--Louise O’Connell, beauty editor for Glamour UK.
The above quote is from an article on Yahoo! Lifestyle titled, “Why I’m a feminist.”
Now, I don’t wholly disagree with the article. It’s true that once in a while, you will run up against some incredibly awful attitudes based entirely around your gender. It’s also true that women in the US can do nearly everything and anything they like, which is good. However, attempting to explain away looking like a prat with the excuse of “I’m empowered” is a cop out.
It also makes women look stupid. So thanks a lot, all you pop-tarts out there.
Being judged according to different ideals according to gender is nothing new. This happens to both (or all three, if you like) genders. However, part of the “dirty connotation” in the word “feminist” is due entirely to the effects of radical feminism, the winding tentacles of which are why we still have those unusually irritating self-proclaimed feminists who react to what are basically normal relationship dynamics like demons to holy water thrown by the Winchester brothers.
❦In every society, there are groups that are reviled.
In the LBGT community, Transgender individuals may not be as accepted. In the straight community, they may be ostracized. In both, they may be viewed as novelties or as living sex toys.
In areas of countries like Afghanistan or India, the practice of child brides is still in heavy swing. Often, these girls may experience severe injuries from being raped by their new husbands on their wedding nights, or even death from ruptured organs. They may be as young as 5 in some cases.
Most cases of domestic abuse involve battered women and children. A whopping 40% involves battered men, shattering the idea that only men are the aggressors in abuse. Yet women are pretty likely to get away with it if they are the abusers simply because they’re female and society views them as basically harmless, or at least more docile and therefore more likely to be a victim.
Women and children lead in statistics for being victims of rape. However, it is a myth that men do not also get raped, but this is a fact that is largely ignored.
❦The article poses this question: ‘Do you believe men and women are equal?’
For the most part, yes. But I don’t think that they’re interchangeable. The fact is, you can’t claim that men have a monopoly on oppression when women will do the same thing. For instance, you can’t claim that men are inherently more likely to harm their children when “women—who commit less than 13 percent of all violent crimes in the United States—commit about 50 percent of all parental murders.” In addition, “women who kill their children in this country are disproportionately hospitalized or treated, while men who do so are disproportionately jailed, even executed.”
I could make a reference to the Casey Anthony trial here, but frankly, I’m sick of that idiot.
Point being, believing that men are women are equal does make you a feminist, but only by definition. The basic feminist ideology that started with the Suffrage movement (of which my great-grandmother, when she was my age, worked tirelessly to promote and had the great honor of seeing come to fruition in her lifetime) is usually misused. Modern, or radical feminism, is a political ideology rather than a personal one. It is not usually based in reality. And further, it often deals with paper tigers rather than actual issues. For instance, it’s perfectly fine for radical feminists to rant about how women get stared at or catcalled or groped on the street, but female circumcision* in another country? Honor killings? Forced prostitution? Human trafficking? They don’t often care, usually because complaining about it would mean that we, the big bad West, were being inconsiderate and not understanding another culture.
*I know Wikipedia is a crap source, but they have a lot of links in that one--and besides, it summarizes.
If you want to be a true feminist, you have to champion causes for both genders. You can’t judge the man who cheats on his wife more harshly than the woman who cheats on her husband. You can’t execute the father who killed his kid while the mother who committed the same crime only gets treatment. You can’t react to women being liberated from the Taliban by sending mostly makeup. You can’t ignore male victims of abuse and rape simply because they’re male. You can’t claim that abortion is only a woman’s issue when it involves both genders.
Welcome to equality.
❦I was going to include this in a different blog, but something that caught my eye recently was an article someone posted on Facebook, which unfortunately I did not bookmark and I’m refusing to go looking for out of stubbornness. The article involves the author talking about how, if women were not oppressed, the terms “femme” or “girly” would not be applied in a pejorative term to boys. The author then went on to say that the reason these terms were used is because society believes that being female is inherently “wrong” and lesser than being male.
Now, I don’t disagree that human sexuality is extremely diverse and is more difficult to classify for some people than others (ie, the gender binary may not apply to everyone, though it applies to me). I certainly don’t disagree with the idea that men naturally have a feminine side and women naturally have a male side--and both of these may come out in interests, mannerisms, etc. Considering that I’m typing this with my legs crossed like a man (ankle on knee) and had my hair cut short for years out of stubbornness (I’ve only recently grown it past my shoulders again), I’m no exception.
However, the idea that calling a boy “girly” means that being a girl is wrong would make more sense if the terms “butch” or “bull dyke” didn’t exist. Implying that a woman is unfeminine carries the connotation that male qualities are undesirable in women, essentially the old “I don’t like peas to touch my mashed potatoes” argument, but applied to gender and behavior.
Things overlap to a degree. They always have, and they always will.
Plus, some guys really do look like girls. And my God, have you ever seen Helen Thomas?