The F-Word

Feminism. A word people cringe at, mock; a word that can cause unbelievable storms of controversy; just for mentioning.  When I tell people I am a feminist, I get one of two responses.  I either get laughed at, or I receive a blank stare of pure confusion.  I usually get asked questions like, “why do you hate men?” or “do you shave your legs?”

NEWS FLASH: Just because I am a feminist doesn’t mean I’m a man hater, and also doesn’t mean I don’t take pride in keeping up with my personal hygiene. Thank you very much!  Most people just think being a feminist means I’m some crazy, hairy, lesbian, penis-hating woman who has jumped on the band-wagon for some kind of rebellion. Um, no.

By definition feminism is: the theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.  Feminism is anything but anti-men, it is simply equality.

Many people see the word “feminism” and relate it to the word “feminine.”  This makes many people believe that it is made only for women, which is false.  There are actually many male feminists including; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, John Legend, Ashton Kutcher, Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder and many more.  Gender inequality is not just a women problem because men and women are equals, and without one side properly advocated for and looked upon as capable and strong; half of the puzzle piece is missing.

“Feminine” is in the word “feminism” simply because women are the oppressed gender; subject to unjust treatment.

Many people say the sexism problem, is no longer really a “problem.” “Women can vote!” They will say, “Isn’t that enough?”  For me, no, it is not.

Oppression has been present since the beginning.  Starting with the Romans, law stated that men had full control of their wives and could even punish them to the point of death.

Once young girls reached puberty, an average age of 12-14, girls were given to grown men, (GROWN MEN PEOPLE) as wives.

Even in many third-world countries today, and as in the past, if a woman was raped, it was her fault, not the rapist.  Her husband would be able to beat her for it, publically shame her, she may even be banished from wherever she is from.

This is our reality.

In the twelfth and thirteenth century, marriages were arranged at the time a girl was three or four years old.  Legally, a girl could consent to marriage by the age of seven; the age of an average second grader today.

In the fifteen hundreds women were seen as evils that lured men into sin. At that time, John Knox, leader of the Protestant Reformation, wrote “Woman in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey man.” At the age of fifty, he married a seventeen-year-old girl.

Yes, it is true, that since these disturbing and upsetting times, we have come a long way.  But we still have a long road ahead of us in this fight for equality.

But if we have in fact reached full gender equality, as some people believe, why do women still make twenty-five cents less to every man’s dollar?  Why do women make up more than half of the population, but only a quarter of congress? Why do male politicians try to pass laws regulating women’s bodies?  Why do less than sixteen percent of mainstream films feature women as the protagonists, and why are women in these movies made out to be pure sex objects?  So, do you think we still live in an “equal” society?

I am a feminist because I am tired of not being perceived as strong and powerful because I have boobs.  I’m a feminist because I’m tired of being heckled and having my a** being stared at when I walk down the street and people responding with, “So what? He thought you were pretty”.  I’m a feminist because I’m sick of hearing rape jokes.  I’m a feminist because it’s terrifying to hear about the horrible things that happen to girls in third-world countries.  I’m a feminist because I hate seeing my sister stare in the mirror, telling me she wishes she was prettier or skinner.  I’m a feminist because Photoshop sucks and makes women feel ugly and worthless.  I’m a feminist because I know I am strong enough to speak up and make a difference in this society.

I’m a feminist because I’m not afraid to use the F-word.