1.the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
Key word, EQUALITY.
Seeing the way people are on social media and even in the real world, I’ve unfortunately come to conclude that too many people don’t understand or care about feminism. An alarming number of these people seem to think that a feminist has to meet a certain mold: liberal, man-hating, ranting female. To those who think that way, look above and read that definition a few more times until it sinks in. And please allow me, a moderate, people-loving, occasionally ranting male explain why I believe that women, men, and other genders should all be treated as equals - politically, socially, economically, and beyond.
Historically, if you were not a white, Christian male, you were essentially regarded as a second-class citizen. You were treated as unimportant and out of mainstream focus. You were abused, pushed aside, looked down upon, and were a near constant representation of unfairness and injustice. Though I began by saying “historically,” this is not just some dark page of American history that has since been resolved. It is a problem that continues on to this day. Though I acknowledge that race and religion are important topics that deserve to be addressed themselves, the focus of this particular writing was that of gender equality, and that is where I will continue.
The woman who has made the biggest impact in my life thus far has been my mother. Everyone likes to say they have the best mom in the world, but I really do have THE best mom in the world. She is supportive, loving, caring, encouraging, proud, hardworking, and acts as both a mother and friend to me. She is an all around great person, and deserving of the absolute best (and I’m not just saying that because she’s my mother.) She and my dad have set a great example for me, taught me so much, and have helped me become who I am today. I want feminism and equality for my mother’s sake. While in the present, I believe it is important to look to the future to see why else feminism is important to me.
Someday, I hope to be married, have children, and live more than just comfortably to ensure that my family gets the very best. But I don’t want them to be completely dependent on my hopefully eventual success. I want my wife to follow her dreams, find what she loves and excel at it - whether it be a stay at home mom, an artist, the CEO of a major company, or anything else that she may choose. I want her to be able to have a strong will and mind, make decisions that are best for her, prove wrong the people and views that try to stop her or tell her she can’t do something, and teach and learn every day. I want her to challenge my own views, tell me when I’m wrong, teach me, learn from me, and grow as I do. But never will I tell her she has to do any of these things, never will I tell her she has to do anything my way, and never will I intentionally discourage her. And how about those hypothetical children that my wife and I have? Whether they’re a boy or girl, from an early age, I’d teach my children to show respect and good manners to everyone, regardless of sex, gender, race, religion, political views, or whatever other differences they have. My goal in this is to have them see and judge people as individuals, rather than making presumptions or stereotypes. Because at the end of the day, we are all still people, and all people should be treated as equals.
When I meet that girl who I eventually fall in love with and marry, I want the absolute best for her. If and when we have children, I want the absolute best for them. If we have a son, or sons, I don’t want him to see women as inferior or treat them as such. If we happen to have a daughter, or daughters, I don’t want to see them grow up treated unfairly or lesser than her brother in any way. And by the time they’re born, I hope that we don’t live in a world where their mother still has to struggle to be seen on the same level as her male counterparts. Ideally, by the time of these events, all of this would be a nonissue. But the reality is that even if women become fairly represented in politics, are seen as equal to men in mainstream society, and finally are paid and accounted for on the same economic level as men, there will still be major issues that need solving.
For example, how many teenage boys and “men” my own age will still call a girl a “slut” or “whore” because she had an unexpected child with the only guy she’s ever slept with and has been with for years? How many of these same guys will reiterate these offensive names to girls that have had sex with a few partners, while the guys themselves wouldn’t dare call their guy friends names if they slept with the same amount of girls? How many guys will think it’s okay to joke about rape and assault, without realizing how traumatizing it is to the victims? How many guys will physically, mentally, or sexually abuse women? You would think at a certain age people would learn, but even middle-aged and older politicians have infamously made moronic comments reflective of the above situations without hesitation. Even some guys I’m friends with say and do things that are totally disrespectful to women, but would probably be offended if it was done to them. How could I realistically expect them to instill feminist values and equality into future generations if they themselves can’t seem to grasp them?
Nevertheless, I will do my part. I will someday be a loving, supporting husband and father. I will vote for the candidates that best support equality, among other issues. I will see men, women, and other genders as equals, and as PEOPLE. If I oversee employees, I will make sure the hiring, benefits, and pay scale do not vary because of issues like gender. I will value the opinions of both men and women, and never see either as inferior or superior to the other, even if society says otherwise. I would love to learn whatever more I can do, and I will try to encourage others to do their part as well.
As a white male, I have had it pretty easy. I have been given tremendous advantages over others, and at times I’ve taken advantage of those opportunities. But I’ve also genuinely appreciated what I’ve been given, have tried my best to be unselfish, and have taken the time to learn about different views and issues to take the fairest approaches possible. I am not perfect by any means, and am constantly looking to learn and improve. I know that some people may find issues or problems with my writing, and some may challenge my views and opinions. I openly encourage people to do so, as it is a way I can obtain more knowledge on the subject, and continue to learn and grow, and become a better person.
So why exactly am I a feminist? Yes, it is because I love my mom and want what’s best for her. Yes, it is because I want my sister, niece, cousins, aunts, friends, and everyone else to be seen as equals to men. Yes, it is because I want my future wife and daughter to have the same opportunities and abilities as myself and achieve all that they wish. Yes, it is because I want my son to be a gentleman and aspire to be his best as well. The latter half of the people I mentioned are purely hypothetical, which is why this all brings me to a larger, more definitive reason of why I’m a feminist: I believe that everyone is deserving of having what they want in their life, doing what they want with their life, being who they want to be in their life, and that their gender should not define who they are. Feminism allows this possibility of equality to be a reality. And if it is a reality, it is better for all of us. I truly hope that we achieve this reality sooner than later.
I will not directly ask other men to join in feminism. Nobody should have to ask us, it should just be common sense. It was easy for me to see for the longest time that this was a common sense issue with enormous importance, and I sincerely hope that others will see this too so we can progress as a society where everyone truly is equal.