Feminism phobias misguided, illogical
January 15, 2008 —
Feminism is basically the other F word.
And I'm not sure why.
Some readers saw the word "feminism" in this article's headline and cringed, fearing someone would catch them reading it.
Once again, I'm not sure why.
How can anyone not be a feminist?
Feminism, as defined by Webster, is "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes."
I am tired of young women fearing feminism. What are they afraid of? I'm a feminist and, believe me, I'm just shy of 100 pounds and play the piano. I'm not exactly frightening.
I'm a feminist because I believe in the closure of the pay gap and the end of rape and sexual assault. I'm a feminist because I believe women should have control over their bodies and reproductive rights. And I'm a feminist because I believe in equal representation of the sexes in politics.
I do not hate men. People often make the mistake that feminism is a movement to rid the world of men.
On the contrary, the feminists I know gladly have men in their lives as fathers, sons, partners, friends, teachers, and so on. Many men consider themselves feminists as well.
I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point, many young women were lied to and threatened. They were told that feminism is an ugly thing and that men wouldn't approve of them if they believed in it.
So, rather than run the risk of losing the male influences in their lives, they steered clear of feminism. They grew up hearing negative references to feminists and without much knowledge of the women's movement.
For this I am sorry. However, it's time for them to quit caring so much about what others believe about feminism and take a good look at what they have so adamantly avoided.
When my mother was born, the help wanted ads in newspapers were sex-segregated and there was no Title IX to ban sex discrimination in schools. It also was legal for a man to rape his wife, oral contraceptives were prohibited, and the "no fault" divorce law, which allows couples to divorce by mutual consent, did not exist.
Yet, I do not want to make it sound as though gender inequality is a thing of the past. That's simply untrue. Women now have been able to vote in this country for 88 years, and they still are paid and promoted less than men for the same work and sexually assaulted far more.
This is why it is important that young women recognize the positive impact of feminism. The more they fear and avoid it now, the more likely they will see a reduction in their rights and opportunities in the future.