Friday, November 14, 2014

Time's Poll Proves We Can't Stop Talking About Feminism

Photo: Time

Let me first begin by setting any possible bullshit straight:

1. I do not hate men. That would be completely ridiculous. In fact, despite the recent feeling Time has inflicted of me slowly losing my faith in humanity, I love people in general. Yes, love them. People have the ability to be and do beautiful, amazing things. And if I hated men I would be missing out on half of what this amazing world of ours has to offer. That is just not a compromise I am willing to make. And I'm willing to bet nearly all other feminists feel the same way.

2. By identifying as a feminist I am not putting men down (or trying to bring them down). Feminism is not a movement against men. I don't wish for life to be more difficult for them, nor do I want women to "come out on top" and reverse the roles. I just want to live in a world where my friends, my sisters, my future daughters, and the beautiful, hopeful women in the other corners of the world are given the same opportunities and the same pay. I want them to be able to walk to work without being afraid. I want them to feel like their ideas and their voices are as important as all the others in the room. I want them to live their life without situations that make them feel like they are less simply because they are of a certain gender. Being a feminist is not the same as being a misandrist. I repeat: Being a feminist is not the same as being a misandrist.

3. Feminism is about making life better for men, too. It is as much to do with femininity and the qualities our culture considers feminine (being emotional, crying, cooking, dancing, ect) needing to be more openly allowed to both genders as it does allowing women the same opportunities as men. Qualities should not belong to a particular gender. I've watched too many men that I care about repress their feelings or turn their sadness into self-destructive anger because that is more socially acceptable than crying. Emotion is not weakness. I'm a feminist because I grew up being told I couldn't do certain things because I'm a girl, but I'm also a feminist because I grew up with male friends who were told they couldn't make certain choices or act a certain way because it was "girly" or would make them look "weak". Because they had parents who unthinkingly reprimanded certain behaviors with "Don't act like a little girl". I'm a feminist because men deserve to have the option to be a stay-at-home dad without being criticized just as much as women deserve to have the option to be the breadwinners.

The point is, feminism is about gender equality. And its really unfortunate that there are so many people who are still so ill-informed about what that word actually stands for. From that interview last June with Shailene Woodley (Hello, again, Time.) to the girl standing behind me in line at Wal-Mart the other day that thought feminists were attention-seeking, trouble-making lesbians (yes, that was an actual sentence spoken in public as though it was educating the people around us); its amazing how misinformed so many people still are when information about the movement is almost everywhere.

And that is exactly why we can't stop talking about it.

The word "feminist" is outranking all the other words on Time's "Which Word Should Be Banned in 2015?" with a 34 point poll gap. And although Time claims to "have nothing against feminism itself", how can that really ring true when you are taking the name of such an important movement and throwing it in the same hat with "bae" and "basic" and "turnt"? Doesn't that kind of marginalize and belittle the movement and the women behind it? Doesn't it kind of take away from the amazing amount of progress we've made in the last 50 years and the seriousness of the issues that still exist?

And if the inclusion is really about "responding to trends in the media" as reporter Katy Steinmetz explained on Twitter early Wednesday morning, that is just as much of a problem. A prestigious publication like Time Magazine shouldn't be using its influence to reaffirm that its acceptable to look at "feminist" as an annoying, overly-used word or that its a label we can stick on someone and talk about them accordingly. Feminism isn't supposed to be a negative thing. Yes, the group has its extremists. And yes, those few are usually the loudest. But we can't allow the few to spoil the true meaning of the movement as a whole. Like I said before, being a feminist is not the same as being a misandrist.

And that is exactly why we can't stop talking about it.

1 comment:

  1. Preach! This is exactly what it means to be a feminist and encapsulates the movement well. Education is the only way to keep this from being trivialized!


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