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They play it safe, are quick to assassinate what they do not understand.

– Erykah Badu

I had to begin this post with that particular quote because many of us do not know what feminism is. Something to do with women’s rights mumble mumble women’s empowerment cough splutter equality. Let’s go back to basics and get out a dictionary. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines feminism as:

– the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
– organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about what feminism is not.

Feminism is not about disempowering men

There’s this belief that empowering women means emasculating men. We have inherited a patriarchal society and there’s not much we can do about your insecurity, short of serving you meals while kneeling with our heads bowed. Of course you as a man will have to give up a few things, like the misguided notion that we as women are the weaker sex. Physically, we do concede to being built differently but we are not weaker. I’m not talking about arm-wrestling, here. I’m talking about pregnancy and childbirth. Look, it’s a big planet: giving to one does not necessarily mean taking away from another.

Sexual liberation is not like being a whore

For some reason, sexual liberation has translated in some people’s heads as sluttiness.

NO. NO. Oh my gosh, no!

Sexual liberation is acknowledging your vagina (not pussy, not lady bits, not ‘down there’). It is calling sex ‘sex’ (not the dirty deed, not the s-word). It is owning your body and exploring it. The female orgasm is not a shameful word to be sealed in a box and left to gather dust. How a woman chooses to express her sexual liberation is her choice. It comes down to getting to a place where sex isn’t something a man (or woman, as it were) takes from you or something you give him (or her, as it were) but something you share. God forbid, sex becomes a duty. How it escalated to sluttiness is beyond me. Grow up.

Feminism is not about being as un-girly as possible

When we put on a sexy pair of stilettos and a little black dress, spend hours in the salon and getting our nails done, it is not about impressing a man. It would seem a woman cannot look good unless it is for the attention of a man. Fellow feminists throw words like ‘sell-out’ around, unaware that they are in fact the sell-outs for thinking so little of women. Dressing up is for nobody other than ourselves. You cannot touch the confidence of a lady who is fresh from the salon. I’m squealing over a pair of shoes because I actually like them, not because I’m shallow and my life begins and ends in front of a mirror.

This barely scratches the surface of the misconceptions people have about feminists. You ever hear of ‘pure’ feminists accusing ‘lesser’ feminists of selling out by shaving? My goodness. We’ll have to stop wearing bras and using perfume next.

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2 thoughts on “What Feminism Is Not

  1. Ok… The first important thing is the definition of Feminism. Unfortunately, the author has submitted two definitions and seems to be suggesting that the two are equivallent (which is very heavily debatable).
    The first of those two definitions is arguably NOT a good definition of feminism and would, in my opinion, be quickly rejected on a cilvil platform. There are actually many reasons why this is so, but its easier to simply say that this definition resonates more with the principle of democracy than with feminism (for which an entirely separate argument is required).

    The second of those definitions is more acurate and provides much more grounds for an argument (i.e. organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests). This is largely because this definition actually embodies feminism is it is IN PRACTICE (which is also an entirely separate argument).

    The point I am making is this… Given the severely non-specific and non-abstract nature of the second definition, it is not obvious (certainly not simply by vertue of knowledge of this definition) that any of the claims which are so vehemently defended therein after are necessarily true.

    For example, it isn’t obvious from this definition that “Feminism is not about disempowering men”. In fact, the definition is concerned only with the interests and rights of women. Therefore, there is not abvious way to conclude that this claim is valid. For this reason, one would need a LOT OF RIGOUR in order to fully sasfy a critic (and hopefully, by this point, I have shown that I am a critic)

    In fact, no evidence is ever offered anywhere in the note in ACTUAL support of any of the supposed properties (or non-properties) of feminism. This is a dangerous position to take simply because, by not offering evidence (and only offering a definition) the author has lest open the ease for any person who is opposed to feminism to simply make provocative claims of their own without feeling an obligation to submit evidence.

    *Something to think about.

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