Friday, April 24, 2015

Modern feminism and the anti-feminist movement

There is so much hub bub about feminism and anti-feminism and Women Against Feminism I figured I'd better address it because, well, I'm a woman, and I consider myself a feminist.

Why do I consider myself a feminist? Because women
should be given the same consideration as men in all aspects of life. Because I believe a woman should not be told what she can do with her body by the government or religion or anyone else. Because women all over the world should be able to go to school or not cover her face or do whatever she wants to do without horrible consequences. Because we are amazing, beautiful, brilliant, and talented, and we should know it and not let ANYONE make us feel less.

Here's what I don't believe:
This is What Feminism Looks Like
  • Feminism is not a movement that wants women to be superior to men. We just want to be equal. For example, many women still don't make the same money as their male counterparts for doing the same job.
  • Feminism does not equate to misandry. I LOVE men. I could not live without men. Sure, there are probably some men haters in the feminist movement. You can't judge an entire movement by one of it's subcultures.
  • That all feminist ideologies are the same. Maybe some of us push more for equality in the workplace, while others believe and promote a women's right to deciding what's best for her body. Not every feminist is going to have the same ideals, values, or belief system. Why? Because we're human and we're unique and we're not cookie cutter images of each other.
 This is What Feminism Looks Like

© Garry Knight 2011
All this said, I think there is some ignorance involved when women say they are anti, or against feminism. Have you heard of Women Against Feminism? It's  a group of women who post selfies of themselves with handwritten notes stating why they don't need feminism. These sentiments range from actual feminist statements (I don’t need feminism because I believe in equality, not entitlements and supremacy.) to asinine (I don't need feminism because I love masculine men like Christian Grey.)

These women DO need feminism. They just don't KNOW they do. The images of feminism have been skewed and transformed over the years. We are not loud butchy hairy women who are all lesbians and hate men. We are all different, some of us our feminine, strong, big, small, gay, straight, black, white, hispanic...we are not a caricature.

I think we need to stop for a moment and remember why the Suffrage Movement started in the first place.

  • Women were not equal to men.
  • Women did not have access to higher education.
  • Women were excluded from professional occupations.
  • Women could not file legal suits.
  • Women could not manage her own money.
  • Women could not use birth control.
  • Women could not divorce.
  • When women got the right to divorce, they could not have custody of their children.
  • Women could not own property.
  • They were not allowed into political conventions and meetings.
  • Women were not allowed to vote.
  • Women were not allowed to hold public office.
  • There was an ideology called "The Cult of True Womanhood" which stated that a "true" woman was a pious, submissive wife and mother concerned exclusively with home and family.
  •  This is What Feminism Looks Like

    © Warren Leffler 1972
  • Through the 14th Amendment, our constitution extended protection to all citizens. Then defined “citizens” as “male.”

Even through the 80s women didn't have certain rights.
  • Women could not have credit cards.
  • Women could not report sexual harassment at work.
  • Women could not refuse sex to their husband.
The suffragists had subcultures just like today's feminist movement. There were those who had peaceful assemblies and there were others who were more radical and picketed the White House and held hunger strikes. And I'm sure there was a differing degree of reasons why they were fighting for rights and which rights were more important.

 This is What Feminism Looks Like
Yes, we've come a long way, but the plight of women is not over. As long as we are not paid equally for equal work, and as long as religion and government want to tell us what we can and cannot do with our bodies, and as long as women all over the world are still treated like property,  violated, mutilated and hurt, our work is not done.

This is What Feminism Looks Like
© Fibonacci Blue
I don't want to judge the Women Against Feminism. I get it. You don't want to be
lumped in with a group of men hating radicals. That is not the face of feminism. And let me clarify that I use the word "ignorant," not as a stab. I use it because there is a lack of information, understanding and knowledge where feminism is concerned.

Whatever these Women Against Feminism believe, that's fine. That is there prerogative. Like Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti said on Twitter, "#WomenAgainstFeminism shouldn't worry: Even if they don't believe in us, we'll keep on fighting for them."

On a lighter note, this site is hilarious. And it has cats.

Have a great weekend.

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