What comes to mind when you hear someone called a “feminist?” When some people hear the term “feminist,” they might imagine a man-hating woman who never shaves her legs and is in a perpetually bad mood. Others, like me, identify with the term because it doesn’t intimidate them.
While this is a strong statement, I certainly believe many women who do not call themselves feminists are afraid of the social stigma that comes attached.
The first lesson to learn is that a feminist is someone who supports the equality of women, politically and economically. Many say American society has already reached this point, which is laughable.
Consider the fact that the United States has never had a female president and there are nearly five times as many men in Congress than women. This has much to do with the social stigma that women are not as logical or level-headed as men and therefore should not be trusted with such a duty.
This is not to say people consciously choose men over women due to outright sexism. Instead, it’s the subtleties in gender differences encouraging people to think of men as strong and logical, and women as overly emotional and sensitive.
Also, when girls are growing up, they are more likely to be given baby dolls and party outfits, while boys are likely to have building blocks or toy trucks. Parents also speak to female and male children differently, often cooing over girls when they skin their knees, but encouraging boys to “toughen up.”
The unfair expectations are girls should not be given ‘difficult’ tasks that would – gasp – make them do manual labor. Girls are often given dish duty, while boys are expected to mow the lawn. Similarly, boys are encouraged to hide their emotions because only ‘weak’ people cry or express how they feel.
I strongly identify as a feminist, and I do not see women as superior to men in any way. While I can see while the term itself suggests superiority, the actual definition does not mean this. Instead of arguing the nuances of the name of the term, however, I want to express how important feminism truly is.
The development of feminism as an accepted mindset would benefit men too. Societal expectations of men always paying for meals and other expenses for girlfriends or wives would disappear. Women wouldn’t necessarily get custody of children during a divorce or separation based solely on their gender.
Instead of viewing it as an attempt to give women benefits men do not have, people should realize women are still getting paid less on average than men – despite the fact that more women are graduating with bachelor’s degrees, 28 percent of men aged 25-29 versus 36 percent of women of the same age, according to the 2010 U.S. Educational Attainment Census report.
In 2009, women were only paid 78 cents per dollar that men made according to the liberal-leaning think tank — The Center for American Progress. Although statistics often have other factors that should be considered, including how many women are working with bachelor’s degrees, the fact that more women are graduating with degrees than men makes this fact even more puzzling.
You do not have to be female to be a feminist. All you need is the belief that men and women should be considered equal. Rather than arguing the term and thinking that feminism calls on men to become inferior, realize that men currently have the upper hand in society.
I suppose not much has changed since the times that only rich, white men were allowed to own land. Women, take it upon yourselves to demand respect and prove that you are just as intelligent and capable as the other sex. Men, realize that women can accomplish just as much as men, and disparity in physical size does not equate to superiority or inferiority.