That’s right, we’re talking about Feminism!…and its potential problems.
Now I realize this is a body-related blog, relating to things you do with it, put in it, and how you view it, but part of being body positive means being comfortable in all aspects of your own skin. That means comfortable in your physical skin, as well as your mind, and your gender.
Feminism has been a hot topic in the media for a while. There’s a lot of great things happening as more and more people and industries are leveling the playing field for men and women, but even this notion seems somehow out-of-place. Please do not misunderstand; I am just as much for equal rights for women as the next gal. The problem I have is with the word, “feminist.”
When discussing feminism with many people (of all genders) or mentioning feminists in some way, I’ve often encountered an eye roll or some other expression of exasperation. Feminism carries around the stigma of belonging to women who hate men and protest in somewhat extreme acts. This response was extremely valid in the period of second-wave feminism in the 1960s-1980s and we should in no way forget or diminish our feminist predecessors, but times are different and call for different acts, different responses, and a different name.
A formal definition of, “feminism” states that it “advocates social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.”
Well that’s great. What about everyone else?
If we’ve learned anything in the past few years as more people have felt comfortable expressing their true selves, it’s that we no longer have to worry about the equality between men and women.
We now need to fight for the equality of all genders.
Yes, we need to work on the wage gap and equality in the workplace, etc., but why can’t we simultaneously strive for equality for all genders at once.
I’ve been told multiple times that referring to myself as a “humanist” is just ignorant, but when we want to talk about gender equality, why does that have to only mean women. If we want to discuss the problems that women face with sexism, we have to talk about the problems other genders face as well, and that includes men.
I recently posted about a little blip I got published in Glamour magazine, specifically in response to an article I felt was sexist against an actor. We may be tired of the sexism against women that we have been fighting for ages, but that does not mean we should now turn it around on men and essentially, give them a taste of their own medicine.
The answer is to work together to move forward.
Closing the wage gap is insanely important. So is the opportunity for paternity leave for new fathers. The option to choose our role as women, traditional or otherwise, is key. So is that same option for men and any other gender with which someone identifies.
We can’t fault someone for telling us we aren’t feminine enough if we tell a guy he isn’t manly enough. It has to be ok for a man to cry and for a woman to act “tough.” Maybe Feminism doesn’t deserve its stigma, but it’s there. And that alone will keep some people from reaching out and really joining a movement.
A change will only truly happen if all genders are working together to create a level playing field between us.
So if you want to call yourself a feminist, fine by me. I will know that we are fighting for the same things and I will stand beside you. But I want to put forward a new age of feminism that is no longer just about the femme. So I will call myself a humanist. Don’t hate me please 😛