Being a Feminist (And Teaching People to Not Cringe When You Say "I'm a Feminist")

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by LBejaran, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. LBejaran

    LBejaran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was perusing the WWW yesterday, seeking out weeding techniques, clothing patterns, and the cost of my next video game purchase when I happened upon a Facebook post. It spoke to me, considering some personal issues I'm dealing with right now. Putting it on my favorite forum seemed like the logical next step. Back to my girl pal.

    This friend of mine and I met through our writing and we used to collaborate often in online literary communities when we were in high school. It was spectacular, considering she lived in Ohio and I lived in the southern-most tip of Texas. We were geographically separated, but the written word was a common land we adventured together.

    Another thing we have in common, as reiterated through her Facebook post, is that she and I are both feminists. For those of you who are maybe a bit unsure of what feminism is, here is a hint:

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    I know what people think when they hear or see the word "feminist". They think of propaganda, bra burning, unshaven women, misandry and mothers destroying their families so they can go off and become lesbians.

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    The truth is, I'm a feminist and I don't think I've ever partaken in any of those things! I don't burn undergarments or hate men. I kinda like maintaining my personal hygiene and I haven't destroyed any families lately. Like everyone else, feminists come in all shapes and sizes.

    [​IMG]
    What sparked this thread was my recent acknowledgement of being a feminist. A couple years ago, when I first truly understood the word, I too had misconceptions on what it meant to be an active participant in the feminist movement. It all seemed very serious and I wasn't prepared to sign my life away to a cause that I didn't truly understand.

    It was this year that I truly begun to understand the power dynamics between men and women in my family (plus, sometimes I get frustrated when I'm in a thread talking about building a new coop addition and someone says, "Well, maybe you can ask your Dad/Brother/Neighbor's-daughter's-son to build it for you in exchange for fresh-baked ziti or a sandwich that you made with your womanly charms!"). That is why I began doing research. It took some doing to find non-biased researching considering there are a lot of men and women out there who seem to have different ideas of what feminism is.

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    Here is what I know for certain:

    Feminism isn't about misandry/hating men.
    Feminism is about equal rights for all genders.

    Feminism isn't about burning undergarments, destroying families, or witchcraft.
    Feminism is about having the option to choose what you do with your life and your body.

    Feminism isn't about pushing men down a peg.
    Feminism is about not having to fear another gender because they are considered stronger or "above" you.


    Stopping the Feminism-Induced Wince

    The truth is, I don't know how to change perceptions of feminism. When I tell people, they generally are surprised and ask questions about how I can be part of such a politically-charged movement.

    I just tell them the truth: Being a feminist doesn't have to be a political statement. Feminism has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with civil rights. It is my right to be treated with equal respect as a man, no matter what I'm hiding in my pants. I can only hope that what I say and how I act is enough to change perceptions. Of course, it would be helpful if more male and female celebrities came forth with a proper understanding of feminism. Right now, all we have are the Miley Cyrus-es and the Chris Browns to tell us what is socially acceptable.

    I know this wasn't really a post with a question or any real purpose other than to educate some people on what being a feminist is to me. Maybe you were expecting me to tell anecdotes of when I went on a girl-only rally and burned my bra in a big bon fire lit with nail polish remover and the sparks of stilettos being slashed against one another. The truth is, though, that I've been going on this feminist journey alone, for the most part. I've got a couple of great, feminist friends and one kinda-sorta feminist sister and a super supportive kinda-sorta feminist Mom, which is enough for me. I hope one day that feminism will be a thing of the past and all we'll have is equal rights.
     
  2. eenie114

    eenie114 Completly Hopeless

    Here in the Bible Belt, people tend to spaz out a little when they find out I'm a feminist. It gets old, fast. I'm not anti-men, I'm pro-humanity. I'm going to use this! Thanks!
     
  3. LBejaran

    LBejaran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This happens a lot down here. There are some very progressive people, but for the most part, there are girls being held under the thumb of their fathers/brothers/boyfriends. I had a friend in college who felt guilty for getting lunch with me off campus because she hadn't told her Dad. She was 20. I couldn't keep talking to her because she kept complaining but would never do anything about it. Being passive aggressive about your role in the world is not going to cut it with me.

    I just know there are so many different kinds of women, just as there with men. I'm of the belief that we need to educate others on what it means to be a feminist. I'm happy that you are a feminist, but I am sorry you are dealing with these people who don't know anything about your views. It takes a lot of courage to come out as a supporter in such a volatile place. Good luck. I'm rooting for you!
     
  4. 3goodeggs

    3goodeggs pays attention sporadically

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    I think it just goes back to the golden rule. Which is way older than the feminist movement. Except I flip it. Do unto others as they do unto you.
    If you want to be respected, then be respectful. Women were/are supposed to respect men, and yet... There are some men that every time I am in there presence I feel less human than before I met them.
    I am related to men who in spite of knowing that I am smart,educated, decent, caring, loving, and a good egg... have some bizarre notion that they are vastly superior to me, and all women for that matter. Ironically, they are not happy people. You would think having it all would be enough.

