“I’m a feminist. I’ve been a female for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side.” — Maya Angelou
We all struggle with the polarizing nature of the word “feminism.” The long-standing pop culture myth of the man-hating, bra-burning, masculine, disillusioned harridan needs to be retired.
We, the perceptive, assume that equality has already been achieved, regardless of what the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says. We assume that the modern woman can be or do anything. Yet, we too easily forget that she cannot be a Pope, a Catholic priest, or a Navy Seal…We assume that the civilized world has long since surmounted the issue of equal pay and gender bias in the workplace. Yet, we ignore the pay gap and the 18 nations where women can’t get jobs without their husband’s consent.
Feminism is the radical notion that women are people, that men and women are equal, and that they should have the same opportunities. Feminism is about empowerment. And in much of the world, women need to be empowered to fulfill their potential. Ultimately, the world needs catalysts for change. All humans have equal brain power and intellectual potential to create that change. Think about it: the brain is an organ. It does not have a sex. It is pure potential. Why should the worth of men’s and women’s brains be valued differently just because of the body in which they are housed? All have equal power to change the world.
And so, feminism is also about equality. Why should women earn 20 percent less than their male counterparts? Why should women not be able to vote or drive? Why should women’s bodies be controlled by men (or governments)? Why should women and girls be forced to marry against their will (as 28 girls per minute are worldwide)? Why should girls not have access to education as their male counterparts do (as 62 million girls do not worldwide?) Why should a girl be shot in the head merely for trying to get an education, as Malala was? Why should women only hold 4.8 percent of the CEO positions in S&P 500 companies when they constitute 46.1% percent of the workforce?
And so it follows, if feminism is about equality of the sexes, for those of you who do not consider yourselves feminists, I would like to ask you to try and justify your position to your sisters and mothers (and one day to your own daughters).
Yes, we have made great strides in recent years. The trend is encouraging. The progress that has been made would be inconceivable to women born 100 years ago. It is a dream come true. But there are still inequalities and there is still work to be done.
Let’s all band together.
We need to do better to understand one another. Talk to a feminist. Ask them why they identify as one, and what feminism means to them. We cannot let feminism be hijacked by the misandrists.
I’m a feminist. I have been for a long time now. No, I don’t hate men. No, I don’t hate shaving. No, I don’t reject male chivalry; by all means, hold the door open for me! No, I don’t think women are superior to men. No, I am not angry. No, I do not wish to topple the patriarchy. And no, I do not burn my bras.
You see, I am a feminine, man-loving, bra-wearing, enlightened, FEMINIST. Jump on board!