This can be a tricky topic, and we’re very aware of that. But Melissa, and now Marie, are proponents of Feminism and what it stands for. We talk about what Feminism is to us, what our husbands think about it, and how it can play a role in our marriage.
Feminism has gotten a bad rap lately, and many women say they believe in the ideas behind it but don’t want to be associated with the term or movement. Marie was in that boat, too. Although we get where you’re coming from, we discuss how every group– religious, or not– all have their extremist. It doesn’t matter if it’s being vegan or being a crossfitter, there is always someone associated with the group that will “ruin” its name. That’s just the way it is. So that’s why Melissa is a big proponent of owning the title of Feminist, take back the meaning.
And although she doesn’t articulate what Feminism means to her that well, she’ll definitely take a shot at it in writing (because she’s a lot better at that than talking on the spot).
What Does Feminism Mean To Me?
Feminism doesn’t have to be tricky, and I think that we touched on that a little bit. There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to Feminism, yes, but it doesn’t have to be this complicated beast that people are afraid of and don’t understand.
I think my best explanation of why I need Feminism and what it means to me is told through a story.
One day, after the Women’s March, there was an article going around about why all these ladies don’t need Feminism. It talked about how women shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to be housewives, which, yes. I agree 100% with that. If I had it my way, I’d definitely be a house wife. I love <s>staying home all day by myself</s> taking care of my husband, dog, and future kids! That’s the dream!
And that is also not what Feminism is calling attention to. Feminism isn’t the hatred of men. It’s not women trying to be better than men. It isn’t about being stronger, smarter, or wanting to be put ahead of them. (And I think many men are scared of Feminism because that’s what they think it is … And if you think we’re trying to get ahead of you, then you must recognize that we’re behind you in some way, right? And being ahead of you would put you in the place women are today, right? And why is that so scary to you, I wonder … Anyway.) Feminism is just about being equal. Every woman. Everywhere. Should feel as though they’re just as important, have the same opportunities, and are welcome within the same spaces as men.
It shouldn’t be such an incredible thing to have women in STEM fields. Men shouldn’t be expected to be the bread-winner. Women shouldn’t feel unsafe when they’re walking alone in a parking garage. Men shouldn’t feel weak because they’re the victim of sexual assault. All of these are stigmas because of the lack of power women have in society. Many times, we’re thought of as weaker and passive– that’s why no one wants to “run like a girl.” You following along?
Anyway, back to this article. One of my sorority sisters reposted it saying she agreed. I commented– very nicely– how Feminism and the Women’s March wasn’t about her wanting to be barefoot and pregnant. Quite the opposite, actually.
And her grandmother or something commented on it basically telling me she’s tired of women, like me, who are unhappy with our lives and making a big deal “out of nothing.” I tried to explain that this was about things greater than White Women in America. And I said something to the effect of “If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, then so be it. Feminism is for women that feel like they have to because their husband expects it.”
And she told me that that was the women’s problem in picking the wrong man.
And I laughed out loud. Then I became mad. And then I felt really, really sad for her and every woman that looked up to her.
We need Feminism because men like that exist. And they exist because other men and women taught them to view women in that way. This isn’t some idea and belief that he was innately born with. He didn’t come out of the womb thinking he was better than a woman and that her place was in the kitchen and bedroom.
He. Was. Taught. This.
We were taught this. We were taught that if a man is raped– well, we’re actually taught that men can’t be raped. They always want sex! But, you know, <b>if</b> they are, we don’t discuss what he was wearing, his alcohol intake, or if he was flirting too much with the rapist. It’s a whole different narrative.
Instead, people will think of him as weak. They’ll think it’s unmanly. They’ll think of him as a “p*ssy.”
Why? Because being raped doesn’t happen to men. Being raped is something that only happens to women. Men are already dominate, so they can’t be raped. They already have the power.
Do you see where I’m going here?
We need Feminism. We need it for women of color. We need it for women in other countries. We need it for men being abused. We need it for our future sons and daughters.
Feminism, to me, is about making sure we’re all held to the same standards and open to the same opportunities.