Feminism | Posted by Jill L on 08/5/2010
Let’s Reclaim the Name
“So, you know how you’re a feminist?”
“And yet you still expect men to open doors for you?”
“No, I expect the person going in through the door in front of me to slam it in my face.”
‘Feminist’ is often used as an insult to describe women who have characteristics which we admire in men but are contradictory (or so we fear) to society’s archaic view of femininity. Women who are strong, confident, loud, ruthless in business and assertive are ‘feminists’. And if they’re not vilifying it, society trivializes feminism’s cause. Men can’t open doors because feminism contradicts common courtesy. Obviously.
But to me, ‘feminist’ does not carry with it the images that it inspires in the minds of others. To the boys (and sadly, so sadly) the girls in my class, feminism is for the woman described above. And, you know what, it is for her. But feminism is as much for the girl who dreams of becoming a housewife as it is for the career-girl, as it is for me, as it is for you.
I am a feminist because I believe that your gender should not dictate whether or not you are granted opportunities in life. Simple as that. To me, not being a feminist because you are male or because you think ‘it’s all equal now’ is as stupid and as wrong as saying, “You know what, as a person in the white majority, racism in our society just doesn’t interest me.” But discrimination against women is as serious as discrimination against racial or religious minorities.
As feminists, we need to come together to show that this view of feminism as a trivial, pedantic is as inaccurate as it is insulting. We believe that every person everywhere deserves to be treated with dignity, respect and to live free from discrimination. We believe that every person, regardless of gender, has the right to chose how they live. We believe that everyone is equal under the law. Which one of these beliefs is needlessly pedantic? We need to step away from trivialities and instead face the big issues head on. It’s time to reclaim our name and say with pride “I am a feminist.”
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