Hello, lovelies!

As some of you know already, my husband and I are in the middle of relocating from the Austin, Texas, area to the North Texas area. I will be starting a new job at the end of this month and we are trying to get our lives organized but my brain is just feeling scattered! Hence, the lack of blog posts the past two weeks. I apologize for this; going back on something I love so dear was not easy for me. I like to have a weekly post, but we have just been so deep in to this adjustment that I did not have the time or energy to commit to full posts. But, I’m here now! And I’m here to stay. Thank you for putting up with me. ❤


Today’s post is brought to you by a conversation I had with someone on my public instagram feed. Wednesday August 26, 2015, was a big day on social media. Yes, it was #nationaldogday. But did you know it was also Women’s Equality Day? August 26, 1920, was the day women were granted the right to vote in the United States. A big day in American history, I think. So it was on that Wednesday that I posted this quote by Beyonce on my blog supporting instagram feed:

beyonce equality feminist (Ok, I had a hard time finding the original source to that photo, but on pinterest it links back to here, which is actually an interesting little article.)

I like the sentiment there, and I think what Beyonce says has a great point. I’ve always expected to get some conversations going through my blog or any of my various social media outlets for the blog; I’m always open and encourage these conversations. But I never thought that one would sit with me for as long as this one has.

**Before I jump in to this – please note. I am not bashing anyone. The conversation that took place on my instagram was one of mutual respect. I was never trying to put anyone down or attack anyone by any means.**

Anyway, I had this person comment on my instagram, saying something along the lines of “so we can’t teach girls to respect and we can’t teach boys to aim as high as possible?”

Honestly, it took me quite a while to even respond to this. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. A lot of emotions went through my brain and my heart. But this was an instagram for my BLOG! I eventually just felt like I had an obligation to say something back, so I did. And what followed was a back and forth combination of “is gender equality real?” and “does the wage gap really exist?” and, I quote, “it’s really their choice going into a job that doesn’t pay as well as a man’s job”. While I believe I handled the conversation quite tactfully (and please, feel free to head over to instagram and view it yourself and join in), it really got me thinking. It’s over a week later and I’m still thinking about it.

I’m here to ask you now: Do we really need feminists?

What exactly is a feminist? There is a lot of websites and articles that tote feminists as being “man-haters” and women who grow their armpit hair out and lesbians and people who don’t believe in “real” equality. Just check out this tumblr of Women Against Feminism as one small example of this.

While I could go back and forth and post stats about gender inequality, I won’t. That’s not the point here. To me, being a feminist is about respecting ALL people – men, women, children, transgender, intersex, etc etc. It’s unfortunate to me when we live in a world where something this simplistic gets twisted in to something that ends up pitting women against other women. I call myself a feminist, but I don’t grow out my armpit hair or hate my husband. I am a heterosexual female who highly respects men, values their opinions, and enjoys dressing up in high heels or wearing lipstick. But if someone else decides they’d rather wear jeans vs. a dress, or not shave their legs? Who am I to judge them? You do you, boo. It doesn’t effect my life.

Why do I call myself a feminist? Here are a few of my personal reasons I believe in feminism:

-Because women are highly underrepresented in American politics.
-Because women are expected to “stay in the kitchen” and stay at home and birth all the babies. YES, these options are perfectly acceptable. I enjoy cooking for my husband, and I don’t mind cleaning the house and doing his laundry. If I was a mother, I would want to stay at home with my children. But what’s wrong with being a mother and working? Why does society say I am supposed to do one thing, and then make me feel bad when I don’t do that thing? Feminism, to me, is all about choice. No one can tell you what decision is right for you, and you shouldn’t be shamed because you made a choice society doesn’t agree with.
-Because I have experienced workplace discrimination. Not in a job recently, but a few years ago. I was looked down upon because I look young and because I’m a girl. It’s condescending and hurtful to assume that I can’t do a job well because I am a specific gender.
-Because women are seen as sexual objects without brains or opinions, and because I have been a victim of cat-calls on the streets in several different places in different times in my life. I love the feeling of being confident in my looks and feeling sexy, but I’m sorry – who gave you permission to be the judge of that? And why does society say that is the most important part of me?
-Because when I did engage with this person on instagram, I was told to “just google it, OK?” and did not feel I was treated with the same respect I was trying to put forward to him. We should be able to have these conversations and be open to other’s experiences without disrespect and as equals. THAT is feminism.

What do you guys think? Please feel free to join the discussion!

Happy OM’ing and namaste. ❤

5 thoughts on “Do We Really Need Feminists?

  1. Feminism, to me, is all about choice.

    Another perspective on feminism would be women’s struggle to emancipate themselves from patriarchal society. First rejecting and then deconstructing and ultimately, tearing down the oppressive structures/norms in society.

    No one can tell you what decision is right for you,

    Society does every day. Reject these normative values and society will punish you for your transgressions.

    and you shouldn’t be shamed because you made a choice society doesn’t agree with.

    Let’s not forget being rejected, discriminated against, and oppressed because you choose a particular course of actions/mannerisms.