    It is just good manners to be a nice person, and diminishing anyone's self worth to build up your own is ...mean. I don't have room for mean people in my life anymore. I am no longer "nice enough' to tolerate it they way I was always expected to.

    Is that feminism? Then I am a feminist. Ta-da!
     
  5. LBejaran

    LBejaran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Of course, being respectful of others is just something people should do. I think where feminism comes in is when woman are told to be respectful of men, but that they shouldn't expect the same respect. It's why I get so frustrated when there are double standards.

    I love my dad, but he is a pretty good example of a sexist. He is still of the belief that my sister and I need a chaperone when we go out with friends to parties. I'm 21, first of all, and my little sister isn't allowed to go to parties unless there are other parents there. He often questions where I go and has accused me of doing things I haven't done. However, he thinks it's great that my little brother goes out with his friends. He doesn't even ask where he's going, he just forks over some cash and tells him to have a good time.

    I like being the good egg, the respectful one, etc. It's nice to not create unnecessary conflict when I don't have to. However, I've found that it's exhausting to be treated like a second-class citizen because of my gender. Especially when I'm surrounded around a bunch of "macho" guys, I kind of have to prove to them that I'm even worthy to be in their space. Generally, telling tales of how I killed/plucked/gutted chickens, can carry 50 lbs bags of feed with ease, am learning how to weld, shot a hawk while only armed with a slingshot and metal BBs because it was swooping at my chickens, and want to get meat rabbits and tan their fur is enough to get people to ease off me. But it's not right that I have to prove myself worthy to guys who probably thing masculinity is based on how many people you can kill in Call of Duty.

    Sorry, rant-ish response. But you are a feminist (and a good person). Who knew those two things could go together? (I did, hehe!)
     
  6. 3goodeggs

    3goodeggs pays attention sporadically

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    I think having to become one of the guys in order to garner respect was the biggest pit fall I fell into.
    To do the guy work and then the house work meant that there was just work. Wow, they could get me to haul the hay, move the sweet feed, feed the cattle and do the dishes, scrub the bathrooms, change the sheets, vacuum and cook something decent....without a please or thank you... and if I felt I deserved one I was uppity. so, am I feminist or just a fed up female?

    I think marrying a man who respected me and felt that work was work and all hands made it easier for everyone, really caused a huge rift in my family. I liked being respected. They thought he was weak and unmanly for treating me like he wanted me to stick around.

    I have always felt that 'please',' thank you', and' I am sorry' were the best words ever uttered.
    If people could learn to use them freely without hesitation or pride, what a better world this would be. I know my little family is better for them.

    I recently listened to a speech by the Pope, I am not Catholic, but hearing him say the same thing about those three words as applied to family, Made me feel good.
     
  7. eenie114

    eenie114 Completly Hopeless

    [​IMG] There's no such thing as men's work and women's work. My brother once said (at the age of nine) that cooking was a girl's job... Guess who learned to scramble eggs that day. [​IMG] If you want to eat, you get to cook. He never said THAT again!
     
  8. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Fellow feminist here. There is nothing worse than being the victim of a sexist person! (I've met both men AND women who were sexist against women)

    The field I am in has become quite over run with women, but its amazing the sexism I still encounter from males in this field Especially the old-timers from back before veterinary medicine was made up of mostly women. We had two speakers a few weeks ago - a husband and wife - who were so incredibly sexist. The man constantly put down his wife and his wife agreed that it was her duty to do "womanly" things. I couldn't help but shake my head.

    My previous job was as an EMT. My goodness, the sexism I encountered there! A lot of it was accompanied with ignorance unfortunately. At times, it was a difficult environment to work in though!

    I am all about equality and respect. I can do pretty much anything just as good as a man. I expect others to respect me for who I am as a person, not my gender.
     
  9. LBejaran

    LBejaran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm my Mom's biggest fan because of how resilient she has been around my father. She has also taught her daughters and sons about relationships and what they shouldn't be.

    I'm glad you found a man who respected you in a way that your family didn't. You can tell that the people who called your husband weak were uncomfortable with his appreciation of you. It's an issue I deal with at home because people forget to appreciate one another. It's very frustrating.

    That new pope...I'm pretty sure he's changing the world. He is much more open than the previous Popes and I hope he sticks around for awhile.
     
  10. LBejaran

    LBejaran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good on you! I always tell my brothers that when I cook them something, I do it out of loveand not obligation. My cooking isn't their right, it's a gift. If they cooked, I would thank them immediately. I expect the same. They are really good at appreciating meals now, though they cook for themselves often enough that I think they understand the work that goes into it.
     

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