allah, these texts become extremely dangerous. These passages become all the rational they need to wage war on non-believers.

This is dangerous because there are millions of followers of Islam worldwide that believe every statement in the Quran is true.

Therefore, the Quran becomes a direct motivation and cause for its followers to attack non-followers. Rationally one can understand where the Islam follower comes from, if a person truly believes that Allah or God himself wrote these words then why would you not comply.

Especially when there is verses in the Quran that says the Follower who does not fight the infidel is not as worthy of a Follower that does wage war against the non-believer (Quran 4:95). Finally, when male Followers are told that their martyrdom fighting for the faith will be rewarded with an eternity in paradise with 72 virgins for personal pleasure. If a Follower truly believes all of this is the spoken word of Allah then there is more rational why a person would commit these atrocities then why they would not.

Men and women are radicalized by these passages on a daily basis.

No, it is not just the poor kid in Iraq that lost his family to an American bombing run that indiscriminately kills civilians but also the middle classed Saudi Arabian child or some Western white kid that finds the Quran appealing. If radicalization were just poor people, then society would not have much to be worried about. However, Heads of States, college educated people and wealthy Islamic Followers are all being radicalized and the common dominator is the doctrine of Islam.

Osama Bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist in history, was not a poor lad that was screwed by the United States military industrial complex. Bin Laden was the son of a billionaire, that received an education through college from great schools. There is no other just cause for Bin Laden to orchestrate such grievous attacks on humanity besides religious inspirations. A person can rationally tie Islam Followers gravitation towards terrorism to a specific verse. Quran 3: 51 tells readers,

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers."

Any rational person can tie Islamic passages like this directly to terrorism. It is not a complicated correlation to like Nazism and Jewish persecution to Christianity. The Holy Book of Islam directly encourages the Followers of Islam to inflict terrorism unto the non-believer.

So why do some many people deny these obvious truths about Islam and violence?

Political Correctness and the want to not be viewed as a bigot. The correlations here are as direct as the terrors of the Spanish Inquisitions and Catholicism and no one is afraid to retrospect and say, "Yes Christianity caused the direct murder of thousands of people". A person would not even be controversial if one stated that both World Wars has significant religious undertones. However if anyone states that terrorism and violence has a direct link with Islam then there is an outcry.

Even President Obama refused to use the terms Islam and Muslim when publicly talking about the War on Terrorism. I am a hypocrite also because I used the term Islamic Follower instead of Muslim in an attempt to sound more political correct.

That is a problem when society refuse to use terms that are correct in an attempt to not offend anyone. Imagine if scientist could not report their findings because the underlying politics. Society needs to be able to have open dialogue about this problem or else it will never heal. Society needs to throw away the worrisome about being politically correct and focus on identifying the problems and solving them.

The world of Islam needs to open themselves up to this criticism.

There can no longer be a closing of dialogue where the West cannot speak on the doctrines of Islam because they are not partakers (That applies to all organized religion too, especially the Catholic Church). People who draw Muhammed must no longer be threatened with attacks on their life.

When Islamic women and men speak up about the sins of Islam, they must stop being silenced. If humanity is going to take steps into the future with better technology and more dangerous weaponry, then we need to solve this problem with Islam and gradually to organized religion at all.

If not it will doom us way before we get there…

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this article follow my podcast on Twitter @MccrayMassMedia for more likewise discussions.

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https://unsplash.com/photos/JFirQekVo3U

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To The Girl Who Felt Excluded In The International Order Of The Rainbow For Girls

Exclusion is never a word I would use to describe my experience in Rainbow.

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As I write this, I am preparing to attend my 3rd Ohio Grand Assembly for The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls. (And as it posts, I will have just gotten home.) It will be my first time attending as a Grand Officer and I can't be more excited. I recently read an Odyssey article called "Girls In The International Order Of The Rainbow For Girls Have Only One Color: Exclusion." While I understand her point of view, I think there are some things that need to be said.

You basically said you had good and bad times, and that the people are what made the experience great. Sadly, once they left you felt the experience was less than ideal. Thank you for recognizing that Rainbow has great ideals and goals, but I personally think your article is misleading.

I'm in Fremont Assembly #128 in Fremont, Ohio. I am currently 18 years old and joined Rainbow in 2016. In other words, I am only able to be in Rainbow for a little over 4 years. Which, frankly, stinks, but I will still cherish the short amount of time I have.

I, too, have trouble making friends. I might be intimidating at times due to my demeanor. But once people talk to me, they realize that I'm not so bad. As you, my time in Rainbow hasn't exactly been fostered by having super, super close friends, but I really don't think that matters.

What matters is the love I see. The love I constantly observe between girls. The love I see directed at me. That love is something that doesn't need to include a constant connection to my sisters. I know that if I chose to approach one of them, I would be greeted with nothing but love.

That was incredibly apparent to me since day one in Rainbow. The day I was initiated into this organization I was terrified. Yes, I was 16 and yes, it really shouldn't have scared me so much but I'm not great at new things. I'm not great at doing things without a set plan. For initiation, there is a set plan but because I was not yet in Rainbow, I wasn't allowed to know it.

Still, throughout the entire process, I constantly felt welcomed by these girls. All of them had smiles on their faces and nothing but kind words to say. I didn't feel like they looked down on me due to my lack of experience. I felt like I was being supported by these girls that I didn't even know.

That first year and some of my second year, I participated in many different Rainbow events, but mostly from the audience. Still, despite how untalkative I was and how little experience I had with the group, I was always welcomed in with loving arms.

And what is Rainbow without our Mother Advisors, Deputies, and other supporters? Nothing. All of these women have made it a point to get to know me and to welcome me wholeheartedly.

So, fellow Rainbow sister, I want you to know that I see where you're coming from, but let's be clear.

Your experience is the exception, not the rule.

You and I are similar in our shy demeanors, but I am still able to see the best of my time in Rainbow.

Maybe I stay in the background and it's very possible that I will have none of my Rainbow sisters (except my biological sister) in my wedding party. Still, I will not blame the group that has given so many amazing experiences to me. I will support this group because I want other girls, just like you and me, to find their place. I don't want them to be discouraged by a few subpar experiences. I see what Rainbow is to some people and I want to give that experience to as many girls as possible.

I am a Rainbow girl, through and through.

And Rainbow, you'll always be mine.

Cover Image Credit:

Martha Laughlin / Facebook

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