Whenever I tell people that I am a feminist, I get one of two responses: either I get a positive response, or I get a confused and almost sympathetic look. It’s as if I don’t realize that being a feminist is a bad thing.
I have met many people who do not know what it means to be a feminist. Feminists are usually portrayed as butch lesbians who hate men and everything that comes along with them. Apparently, we also do no good for the good of humanity. Who knew?
In reality, a feminist is someone (male or female) who believes in social, economic and political equality of the sexes as Chimpamanda Ngozi Adichie explains in her TED Talk, which I may have found because of Beyoncé. Maybe.
Here are some truths about feminism.
We don’t hate men.
I don’t know how often I can say this: I really don’t hate men. I actually really like men. Maybe too much, but that’s okay. I get along better with men than I do with women. Guess what? I’m still a feminist. I still want equality. I also want to be able to hang out with who I want to without being judged.
It’s true that I want to be equal with the men around me. I do not want to feel like I am lesser than men when I am with them. Women who are feminists can have boyfriends if they are attracted to men. It does not make them less of a feminist. We are still attracted to men, and we still act on those attractions. There is nothing wrong with that.
We don’t care what you choose in life.
If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, that’s fine! We don’t care! It’s YOUR choice. That’s the best part about feminism.
We love being able to choose to do things that make us happy and not do things that don’t make us happy. It’s as simple as that. If you want to be a working mom, then all the more power to you.
The same goes for fathers. Who says a father can’t be a stay-at-home dad? Society? Yeah, you got it. Don’t listen to it. If it’s what you and the people around you are happy with, then that’s amazing.
If you want to get an abortion, then go ahead. We understand that getting an abortion may not have been what you initially wanted or perhaps exactly what you wanted. Whatever reason you have to get one (or not get one) is your choice. It is your body. No one should be able to tell you what to do with it.
If you want to have sex often and with multiple people, do it! It’s fun; we get it! It feels good. You do it because you want to. It’s your body! Do with it as you please. Do what makes you happy. There are too many people in the world doing things that don’t make them happy. Moral of the story: life is too short not to do things that make you happy.
We want to be equal.
I sound like a broken record; I get it. This is just so important. I don’t think that I’m better than anyone—men or women. I know that I have abilities that are at the same as some men, maybe even stronger. Feminism exists because women and men need to have access to the same advantages. We do not want to be treated as lesser because we are women.
We have the ability to work just as hard at whatever we do, we have the same mental capacity and we deserve the same respect that men receive. I cannot count how many times I have been treated like a little girl by men.
It seems like whenever I go somewhere, there’s a man there to make sure I can “handle” whatever it is that I am doing. There is a difference between genuinely trying to help out to be nice and treating someone like she does not have the mental or physical capacity to complete a task.
We want respect.
For some reason, a man can enter a room and immediately receive respect from the people around him. Men can walk around wearing what they want (well, what society says that a man should want to wear) without having anyone question them.
Women, however, are often shamed for what they choose to wear. There’s always something wrong with what a woman chooses to do or wear. Her skirt is too short. Her shorts are too short and tight. Her boobs are hanging out. She is obviously just asking to be raped. She deserves to be cat-called because she obviously wanted the attention if she was going to wear something like what she did.
They completely undermine the fact that many women wear want they want to make themselves happy. While some women may dress to get attention from men, this is not true for all women.
It’s okay for men to be sexually experienced, but when women choose to sleep with whomever they want to, it’s not okay. They’re automatically shamed for their behavior.
How can anyone respect a woman if she cannot even respect her own body? The only way a woman disrespects her own body is if she feels like she disrespects her own body. No one else gets to decide that for her.
Feminists are not all crazy, I promise. All we really want is to be treated with the respect that we deserve. We want to be equal. We want the same pay for the same work. What we really need is for people to understand what feminism really entails.
If you have any thoughts about feminism or have any questions, please share them in the comments section below!