Monday, July 29, 2013


 Yesterday's post got me thinking of a lot of different things. One of those things is feminism. I've already written that I am a feminist and a proud one at that. Yet feminism seems to be a movement so fiercely hated that it even takes me aback.

I understand where that hatred is coming from. Radical feminism has stolen feminism for the rest of us. The definition of feminism is:  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. It is not female superiority over men nor is it supposed to be men-hating. Quite the opposite. 

As a feminist, I completely denounce the works of Valerie Solanas, Susan Brownmiller, Robin Morgan and others like them. I have had many male figures in my life that have influenced me in very positive ways so I think most guys are freaking awesome. However, it doesn't change the fact that I realize that we live in a culture that degrades women.... even if we have made progress iu leaps and bounds to change that.

To be honest, I'm not that much of a fan of third-wave feminism. I much more appreciate first and second wave feminism that fought for women to have legal and social rights. That fought for women to be allowed to vote, divorce without stigma, be treated as equals, have a right to an abortion, not have to put up with sexual harassment, and have job options besides the ones outside the home. 

If you don't think feminism is still needed in Western society...
But we're still not equal. Socially, we're horrible. Our media, as I mentioned yesterday, is completely biased against women. It promotes rigid gender roles as well as a macho culture that hurts men as well as women. Women are not represented in the media and are held to different sexual standards. There are double standards when it comes to treatment of the sexes, double standards that hurt men too. Economically, women still are not paid the same amount of men although the reasoning for this is still very complicated. Not to mention, a woman's right to receive an abortion is being threatened daily, especially in certain states like Texas and Ohio. Politically, women are allowed to vote but we're still underrepresented in politics (most politicians are white males).

I'm reluctant to use the words "patriarchy" and "misogyny" unless I feel that such strong language is warranted. Those words imply something insidious and deliberate and when it comes to sexism in America and the Western world, I don't think that's the case at all. However, if you look at a lot of societies especially many in the Middle East, these terms absolutely could be applied. The Western world is very advanced when it comes to equal rights compared to its counterparts. But we can do better and if we can do better, why should we refuse to? We should be making this world the best it can be, not stopping until we get there. 

I think prejudice is linked. Racism, classism and homophobia is linked to sexism. It's all oppression. The term "patriarchy" is overly simplistic. I think the better term is "kyriarchy", a term acknowledging this complexity. It isn't true that in society all men are treated better than all women. For example, kyriarchy goes like this: White, straight, rich, Christian men are at the very top of this pyramid. White, straight, rich, Christian women are below them. Below them are black, straight, Christian men and then women of the same description with their homosexual counterparts probably of similar standing. The lowest in this pyramid, of course, are poor minority women (and possibly poor gays?). I think you get the point. 

For this reason, in addition to being a feminist, I also consider myself to be an equalist, a human rights activist, and a secular humanist. I suppose I would even identify myself as a masculinist if I didn't believe that the MRA (Men's Rights Activism) movement if I thought MRAs actually cared about equality of the genders from a male perspective (from what I see, though, it seems to just be a movement to hate on feminism). I want rights for everyone. When I see injustice, I want something done about it regardless of the party hurt. Many people are no longer identifying as feminist because of feminism's bad reputation. But I still believe despite everything that it's a worthwhile cause to identify with. Given the inequalities still besieging women today, I believe that it still should be relevant.

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