06 October 2014

“I don't need feminism…”

I agree we shouldn't need feminism. Equality should be a natural state and applied evenly across all genders, whatever they may be. Feminism shouldn't even exist as a term. To some, it has implications of misandry or advocates glorifying the feminine to the exclusion of all else.

Some believe that "humanism" should be enough, because we are all human. Obviously we should see each other as equals, without the dividing lines of gender. Unfortunately, though, the disparity in the treatment of the genders is overwhelmingly skewed that "humanism" isn't truly possible - primarily because too many forget to act like women are autonomous human beings.

There's some complacency when it comes to the ideology of feminism and many misconceptions. There is the belief that all feminists hate men, that we seek to take over, or that the fight is over - since women are present in the workplace, allowed to hold opinions, and are allowed to vote.
I won't even get into the recent debates about abortion, birth control, body autonomy, or the ruling from SCOTUS. This isn't about politics, really it's not. It's about basic human rights.
So, if I'm not talking about politics; why do I need feminism?

I need feminism because I would like to be able to hold a strong opinion about something, without someone assuming I am on my period, being emotional, or being dismissed -out of hand- because obviously I am not as well read as my male counterpart who has a different point of view.

I need feminism because; in the fields of science and mathematics women are woefully underrepresented. Those who do exist are not given the same respect as their male counterparts. Gender bias is very real and it's harmful, not just to women, but to the very communities that dismiss them. The next break through could be sitting on a desk waiting for funding, but because the initial study request has a female name on it, is ignored.

I know a brilliant woman who has a mind for math. I've seen her complain about someone condescendingly explaining her own work back to her, as if she was an idiot. Obviously, the little lady needed a smart man to tell her how real math worked (even though all the work was already done... by her...).
Don't say women aren't as interested in science or math. It's more so indoctrination and being told repeatedly that "Girls don't like science/aren't good at math. How about you take home ec sweetie?". It's discouraging to the point that people just stop trying after a while. Just listen to Neil DeGrasse Tyson's take on the exclusivity of the scientific community. While he's talking about race, he addresses gender in his comments too.

I need feminism because it's perfectly ok for strangers to comment on what women eat. Even my slender friends have been told, "You sure you want to eat that?" when holding a plate of fries or an ice cream. Do you ask men if they really want to eat those chips or do you just sell them the fucking chips?

I need feminism because it seems to be expected for people to tell women the proper way to dress. As if choosing their own attire is something beyond their own comprehension. If they're dressed in a way anyone deems "inappropriate", the women themselves are to blame for ridicule, mockery, harassment, or even rape.

I'm not just talking about provocative clothing. Female celebrities are raked over the coals for not putting on makeup, as if they committed a sin by daring to appear bare faced and imperfect. Women are treated as lesser for choosing to be comfortable, rather than "pretty" for a day. And yes, women have been slut shamed or told they were "asking for it" because they wore a short skirt.

I need feminism because I would like to not only not fear assault, but I don't want it second guessed that I had a role in my own assault. I got raped wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt. I got raped repeatedly by my ex-husband. Guess which rapist is in jail. If you said neither you're right. In both cases, the prosecutor and the cops gave the rapist an out. I was "out too late" so it was my fault. And "Well with marital sex it is just he said... she said". Fuck you too, guess the bruises around my neck were just from foreplay.

I need feminism because I'm supposed to teach my daughters how to not get raped. It is supposedly their responsibility to avoid rape, because men are incapable of controlling themselves. This is detrimental to both genders. Men are portrayed as savage animals, barely held in check by virtue of a turtleneck, sobriety, and broad daylight.

Since men are not animals, how about we teach our sons not to fucking rape, that rape isn't ok, & it isn't funny? How about communities not rally around rapists and news outlets stop pitying the poor rapists and how the girl (who dared to get raped) ruined their lives by going to the cops... or because someone else went to the cops, on her behalf, because they saw pictures pasted all over the internet while she was naked and unconscious.

I need feminism because, as a veteran I do remember all the sexual harassment training we were mandated to attend. I also remember how little it mattered and how pointless it was, because if you actually were harassed you knew better than to speak up. If you didn’t let your superior grope you, if he were “that” kind of asshole – good luck getting a good evaluation. Unless you wanted to end your own career and face reprisal (which totally happened, even though that was technically illegal too), you kept your mouth shut.

It’s a boy’s club and you’d better learn your place, little lady. Even now, people hear about a woman superior coming to a command and they openly complain and talk about how women aren’t as good. Misogyny isn’t just expected, it’s actively encouraged under the guise of “jokes” or “well we’re just talking”.

I need feminism because I shouldn't have to meet some arbitrary appearance guideline just to avoid being treated like shit. That should be a basic human right. I get it; some men are given a hard time for their clothing. but the level of vitriol and seething hatred displayed when a woman doesn't measure up is beyond the pale.

As an overweight woman, I've been told... to my face... I shouldn't be allowed outside because I am so disgusting. I've been told no man will love me and it's my own fault, because I am too fat. Supposedly, I don't deserve to be treated with respect, because I don't fit into what I "should" look like. Or my personal favourite... "concern trolling" where someone really only cares about my health, so they hope I lose the weight. (FTR: I'm overweight because of hormonal issues and losing is fucking hard. My blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, heart, etc are all excellent. Fuck you very much)

I need feminism because I should be able to write posts like this or read blogs by other feminists where the comments section isn't filled with vile, hateful filth meant to utterly destroy any woman who dares say "hey... I don't feel valued in our society". I've been on forums posting about video games and been threatened with rape.

I need feminism because our "representative" democracy sure seems to have a large percentage of white males in charge of everything. This includes forums discussing women's health with an ALL MALE congressional committee. How is that even logical?

I need feminism because I am a human being and deserve to be treated as one. I deserve to have the same rights as anyone else. I firmly believe we SHOULD be treated equally and I do take umbrage with ALL inequities in the system. Yes, even the inequalities affecting men (such as sentencing in courts.).

But... it is deliberately obtuse to state that there isn't a gender gap; that power is not primarily in the hands of men and that women are not, if not explicitly, implicitly told to know their place.
The fact that there are women holding up signs, that simultaneously shame other women, while declaring that they don't need feminism is proof of the need for feminism. If we can't even stand up for ourselves, who will?

And for the record... I love men


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