Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Feminism 101


So every time I hear "So are you a raging feminist" and "I'm a woman but I don't really see the point in feminism", one of the eggs in my ovaries dies (I refuse to curse cute animals so I will curse my own unfertilised offspring instead).

It is fine if you don't know much about feminism. It is not ok to oppose it based on what little you know.

Now I'm no Simone de Beauvoir or Judith Butler, but I probably know more about feminism than the next guy you're going to swipe on tinder. So gimme some of your attention and we shall commence this class.

FEMINISM IS...

In its essence, feminism fights for social, economic and political equality for all genders (female, male, trans and queer).

AM I A FEMINIST?

If you believe in any semblance of equality between genders, you are a feminist.

FEMINISM IS NOT...

The belief in female superiority
Matriarchy
Lesbianism
Man-hating
Bra burning
Neglecting to shave your pits
Fifty Shades of Gray
Taylor Swift

I'M A MAN, WHY SHOULD I CARE?

You should care because you are a brother, son, boyfriend, father, or husband to a woman you love.  Feminism means your sister doesn't get raped while walking home. Feminism means your mother doesn't get asked for BJs on the street because men see her as a person of value. Feminism is behind the pride you will feel when your daughter gets her PhD. Feminism means your wife can contribute to household income, easing your burden.

Feminism has never been about how women can one-up men in the boardroom/bedroom/wherever. It's about you as much as it is about her, and abolishing limiting stereotypes and expectations of both genders is an integral part of feminism.

For more convincing reasons (like a better sex life apparently), read this.

I'M A WOMAN AND I ACTUALLY LIKE BEING IN THE KITCHEN, AM I STILL FEMINIST?

Of course! The beauty of feminism is that women have the right to feel empowered in any way they wish. Feminism means you can be a happy homemaker while your best friend is a CEO, yet both of you are fulfilled by your life choices. 

According to feminism101.com, "what feminists strenuously - and rightly - opposed in the early days was not motherhood or homemaking, but the...widespread social indoctrination that ALL women ought to have children and find ALL their satisfaction in the home." Basically, what this quote is saying is that feminists were against the notion of a one-size-fits-all life for women, while men had the liberties to find fulfilment in so many other ways. Feminism is about being able to make individual life choices not bound by traditional gender conventions (no matter your gender btw), and isn't a criticism of the choices you eventually choose to make.

WHAT IF I DON'T THINK THE GENDERS ARE MEANT TO BE EQUAL

I do believe that the genders are inherently different, but complimentary in many ways. Equality, in the feminist sense, does not negate these biological and psychological differences. Equality in this context does not mean sameness. Social, economic and political equality simply means all genders are equally valued in the world, and that other genders besides male are not othered. Examples of policies born out of this principle include female education, woman's vote, even childcare leave for both mothers and fathers in Singapore.

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And finally, my favourite:

I'M A WOMAN,  BUT I DON'T NEED FEMINISM BECAUSE I LIKE THE BENEFITS I GET FROM GENDER INEQUALITY

Honey, please. These 'benefits' you speak of are likely dating related - the guy paying for your meals, sending you back home, opening the car door for you and pulling out your chair at the restaurant. These are social conventions and displays of chivalry, not gender inequalities. Nobody said you couldn't pay for your boyfriend's meal and you sure as hell can open the car door on your own. Even if he does't expect you to, make it clear that you are most willing and capable of doing it yourself. On a side note girls, if you're earning an income and your partner isn't, why are you even making him pay?!

Gender inequality is NOT about the good things you get from identifying as a woman. Gender equality is about the 'can't's that you deal with, simply because of your gender. Why can't men men be house husbands or express emotion without being judged? Why can't women be paid the same as their male counterparts when they are equally as qualified?

Women in parts of the world are having their clitorises cut off and women in India are confined to unsanitary huts during menstruation. Are you willing to overlook that just so that you can continue to have your chair pulled out for you?

If you are a woman and you even have the capacity to come up with an argument against feminism, you have an education. And for that education you have feminism to thank.

*mic drop*


P.S. I found this post exceptional while researching this post. It's titled for men, but a lot of the concepts of feminism are explained simply yet convincingly here. Do give it some of your time! 


13 comments :

  1. Best post I have read in a long, long time. #proudfeminist

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  2. Yes, yes, so much yes! I just found your blog via the Her Campus facebook page and I could not be more thrilled I did. I very much consider myself a feminist which occasionally confuses people because I like tutus and pink lipstick. I become SO enraged when I hear a woman say she does not identify as a feminist. It's pure ignorance! Obsessed with everything you said here, about to share your post and follow your blog <3

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  3. I hope you know that while the points you made are largely valid, there are some rather problematic elements. I gather from the title that this is meant to be a most basic interpretation, and while this can excuse a lot of it, I hope that you are in fact aware of the many inherent nuances, especially under the "I'M A MAN, WHY SHOULD I CARE?" header, and I personally would disagree that the "benefits" in dating "are social conventions and displays of chivalry, not gender inequalities." To me, that is a somewhat dangerous path to go down, if you excuse something as a "social convention" and not examine more closely how and why these came to be the accepted norm is when the setters of such conventions win, whether they "benefit" women or not.

