To feminist or not to feminist… What’s the question?

What is a feminist?  Seems to be a dirty word these days.  Why is that?  I don’t call myself a “feminist” because of its negative connotations, but of course, I do believe the movement for women’s rights is very important, and I support it.  As a woman, I don’t think I’d have much of a self-esteem if I were against the women’s movement.

I mean, if I were against equal rights for women, why would I express my ideas so freely on the web and work so hard at starting my own business?  Why not just sit at home and be pretty while my man supports me, pays my bills and brings home that salty, fatty bacon?

Today I received an e-mail from a man (a troll really) who believes that “childish, psychotic, radical feminists” are “emasculating” and “persecuting”  and are seeking the “destruction of men.”  Huh?  Whew, this guy is a paranoid little bugger…  More proof that size DOES matter.

This troll obviously harbors a lot of hatred and resentment toward women.  He believes he is being victimized, saying that he was “treated unjustly” by feminists and that he was “focused on payback which I have the means to obtain.”  By the way, it is typical of bullies to see themselves as victims.  I believe that if this man continues to think this way about women he will become (if he hasn’t already) physically violent toward women and, frankly, I found his comments creepy, to say the least.  But then trolls are a creepy lot, are they not?

I wonder why he wrote to ME (lol!), but he certainly did inspire me to blog the question:  Why do some people equate women’s rights (i.e., “feminism”) with hatred of men?  How does it harm men for women to be strong, assertive and powerful?  If a man is strong and self-assured would he be afraid of a woman’s strength?  I don’t think so.  If anything, I’d think he’d enjoy the challenge of being confronted by such a woman.  Some men might even find it sexy and rather stimulating (oh my!)

After all, passive, docile, subservient women might be flattering at first, but really, in the end, they can be quite a bore, n’est-ce pas?  Personally, I’d rather be with people who challenge me than those who just agree with everything I say, ingratiating and following me around like the Stepford Wives on weed.

Yet some men clearly are afraid of strong, independent women.  Why?

I’ve heard this same argument used against other activists.  Those who advocate for the poor are often accused of being communists and of hating or hurting rich people.

Some people just can’t see how we’re all connected.  The emancipation of women benefits men as well as women.  When any group of people–women, African-Americans, Hispanics, the poor, etc.–are oppressed then we ALL are oppressed.  The moment I accept the notion that someone is inferior to me because of a difference, I am accepting the notion that people should be discriminated against because of their differences.  Sooner or later, someone will notice a difference in me and use that to discriminate against me.  I might not agree with your lifestyle, religious preference, or political views, but if I want the freedom to choose my own then I need to grant you the freedom to choose yours.  It’s really a “live by the sword, die by the sword” scenario.  How do you choose to live?  By the sword?  Or by the kiss?

Frankly, when people surrounding me are happy and healthy that improves the quality of my life.  I don’t want to be surrounded by a lot of unhappy, sick and depressed people.  Do you?  I’d like the women in my family, the mothers, sisters, cousins, etc., to be happy with themselves and their lives.  I’d like them to be paid what they’re worth, to have equal job opportunities, to fulfill their greatest potential, to not have to fear being raped or physically assaulted, to not acquire eating disorders or psychological problems as a result of years of exposure to mass media that convinces women that we’re never thin enough, young enough or pretty enough—no matter what we do.

Similarly, I’d like the men in my life to feel free to express their emotions when they need to, to not feel pressured into being soldiers or breadwinners, to be free to pursue their dreams–whether they choose to be artists or football players–and not feel held back by a stereotype of what a “real man” is supposed to be.

Let’s create a better world for everyone, okay?

There’s no hatred in that statement, not for men nor women.  But when someone writes to me saying that feminists are “psychotic,” “childish,” and “emasculating,” he is on the attack.  How ironic then that he would accuse the victims of his attacks of being the haters?  I believe in women’s rights.  And I believe that men benefit when women are able to achieve our greatest potential.  Therefore, women’s rights, feminism, whatever you want to call it, does NOT harm men but frees them also.  Enough said, Mr. Troll, you can crawl back into your cave now and sleep your tortured sleep.

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