    The feminism you mention – “choice feminism” – can be construed as being patriarchally friendly. How much freedom do you possess when every choice offered is patriarchally approved?

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    1. Hi The Arbourist,

      Thank you for your comment. You point out an interesting perspective, and I agree with you on most points. I definitely think feminism is and should be about breaking down societal norms and reconstructing our views and society. When I say “feminism is all about choice”, I’m simply stating that I desire to live in a world where women – and all individuals – are free to choose what is best for them and how they want to live their life without judgement, shaming, or discrimination. You seem to value this, as well. It seems we agree on most fronts of what feminism is.

      However, I read the article you linked to in your comment that discusses radical feminism vs. “fun feminists”, and I have a few qualms with it. The author states that any type of feminism that includes men in the group is not a type of feminism she wants to exist. It’s an interesting thought to me that there are women out there who would purposely exclude any individual, just because of gender, in the name of equality. It doesn’t make sense to me. Isn’t that why feminism was started, because women did not like being discriminated against because of their gender? It seems to me that excluding men would be counterproductive and doesn’t really stand for or progress the feminist cause (at least in my view). Further, I think this view of feminism actually turns some women away from calling themselves a feminist. When we can’t even have all women fighting on the same side, how can we provide a united front and actually make change happen? I strongly believe that men – just as much as women – can call themselves a feminist. Sure, they don’t share the same experiences we do as women, but that’s why empathy is an important aspect of our relationships and world. If true equality is what we all want, why push someone away from wanting to fight for it with you?

      Maybe I’m understanding what I read wrong, but that is how I perceived the article you linked to. Thanks for sharing it; I enjoyed the read and it is definitely making me think more about how I define feminism.

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      1. @makeyouom

        It’s an interesting thought to me that there are women out there who would purposely exclude any individual, just because of gender, in the name of equality.

        The exclusion of men from feminism is probably a good thing at the moment. I would argue that right now the general socialization of men precludes them for understanding the inherent structural imbalance in society (plus this.)

        In my dealings with dudes, getting them to think about how their experience is not everyone’s experience is almost always step one. More concisely, unpacking what male privilege is how it effects them and those around them.

        Equality also doesn’t happen until said oppressive structures in society – gender, religion, etc. are changed so one class of people by default are not favoured over the other.

        When we can’t even have all women fighting on the same side, how can we provide a united front and actually make change happen?

        There will never be a united front when it comes to feminism. There never has been. There will always be people who are happy with their status and situation in life and therefore see no reason to change it.

        This goes back to the idea of somehow that making choices is empowering and what feminism is about – concomitantly that we must respect everyone’s choice because the act of choice making is what is important.

        Some choices out there are wrong. Should be laud women who rally against the Violence Against Women Act? Should we laud women who think that cat-calling and street harassment is ‘just a compliment’? Should we laud women who choose to rally against woman’s reproductive rights?

        To zoom out a little bit more – the idea that making choices is somehow powerful force in society has its roots in the current neo-liberal dogma that most of North America is in the clutches of.

        Society has *never* changed because of individuals making choices. Society changes when groups of people rally together and obdurately demand change in society – See Trade Unionism, Civil Rights, and Second Wave feminism as historical examples of this. Change occurs when a class of people band together and force change on the status-quo.

        So bringing it back to the feminist discussion, women as a class need to band together (and necessarily it won’t be all women) to affect social change – because without a critical mass of people together demanding change – the status quo can simple ignore them and be on about its business. See this as the reason why ‘choice’ feminism is popular – ultimately because it won’t effect the status-quo.

        I strongly believe that men – just as much as women – can call themselves a feminist.

        A quick look at the comment section on a video about street harassment tells a different story. See also in casual experiences and academic experiences.

        Of course, #NotallMen fall into this category, but enough of them do to warrant their exclusion from feminism. Being a feminist ally is a valuable contribution to the cause and men may have a place in feminism, but I would argue that the state of society and socialization right now prevents the majority of men from understanding what feminism is, and why the struggle is necessary.

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      2. I agree with you on all these points, and you have stated them so well. Of course the majority of men are still unaware of their privilege and how that affects women. I do believe addressing that is the first step, and part of the reason I wrote this blog post in the first place. Of course not all choices are good, which is why we have values, morals, and laws. I’m just talking about lifestyle choices and the way individuals choose to live their every day life. To me, being able to make a choice for yourself (an example being marrying someone of the same sex) without society jumping down your back is the ULTIMATE goal of feminism. Equality, choices without judgement, and mutual respect across the board is something to strive for and should be a goal. Yes, I understand that won’t happen overnight and that it takes work and a united front, but that to me is the ultimate goal of feminism. I hope that clears up what I’ve been saying about choices. Obviously we have to have a united front as feminists and fight to make a change. You make a good point about not all women calling themselves a feminist due to not seeing a problem with their status. That is frustrating to me, but that is part of my personal struggle. I think conversations like this help so much in the long run of opening eyes (of women and men alike) of what feminism truly is. Thank you for engaging with me in this conversation!

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