On Feminism

Trigger warning: Rape is discussed in this journal, though not to any graphic extent.

I'm a feminist. Not a "feminazi," not a radical man-hater, just a young woman who doesn't believe she is should be forced into a certain role, have her body be objectified, or be banned from a job that she most assuredly can do based on the presence of female reproductive organs. Let me point out that I love men. I get along well with males, I always have, and I think they are pretty darn cute to boot. I am attracted to men. So let's dispel the notion that feminists are strictly lesbians. I don't leave the house without a bra on- tick the bra burning off the list. And I personally like the clean shaven look.

I was recently in a "power" tussle with a group member for a class project. He was the only male in our group, and was so because he wasn't in class on the day of picking groups and was thus assigned to ours, and the three of us females had no problem and we didn't think he did either. We had approximately 3 weeks to complete this project. Long story short, the guy blows up on the three of us saying that we weren't doing any work and we weren't contributing and that he had to be the leader of the group because he was the only one taking it seriously (which was total bull considering he spoke to us maybe twice the entire 2 previous weeks). In the emails he sent to us he refers to us females as "you all." Okay, whatever. The next class day he sends another email to one of our group members referring to us as "girls" with quotations and all. Now, I'm not saying he's a misogynist, but there are definitely some sexist undertones to this guy and it rubs me the wrong way to think he sat there the whole time and refused to speak to us for days because he believes he is somehow better than us be it because he is the proud owner of a penis or just because of his anal nature.

The sad part is that this isn't the first time I've had such a seemingly sexist encounter in college. There were plenty of boys in high school who objectified females, but they kept it to themselves and didn't make it a key point of conversation in the classroom. It's these recent bits of sexism that have seeped out during class that have triggered my current itch to enlighten others and speak out about what the media does and how we allow what they do.

I'm not going to pretend that I know everything there is to know about the feminist movement. I know the gist of it, I know the more prominent historic feminist events, and I know how I feel about it. My first college English professor was extremely liberal and an open feminist. One of our assignments was to take a print ad and analyze how the products were marketed using sexual objectification of the featured men and women. I'm honestly glad she made that one of our assignments because it's nice to take a step back and really look at how the world is working to manipulate and oppress ideas in order to gain money and reiterate gender roles and stereotyping. This is one of the ads I used in my paper. And there's this one, and this one, and this one. There's plenty more. And can we forget about the comic book industry? Tokenism isn't just for black men on television and objectification of bodies isn't just for women.

So, knowing what I know, I often find it hard to understand when women say they aren't feminists, or that they don't believe in it. To me, being a feminist isn't hating men or being radical, it's about looking at what's wrong and seeing how an entire sex is being shafted in favor of a more masculine idea. How many female film directors can you name off the top of your head? How many of them have been interviewed on talk shows? How many of them are household names? When we dislike a celebrity or someone we know in real life, we call them b*tches and douche bags and c*nt. When a man is soft and not a "manly man" he's called a p*ssy, a sissy, a fag. When a female doesn't wear dresses and skirts or "feminine" clothing, she's assumed to be "butch." When a guy wears pink or some other "girl" color, he's assumed to be gay. What's so wrong in this world that being feminine or effeminate means you're instantly a bad person?

And if the misuse of words isn't an agitator, there's always the rape culture and slut shaming. A woman sleeps around, she's a slut. A woman has sex before marriage, she's a slut. A woman is comfortable with her body and sexuality, she's a slut. A woman wears shorts and a low cut top, she's a slut. A woman is raped, she's a slut and she brought it on herself. That's how it works, right? And it's okay when political talk show hosts slut shame and objectify women, right? Because I don't think it is, and that's why I support women's rights and female empowerment especially now.

The thing is, unless you're a radical feminist or hold religion to the extreme literal or just don't care enough to understand other important civil issues, I don't believe there's anyway you can be a feminist and not be a supporter of equal rights for all.

This probably reads as a rant, but I don't want it to be one. I feel like I need to say something and this is me saying what I need to.

If you're interested in learning a little more, these videos are a few that I feel are eye openers. The first three are trailers for new documentaries and the last is the first part of "Killing Us Softly" by Jean Kilbourne.

1. It's a Girl!
2. Miss Representation
3. Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
4. Killing Us Softly

So, because I find it difficult to understand why females are sometimes against feminism, if you disagree with the movement, would care to enlighten me as to why?
March 5th, 2012 at 03:27am