    Anyway, I hope I didn't come off as too much of a condescending arsehole or end up making a mansplainer of myself. That would be somewhat difficult for me to reconcile since I do identify as a woman.

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    1. I'll have to agree with anon right here regarding social norms. There is a reason something is the "norm." Condescension can fall under the initial roots of this norm and this would be, though murkily, classed as "gender inequality." Despite this little pedantic itch, I do agree with most of the points stated. I don't want to go as far as to declare myself a feminist yet, though, despite the fact that I completely am for the essence of feminism. Perhaps it's the fact that I feel as if I haven't done enough research or reading and don't have an extremely comprehensive understanding of the subject as of now. It's like calling oneself a reader when all they've read are sappy John Green and Nicholas Sparks novels. Preposterous.

      Thank you for this post, nonetheless, Chloe.

      May | THE MAYDEN

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    2. I don't believe one has to be well versed in all forms of feminism to identify as such, tbh. The word "feminist" is just a label, and as long as one acknowledges that they are lacking in some understandings and is open to learning, I'm sure they'll benefit everyone, even if just in a small individualised way

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  4. Great post and so important. Love it. #iamafeminist

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  5. Hands down, it's WONDERFUL + elaborated post. Feminism has been given a lot of names that don't even relate to the main mantra of this movement. Though there are still many people who know the essence. I'm a feminist because I want to live my life as I want - without people telling me it's only for "men".

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  6. Yes PREACH! I can't believe people call feminism a "man-hating" moment. It's not JUST about everything men or anti-men, it's about empowering women. I love all your words!!!

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  7. why not just call it gender equality? don't get me wrong, I am all for equality. but what I see is that feminists (females) seem to only fight for causes that are disadvantageous to women, anything that is advantageous to them, no one says jack!

    like if a guy so much as to raise his hand on a woman, he would be seen as a beast.
    but if the woman does the same thing, "the guy is probably at fault", and most will just walk away. but NO one talks about that.

    Guys get into trouble if a girl so much as to say he touched her. But if a guy were to say the other way... guess what? there's no law in Singapore that protect guys in this case. (so if a guy were to report molest/rape, basically it's a no case)
    NO one says anything

    Women are exempted from caning in schools or in prison.
    NO one says anything.


    don't get me started on CONSCRIPTION. how about fighting for CONSCRIPTION for women as well?? :) guys HAVE NO CHOICE. its CONSCRIPTION. so only guys have to serve 2 years and we get into deep shit if we don't, girls have no such liability.

    don't see any female feminists fighting for female conscription?

    In Singapore... do women get paid lesser? let me know the stats if you have (of Singapore) if a guy works at a mcdonald's and you work at a mcdonald's, will you get paid lesser an hour?

    as a female individual, do you not get to vote?, do you not get education? (in Singapore)

    the causes that you fight for (women getting mutilated...etc) are on a global scale (which is terrible, no one should go through that shit) but let's talk about Singapore, we live here... sure i believe in having equal pay, equal rights, equal opportunity. But in Singapore... honestly... we get paid the same, vote, study. so...

    girls say guys objectify women, commented on their looks/body, we are misogynists.
    but if you flip the script, women commented on guys looks/body, females don't say anything.

    case in point, a fb post posted by a female friend about favourite male body parts, which features a the arms abs, ass, thighs, legs. and her female friends started discussion and all commented which is their favourite.

    if you flip the script, fb post of girls body parts, bunch of guys commented and discussing, feminists would flip, oh you misogynistic pig "if guys want thighs and breast, they should go to kfc".

    i am not against these posts posted by females, it is more about if they get to post such stuff and comment without getting flak, guys should be able too! CONSISTENCY!



    so fight for female caning, female conscription and guys get to call women out on molestation and rape.

    this is not trying to get a One-up, this is equality, we should have consistency,we can't have double standards, if something is implemented on one gender, it should be implemented on the other, if girls can do this, guys should be able to vice versa. equal pay, equal rights, equal opportunities.





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    1. LOL i bet you believe in reverse racism also. just, LOL.

      -Anonymous the first.

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    2. haha that's fucking gold. you say that because you know you have nothing to say.

      by saying that, you are actually one of those feminist who wants one standard for women, and one for men.

      reverse racism... you are LOL. you argument is that "oh so if someone can be racist, we can be racist too"... racism is fucked up, we should eradicate it.

      but conscription? protecting our country? why not let the women join too? oh if women have a choice, why not guys have a choice? (so you are saying conscription is fucked up? then fight for it la, so guys also don't have to do. oh wait... ya, you don't need to serve what, not you problem also, )

      if males have a higher pay than females (in the same job), then both should have the same pay. (so you are saying equal pay is fucked up?)

      racism? wtf are you even talking about... that's false analogy...

      exactly the reason why I don't believe in feminism at all. because all you (anon) want is just benefits for women, you only fight for things that matter to women where benefits are concern.

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  8. "How self entitled must you be to actually think that people care about what you have to say"

    http://twitter.com/epiktricity/status/640929964817170433

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