The first time I encountered the word ‘feminist’ was in secondary school when I went all ninja in the defense of women. The guy (have no idea who now) I was having the conversation with said ‘so you are a feminist?’. At that time, I didn’t know what that word meant, I just knew it had ‘feminine’ in it. The guy said the word ‘feminist’ in a derogatory way, like once I admit I am, I will be cast out of the clique of cool kids in the school. I was pretty confused by the issues around the label, but hey, that did not give me sleepless nights (boy issues did that). As I grew older and found myself arguing for women in general, without meaning to, I realized that was me actually doing feminism. So yea, I am a feminist. A lot of us, men and women, boys and girls, do feminism without realizing it but we deny being feminists for one reason and one reason only.
Patriarchy taught us that it is a bad name.
A lot of people, women especially, do not want to be labelled feminists. Arguably justified because the label has historically being used to depict angry, anti-men, bitter, freedom-fighting women.
The reason why feminists started out as angry, freedom-fighters is because they were simply tired of being treated like ‘deformed males’ (Aristotle described females as deformed males). And let’s be realistic, to fight an enemy bigger than you, you need a healthy dose of anger (or a bit of craziness). The men of that era labelled these brave women negatively to make them look bad, like high-strung emotional whack-heads who are just trying to mess up the natural order of things.
But being a feminist does not mean any of these things, the women that started the feminist movement were strong, fearless women that were brilliant and articulate. All they wanted was equality and equity, to not be denied the opportunity to get an education, good jobs or even vote, just because they have different genitals.
Really, think about it, I get it if we deny education or access to owning a land to someone who has consistently shown the inability to manage finances or make good decisions. But denying someone access and opportunities just because they don’t have certain body parts…? Anyways, back to the matter. A lot of us are feminists, we desire equity for everyone and we want everyone to have equal opportunities irrespective of gender or biology. Being a feminist isn’t a horrible thing, it’s really pretty awesome.
So feel free to admit you are a feminist if:
1. You want equal opportunities for everyone: black, white, disabled, abled, boy, girl, short, tall.
2. You find yourself speaking up against rape, child molestation, racism, women trafficking, pay inequality, physical or mental abuse.
3.You want your sons to grow up outside the confines of what a boy should act, talk or walk like. Do you know how stifling it is for a 4 year old boy who is in major pain but unable to cry because he has been told ‘boys never cry’ ‘keep a stiff upper lip’, ‘be a man over your emotions’ etc? These are social prisons we have created for our men folk. So what if he sheds a tear or two when people are massacred? After all, he is still human right?
4.You want your daughter(s) to be able to get quality education, study at MITT, go to space or be a James Bond *wink wink*.
I’d like to leave us with these quotes by men who proudly declare they are feminists.
“What does being a proud feminist mean to me? Working hard to build equality of opportunity for men and women.”
-Justin Trudeau (Canada’s Prime Minister)
“All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights the world will be a better place … We are better off when women are empowered – it leads to a better society.”
“When you work with the sort of really strong women that I work with, the idea that anyone would want to make decisions for them is hard to wrap your head around”.
– Seth Meyers
“The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film”.
– Ryan Gosling
“If I had a bucket list, I’d say raising my four girls to be strong, good women would be No. 1”
– Matt Damon
“But in the new life of God’s grace, you are equals. Treat your wives then as equals so your prayers don’t run aground”
-Apostle Peter (1 Pet. 3:7b)