Oh boy, someone pulled the controversy alarm.
Listen, I figure I may as well get this out here once and for all: I don’t like feminism. In fact, I’ve got a lot of issues with it. I see it in action today, in the news, on the web, and it makes my blood boil. But I’m not an anti-feminist. “WHY?!” some of you may think, considering what I just said.
Good question! Allow me to elaborate.
Once upon a time, I was a feminist. I was taught, as I’m sure most if not all of you have been, that feminism was the movement for equality for everyone—but mainly women. I was taught that it was hard to be a girl, and that in the past it was hard to be a girl, and feminism was the liberator that would set us all free. Through education and kindness, the world would be a better place for all. That sounds awesome. And you know what? Those who taught me that honestly followed that example. They were kind, understanding. They wished to educate others that maybe, just maybe, what they are doing is making some people uncomfortable and to reflect on their actions (something we should all do from time to time, but I digress). They were good people who volunteered, made donations to worthy gender-neutral causes.
From these examples, of course I was a feminist. I wanted to help make the world a fair place with sunshine and rainbows and kittens. I wanted, and still want, to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” with the world. I saw feminism as the way to do that. For a long time, I just assumed that if you wanted there to be equality, you’d be a feminist. It made sense, right? Feminist = equality = desire for equality = feminist. Except then I got older and my idea of feminism started to warp into something rather disturbing. I saw posters talking about how you shouldn’t judge someone by how they dressed, yet to dress THIS way means you are objectifying yourself. But … wait, I thought, that makes no sense, doesn’t that mean it DOES matter what you wear? All right, let’s try something else: Women are paid 77 cents for the same job a man does! Oh my gosh, that’s horri— wait. The law says equal pay for equal work. There must be a lot of business owners in jail… No, that isn’t the case. Wait, what is going on?
You can see the gradual dissection of what I was taught, had experienced, and what was reality. Things got steadily worse as I got more and more confused. You need to hold open doors for women, as it is polite, but you are sexist at the same time. Ladies, you can do whatever you want! But if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you are belittling yourself. If you go into the workforce, you will be treated badly by all the nasty men. You should know how to defend yourself. But no one should teach you because that insinuates that if something bad happens to you, it is YOUR fault.
WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THEN?!
I had far more questions than answers. Being in university at the time of this cognitive dissonance, I found the solution: education. School was the sacred treasure trove of knowledge, there must be something here that will explain these contradictions. So logically I took women’s studies along with my horticulture, expansive psychology courses … genetics … I like learning, okay?
And I did learn. Oh boy, did I ever learn. Plants are amazing, the human mind is a brilliant and ever unique a machine, and feminism is a mess.
I will not downplay the role that the suffragist movement had in establishing women in Canada as persons. I won’t ever downplay the fight to give us the right to vote (even though most men couldn’t vote, as you had to either serve in the military and own land, but ANYWAYS).
Feminism is somewhat of an offshoot of that original fight, or at least that’s the way I and others see it. But from then on, it has been a constant fight not against oppression but against itself. Those guys aren’t REAL feminists, says one camp, while they themselves are being accused of being the pretenders by ANOTHER group who claims to be the real feminists. As Karen Straughan so eloquently stated, You gotta own your shit and no one was or is willing to clean up the mess.
I left feminism embarrassed, angry, and disgusted. Twice a week, for fifteen weeks, I was told that I had my rights fought for by feminists and that we were oppressed as women. That we were all racists, that men were horrible, and the government paid a substantial amount more in women’s health care because they wanted to control our wombs to create more workers for the state.
The disbelief in my colleagues’ eyes, open mouths, and eye-rolling showed that many of them felt the same way I did: what Kool-Aid did we drink for so long, and why do I feel so sick?
Some of them were all for it, of course. When I stood up saying that the government should care about issues that affect everyone, like cancer, one simply said, “Ovarian cancer.” I clenched my fist, as my grandmother was a survivor, though another form of cancer took her from us many years later, rest in peace. I held my composure, despite a nerve being struck. I glared and slowly said, “Depression.” “Postpartum,” she quipped back. I got up and left.
I wrote my paper on how men suffer from sexism and got docked marks for being “too harsh.” My facts? Solid. My formatting? Brilliant. But I was harsh.
Yeah. I was learning a lot, all right.
It got worse from there, what with the rise of Tumblr feminists, SJWs, and the expanding extreme political correctness. I was sick of it.
Some have said that I need to look up what “feminism” is in the dictionary when I presented my findings and what they were teaching IN UNIVERSITY of all places. My response was/is simple, and I urge you to try it. Look up “communism.” No, I’ll save you the brain power. Ahem … Communism: “Advocacy of a classless society in which private ownership has been abolished and the means of production and subsistence belong to the community” (Dictionary.com).
Doesn’t that sound nice: everyone shares, no classes, all equal? Why don’t you then look at it in practice in Soviet Russia?
What is described in theory does not transcribe to reality. And the reality of modern feminism is pointing fingers at anyone who disagrees with it and calling it names, an angry mob mentality with the sensitivity of a raw, exposed nerve dipped in salt water. Something I want nothing to do with.
And the crazy thing is, that despite all this, despite the recent events of bringing a man to tears over a SHIRT, despite biting the head of anyone who dares question their own attire (BECAUSE WE’RE WOMEN, IT’S DIFFERENT, OBVIOUSLY. IT’S EQUALITY IF WE APPLY IT TO ONE GROUP AND NOT THE OTHER, RIGHT? MATH IS HARD):
I’m not anti-feminist.
The reason? There are still people out there, good people, who truly wish for equality. They see the suicide rates of men and the mental illness and assault men experience and think, “My god, this is wrong, we need to do something about this.” They see women forcing other women to endure female genital mutilation in other countries, have girls dragged off the street and horrifically abused because of what they wear and think, “This is abhorrent, we must act.” They see both sides of the coin and embrace it, both sides, A = A, Men = Women. Different, but equal, with their own unique problems that need addressing. And they call themselves feminists, despite the modern-day party line being … well, hilarious, frankly. But you know what? If you are fighting the good fight, I don’t care what you call yourself. If you are a decent human being, who truly wishes for equality, who is reasonable, who can have a discussion without pointing fingers or hurling baseless accusations just to win an argument (or ad hominems, for those who like the technical jargon), then you are an ally in my eyes. You, and all those who call themselves feminist, are the reason I am not anti-feminist. You are the reason I dislike feminism but not all who use its title. I may not share that name anymore, but we agree in fighting for the same cause: making this world a better place, for everyone, regardless of what shirt you decide to wear to the party.