Feminism | Posted by Ashley B on 06/1/2012
Equality Not Partiality
A line in a movie I saw the other day has been bothering the hell out of me. The main character was watching his romantic interest at work. He smiled with all of the charm of a budding movie romance and said something along the lines of, “She must be the bravest woman I’ve ever met.” He didn’t refer to her as the bravest person he had ever met – she was the bravest woman. That distinction changes the sentence from complement to condescension.
There has always been a group of people in society who are defined as a race first and human beings second, or at times not at all. Women have always and without exception fallen into that category of people who may not call themselves humans first. Our “femininity” keeps us from being recognized as full members of society or the same as men. While feminists ostensibly try to change this, I believe that the feminist movement has become more about the single-minded fight for the advancement of women rather than the fight for equality for all.
Feminism is in desperate need of a revival. This movement needs to become an ideal, not a vent of frustration. Instead of always promoting the short-term interests of women, feminism needs to uphold equality. We need to fight for a reality in which men and women are true equals in society, holding the same rights and responsibilities In fact, it is the responsibilities, especially, that we need to claim. Should another draft be instituted, women must be drafted alongside men. Paternity and maternity leave should be offered in equal lengths of time and both should be paid. Should the custody of a child be in question, the mother should not be preferred just because by all stereotypical accounts she ought to have a better relationship with the child.
I am exhausted by the accounts of people who say they want equality but really only want preferential treatment. Preferential treatment will only lead to separation of the sexes and eventually the degradation of women. It is not fair to say we want to be equal, but really hope for more power. We should try to move towards a state where we don’t need to draw these silly lines and determine which gender-based group has more power. We should try to finally cast off these ludicrous gender roles and be people, not men and women.
Until that day I will continue to fume every time I am told my feminine instincts will help me to advance in life. I will continue to throw mean glances at every person who tells me it’s “cute” that I would like to learn how to throw a punch. I will never stop battling for legitimacy and proving myself over and over in intellectual circles. Most importantly, I will never stop seeing every person as a human being first, and will always point out our similarities before our differences. That is what the feminist movement should be about.
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