Today there has been an interesting Twitter hashtag trending, #tellafeministthankyou. The trend started in the US and then ended up trending worldwide after a few hours. The hashtag started with one person who suggested thanking a feminist in their lives for the rights they enjoy. Of course, as a bleeding heart feminist, this hashtag brought me a ton of warm fuzzies, while also showing me how much we really still need feminism, that misogyny isn’t dead, and most of all, that people completely have no real understanding of what the word actually means (literally) and means (metaphorically) to those of us who hold that word close to our hearts. Here are a few examples:
My heart hurts from these comments (there were hundreds – maybe even thousands) and the lack of respect of so many people, men and women alike, who fought for equality. I wonder if GOPMommy likes the fact that SHE CAN VOTE. Or that she can choose to practice her religion, or that she can have her name on a mortgage, or that she has the right to an education. Or furthermore, that she can make choices about her heathcare and be the BEST GOP MOMMY SHE CAN BE! For someone who is obviously so passionate about politics, she should be thanking the feminist that came before her that gave her a voice.
For everyone out there that thinks being a feminist is about being promiscuous, about abortions, or about man hating, I urge you to seek out information and learn about the first, second, and third waves of feminism. Or talk to a feminist who understands the meaning of the term (it is a literary theory, with an academic discourse). For those of you who think feminism is about being a lesbian, or about false rape accusations, or about thinking women are better than men – I urge you to study some history, theory, or philosophy. The more you know, right?
Being a feminist isn’t about a liberal agenda. It isn’t about sex. It isn’t about disliking men. It isn’t about abortion.
It IS about equality.
It is about equality as much as Martin Luther King Jr. was about equality. It is about human rights. It is about being able to pursue happiness with the same blank slate as everyone else. Feminists did not break up your “American Family Unit” – that is an ideal, not a thing. It is a hegemonized norm that has not been disrupted due to feminists, it has been disrupted because you can not expect a culture so rich and wonderful to fit into one Judea-Christian idea of what “family” means. It is an ideal that banishes families and people. It is an ideal that labels everyone else as “other.”
Feminism is about having a voice, a say, and a choice. It is about understanding gender and how it is constructed and what that means for people who don’t fit into your black and white lines. Furthermore, feminism is about respect. It is about respecting humans for who they are. It is about allowing me to make as much money as my male counterpart. It is about me making choices about my body. It is about me having rights to property, politics, and education. It is about me, and every other human, having the same opportunities as everyone else. And yes, because of this, a true feminist would say that she/he believe is equality of all kinds – race, sexual orientation, religious, etc. And saying we are all equal, means we fight for equal rights. I fight for yours, and you fight for mine.
Saying you are a feminist is saying you are a humanist. By saying I am a feminist, that means I believe in a man’s equality JUST AS MUCH as a woman’s. Being a feminist is the literal opposite of being a man hater. Hating patriarchy is NOT THE SAME as hating men. Hating patriarchy is hating that 22 men voted NO against the Violence Against Women Act today. Not supporting patriarchy is not supporting anyone (through their vote, their speech, or their action) who believe that violence against women – against people – is ok. Today, 22 people did that. They just happened to all be men. And all Republican. Go figure. Not supporting patriarchy is not supporting groups of men which suppress women, or other groupings of people. That may be in politics, in religion, in households, and in many other facets of life. Suppression of any group of people is morally wrong.
Respectable men, real men, call themselves feminists. I believe that anyone who really understood the term would – and should – classify themselves as a feminist. If your definition of feminism seems offensive to you, then my bet is your definition is wrong. If your definition is correct, and you STILL wouldn’t call yourself a feminist, well, then in my opinion, you are perpetuating hate. Plain and simple.
I am a white, educated, straight, female who has never had an abortion, who has never been gay, and who has never hated men. I am a feminist because I am worth just as much as any other human and I have the RIGHT and the BRAIN to make the best choices for my life. If you think you are worth just as much as the person sitting next to you – guess what, you’re a feminist too.