What better day than International Women's Day to put up my first blog post for this musings page?
Also called International Working Women's Day, today celebrates women and their accomplishments, while making a call for greater equality. Oftentimes I find myself in a social gathering with friends or even with family where the subject of feminism comes up somehow. The most common reaction to this subject is not an anti-women reaction, but rather an anti-feminism reaction. What I mean by this is, someone will say "Oh God, I hate women like that who are all political about the issue. That's why I'm not a feminist." They are talking about the women they see on TV standing up for feminism, waving the picket signs over their heads promoting gender equality. Because this show of feminism is seen as radical, many people don't want to be associated with it, thereby disclaiming themselves from being categorized as feminists.
Oh, how misunderstood the world is. It is important to recognize what exactly one considers feminism or what it means to be a feminist. In doing research, I found a Facebook fan page "Women Against Feminism." This page has a little over 32k likes and it has some entertaining pictures of women from around the world holding handwritten pieces of paper exclaiming why they don't need feminism - as though it is something some people need, and others don't.
"I don't need modern feminism because I don't need a silly movement to make me (or my opinions) feel validated. If I experience sexism, I stand up for myself and move on; b**ching about it will get me nowhere."
I'd like to ask this woman what she thinks is the difference between standing up for herself and b**ching about it is. What people don't seem to understand is that standing up for yourself and your gender is feminism. Speaking out against sexism is feminism. It's not about man-hating or hating other women who are subversive, gentle, or less outspoken about the cause. If you believe your sister, your mother, your daughter, your girlfriend, etc. should have all the same rights that men have, you are a feminist and that is a good thing. It is just as important for men to fight for feminism as it is for women. The mainstream has to join the fight with and for the marginalized. If we only fight for the things that personally affect us and only us, no progress will be made.
In the spirit of today, check out http://www.heforshe.org/, the gender equality campaign started by actress Emma Watson, emphasizing the importance for men to get behind equal rights for women.
"HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all."