Yep, I'm still using that f-word: feminism. Apparently my age demographic does not like labels, but call me an old soul, because I love labeling myself as a feminist. More specifically, I love my identity as an intersectional feminist who constantly checks my heterosexual, cisgender and class privilege. Despite my feminist identity, I still receive dirty looks, exasperated expressions and misguided comments from people who don't understand feminism. Since my publication of "5 Things I'm Tired of Hearing as a Modern Day Feminist," the list of misguided comments has only grown, so here are five more things I'm tired of hearing as a modern day feminist.
1. Men don’t need feminism.
I am bringing back the ole Tina Fey eye-rolling GIF because it remains relevant. Feminism advocates for men as much the cause advocates for women, hence the definition calling for the equal rights of the sexes socially, politically and economically. It is ridiculous that the U.S. does not mandate paid maternity leave, but what's just as ridiculous is that men are not expected to take time off work after the birth of their child. Paid family leave should be implemented so men and women can bond with their child(ren) in the crucial, early months of development.
2. Can you define feminism?
My mind is telling me no but the education major in me is saying yes. I am still baffled that students in college, professionals in careers and just people in general are unfamiliar with feminism. What seems like such a simple concept of equality is not taught in schools or enforced in the work place but is still written into the laws of our society. Clearly, there is a disconnect between the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and mainstream American society, which is why I cannot possibly allow anyone to go on the Internet and search through the many misconceptions about feminism. (In case you missed it: Feminism is the belief in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes.
3. Oh... I thought you were one of those feminists.
A woman with a total disdain for men is not a feminist. Ladies and gentlemen, that is misandry and anyone who labels misandry as feminism represents an extremist faction that is not congruent with feminism. In fact, as a self-proclaimed feminist, I have faith in men to check their privilege, uplift women and leave sexism in the past. I believe in the strength and intelligence of men just as much as I believe in the strength and intelligence of women, which is precisely why I consider myself a feminist.
I also have no objection to a man opening a door for me or paying on the first date, and I shave my legs fairly regularly. However, I can open a door by myself, so when I do, don't take it as an insult. Also, as a general rule of thumb, I never go anywhere my checking account doesn't agree with, so try not to look surprised when I offer to pay for my half of a date. Oh, and the stereotype that feminists don't shave is just false: some feminists want to shave their legs, but others choose not to, and both are fine. Sometimes I want smooth legs too (and sometimes I want to rock a fur coat on my legs during winter). Please stop perpetuating feminist stereotypes. There is no "feminist look," just an awesome ideology that gives men and women the choice to fully embrace their personalities.
4. There are more serious issues in the world.
Wow, nice attempt at distracting from the issue at hand. While I understand the privilege I have as an American, it will not stop me from pointing out the social ills of our country. It's paradoxical to point out the lack of rights women have in other countries without acknowledging problems such as the wage gap in our own country. Feminism is applicable all around the world (including America).
5. Feminism is such a controversial topic.
I've seen grown men squirm when I use the word "feminism" and it almost makes me want to laugh because I didn't realize that equality was such an uncomfortable subject. Part of the alleged controversy may be that men are unaware of the subtle sexism women face daily: everything from policing our clothing to the dehumanizing nicknames like chicks, tricks and cougars (and those are just the PG nicknames). Women are constantly reminded of their gender identity and the conversation concerning equal rights for the sexes is not a conversation we can avoid. If anything is controversial it should be the belief that one sex is superior to the other, not an ideology which promotes the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.
I make a lot of jokes about feminism: I constantly refer to feminism as the f-word, I try to scare people away with my spooky feminist agenda and I speak about my "feminist voice" as if I am experiencing an out-of-body experience. Yet I am completely serious and passionate about feminism, which is why I am open to any effective critiques of the movement: everything from the tendency of feminism to exclude women of color and women in the LGTBQ+ community to the incorrect labeling of feminism as misandry. However, the misinformed commentary about feminism is a tough pill to swallow and frankly, as a modern-day feminist, I am tired of hearing it.
Lead Image Credit: Still We Rise via Unsplash