I find that don’t I identify with a lot of women who are proud to be female.
There it is. It’s something I’ve been thinking about since I saw multiple people posting about International Women’s Day last week. I don’t always feel proud to be a woman.
I don’t really know why, and it scares me. It makes me feel wrong, somehow, like I should be feeling something that I’m not. It makes me feel guilty. And, naturally, like any other sensible human being, I believe in women’s rights and equality all the way, so that’s not part of the issue. I believe that women should have every opportunity that men have. Men should have every opportunity that women have. In the workplace, in education, in life. That, to me, is the definition of feminism.
But I think that some women have taken the feminist message the wrong way. They’ve given feminism a bad name, tarnished it like black ink pooling on a piece of crisp white paper. They have, I think, taken it too far. Some people, and not just women, don’t understand the idea that silence can sometimes speak volumes. They don’t understand that we don’t have to be outrageously noisy to be heard — instead, we have to teach people to be willing to listen, even to the quietest of voices. Having the loudest voice, the most bravery, the courage means nothing. It doesn’t mean what you have to say is valuable, and I think a lot of people falsely believe that it is.
I see posts on social media, in which people claim to be feminists, but then go on to announce that the future is female. That women will rise up and take control, and show men what it’s like to be belittled, to be hurt, to be thought of as weak and inferior. But violence is not the solution to violence. It’s just more violence. If we take control and begin to show off our power in a way that demeans men, how does that make us any different than them? Any better? How is that a change from what some of us have had to endure their entire lives? It’s petty. It’s revenge, fueled by hatred and unkindness and a burning passion for change (the last of which I can understand).
But to do that wouldn’t create change. It wouldn’t do anything to help. Rather than changing ourselves, we should help men change. We should raise our children to see each other as equals, as friends, as partners and allies. We should raise our children to be the good in the world, not to carry our grudges on their backs. We should raise them not only to have their own opinions, but to be brave enough to form them when faced with the facts of life.
We should take a step back, and wonder if we would like to be treated in such a way by men (we would not). When I tell people that I’m a feminist, I don’t want anyone’s first thought to be that I think women are better than men, or that we should reign superior.
That’s why some people are not feminists, even when they say they are — because they don’t understand what it truly means, what it should mean, to be one.
Ladies (and of course, gentlemen!), what are your thoughts on this? What does feminism mean to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.