I’ve been called funny, fearless and, when I get passionate, fiery. I consider these all compliments, but I hardly introduce myself using any of these words. I typically start labeling myself a feminist by the third or fourth conversation. As soon as I utter the word "feminist" or "feminism," I usually get a look that would suggest I said a different f-word. The nasty look might take some time getting used to , but here are 5 things I’m tired of hearing as a modern day feminist.
1. Men and women are treated equally.
As much as I wish that were true, it’s not. Women may have the right to vote, the ability to work and the knowledge to change the world, but, as women, we aren’t always granted an equal opportunity. It’s bewildering that even after the passage of the Equal Pay Act; women still earn an average of 79 cents on the dollar to men. Equally puzzling, is the underrepresentation of women in the field of STEM, politics and key leadership positions. On paper, it would appear that men and women are equal, but in a society that still teaches women how to avoid rape rather than teach men not rape, men and women are not treated equally.
2. You're only voting for Hillary Clinton because she's a woman.
Firstly, I happened to be among the 28.2 percent of registered voters who did not vote for Hillary Clinton in the democratic primary elections in Georgia. Please don’t assume I’m a Clinton supporter. Secondly, Secretary Clinton knows how to rock a nice pantsuit and, as an aspiring pantsuit aficionado, her fashion sense is admirable. I may be among the few Sanders supporters that do not absolutely loathe Clinton, and if she does clinch the nomination, I will vote for her because my political beliefs align closer to Clinton then Trump: I support a higher minimum wage, common core and LGBTQ rights. Please don’t assume I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because she has two X chromosomes.
3. What is your husband going to think about you being a feminist?
My gut reaction to this question can be summarized in three letters: LOL. Seriously, this makes me chuckle. If I am ever married, I guarantee my husband will be a feminist. Instead of praying for a husband six feet and up, I’m asking for the deliverance of a self-proclaimed, feminist partner. I also think people lower their standards for men by assuming that men aren’t concerned with feminist issues. The men I respect are the men who see women as their equals. The type of men who cower at the word feminist, don’t even make my short list of potential love interests.
4. Men deserve rights too.
Feminism isn’t the total rejection of men. In fact, the feminist agenda actually works to help men by dismantling hyper masculinity (which is feminist speak for men should be able to cry, report sexual abuse cases and spend particular attention to their appearance without facing scrutiny); however, the feminist movement is majorly concerned with advancing women because society still considers us the lesser gender. Demanding that women have an equal opportunity for advancement doesn’t dismantle the rights of men and suggesting that this follows the feminist agenda only exposes a misunderstanding of feminism. Bottom line: men already have rights.
5. It's not that serious.
Actually, it is that serious. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Inequality anywhere is a threat to equality everywhere.” To put that into a modern day perspective: jokes about rape aren’t funny, domestic abuse isn’t play fighting and men don’t have to pay on a first date. Feminism isn’t a bad word, so the next time I call myself a feminist please spare me the dirty look and any one of these five remarks.