It’s sad how the word ‘feminist’ has such a negative connotation to it. Feminism isn’t about female supremacy. It isn’t about giving men a taste of their own medicine. Feminism is fighting for ‘gender equality’.
I know people who’d start with, “But you don’t need feminism anymore. Women are already equal. What are you even fighting for if it isn’t to be considered superior to men?”
Here’s the thing, women are not already equal.
- The gender wage gap still exists. On average, a woman is only paid 80 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same job.
- Some places are better than others, but there are still so many girls in the world who aren’t allowed an education, simply because they are girls.
- Every year, 12 million girls are married off before they turn 18.
- 80% of the people trafficked across borders and sold are women and girls.
- 1 in 5 women are raped at some point in their lives.
If women are forced to take less than they are entitled to because of an inherently patriarchal society and the constant fear of being taken advantage of, if they are not granted the same opportunities because they are somehow inferior to men, then are we really living in a world where women are ‘equal’? Maybe things are better than they used to be. People are starting to hear our voices now. But there’s still a long way to go.
Although women’s rights is a priority for feminists, it’s really about the equality of the sexes. And achieving gender equality means leveling the playing field for every individual in social, political and economic fields. This is no men versus women fight. It’s supposed to be about men, women, transsexuals and every gender identity in the lgbtq+ spectrum. The lgbtq+ spectrum deserves a discussion solely dedicated to it so I’m not going to say much about it now. Every individual should have equal opportunities regardless of gender.
Gender inequality isn’t a women’s issue. It’s an issue that affects all human beings.
I recently came across something called Men’s Rights Activism’. Men’s Rights Activists(MRAs) were a bunch of men claiming that feminists don’t care about problems faced by men. That feminists are man-haters. MRAs and feminists were supposed to be enemies. Honestly, Men’s Rights Activism sounded kind of stupid to me at first.
But then I did a little bit of research. And I realized that the things these people were talking about were real issues.
- Men are forced to conform to gender stereotypes just as much as women are.
- If a man accuses someone of sexual assault, he is faced with even more skepticism than a woman is, because accordimg to society, a man cannot be a ‘victim’ of sexual assault. He is either the perpetrator or a witness or neither. Which means they’re saying that because women are weaker, only they can be victims. They’re spreading their misogny, and at the same time, the man who is a victim in this case, doesn’t get justice. In the US, 1 in 6 men experience some kind of contact sexual violence in their lives.
- Women are more likely to win custodial battles regardless of their financial status. The child almost always ends up with the mom. Men don’t stand much of a chance in this case.
- There aren’t any domestic abuse helplines for men.
So I agree. Men have their issues. The grass is always greener on the other side and all that. Things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows for them either.
But, women have been oppressed for millenia. Men are privileged. They always have been. Particularly straight, white men. So even if men have their own issues, their situation is and always has been a hundred times better than that of women. The world’s been run by men for millenia. So is it really that bad of a thing if feminists choose to prioritize women over men for the time being? Doesn’t it make sense for them to want to bring women at least close to the same level as men before they tackle men’s issues?
It confuses me why feminists are considered misandrists and these MRA’s are allegedly misogynists. The way I see it, at the root of both movements, there is the same objective. They have the same ultimate goal which is gender equality. So why on earth would they fight with each other when they could work together to solve the problem?
We all need a world where we don’t have to be afraid of going out at night or wearing what we want to wear. Where we have opportunites to be successful in our careers, but also have the choice to be a stay-at-home mom or dad without worrying about what society thinks. Where it’s okay to be sensitive or aggressive or soft spoken or tough or anything regardless of what gender we identify as. Where our choices aren’t limited by our genders. We all should be feminists or believe in its ideals so we can create that world.
Forget the term ‘feminist’. If you don’t want to identify yourself as that, it’s okay. As long as you understand that the world needs gender equality. Feminist or not, everyone needs to believe in gender equality.