Since leaving University last year I have taken on an active interest in feminism and the issues surrounding it. However, since taking on this interest I have experienced many reactions when the dreaded word ‘feminism’ is mentioned. Some go as follows, ‘Oh, so you are a man-hating lesbian then’ (original comment), ‘Oh Gosh, you one of them bra burners’, apart from ignoring the complete ignorance surrounding these questions the answer is no I am not. Recognising the inequality that women have had to and still currently endure, MUST mean that I am a raging lesbian and hate all men. I could not possibly want equal rights amongst all because I feel that is what we deserve, it must be because I hate men and I am attracted to women, obviously.
Apart from the initial frustration that I feel upon hearing these comments, I then begin to see the amusing undertones to these remarks. People are missing the point. Feminism is not about men (shocker). It is not about hatred to men, it is not about suppression from men. If it was then the whole point of feminism would be completely contradicting. It is simply about freedom, and women’s’ right to posses this as a separate entity from men.
I believe the concept of ‘feminism’ itself is almost restricting for women (Hear me out! ha ha). To believe that women deserve equal rights and to want to be at an equal stance with men in society, then we must be feminists right?. But why do we have to be labelled? It is not a political belief, or a religion, if it was then wanting equality would be a matter of opinion. However, it is not. It is just what is right, not a belief, it is a way of life, not simply values that we ‘believe’ in. It is about wanting what is right for all of mankind without the suppression of others and irregardless of ones sex. The fact that we have to use this word feminism in order to fight for what we think is right, is itself an infringement on our rights. Yes, there is the argument that without ‘feminism’ in the first place we would be unable to fight for what we think is right. Why is this ‘feminism’, why when at the Miss America Protests when all the women burned their bras and possessions was this also ‘feminism’?. The fact that we have had to use this word in order to justify what we want is an inequality in itself. Men did not. If men have an opinion about their own sex and their rights, it does not automatically make them a masculist, they are purely someone who takes an active interest in what they believe in and what they think is right.
However, back to the original comment of this post, even if I was a man-hating lesbian, does that mean that I should be discredited? How on earth can someone believe that a person’s ideals are shaped purely by their sexual orientation. I want equality amongst all, I don’t hate men because I believe in this. Rather the opposite. Hating men would simply be taking one step forward and two steps back. A hatred towards men would not create an equal society. It is not about wanting to be superior to men or to ‘put them in their place’. Bloody hell, we just want to be able to walk the streets at night without the fear of sexual attacks, or being stricken with fear. This is not about men and hating men, or wanting to be men. This is about US and our happiness and what we deserve.