The F Word

  A feminist is a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. If you believe that women deserve to be treated equally to men in every aspect of life you should  call yourself a feminist. Though feminism has obtained a bad reputation, it's stigma is a “direct expression of misogyny; It is the political defense of woman hating.”  The very word causes people to freeze in fear. It reminds me of Beetlejuice, like if you say the word three times a  hairy, crazed, angry, lesbian will appear and rip off the testicles of the next man she sees.

 

Feminists don't hate men! They hate sexism. Men can be feminists, too. They can also be victims of sexism through pointless gender stereotypes. The hysteria over feminism is absurd. Are there extremists? Of course, there are extremes in everything. To judge an entire movement based on the actions of a select few is not only unfair, but illogical. Feminism serves a righteous purpose and is fervently needed in all cultures around the world. One of the easiest ways sexism is engrained in our society is through double standards. From sexual excursions and slut shaming to unequal dress codes, women are sexualized and degraded for the same choices men make.

 

This has started the Free the Nipple Campaign. Since breasts aren't sexual organs and their intended purpose is to feed offspring, there is no reason why men can show their nipples, but women can't. Yes, people are sexually attracted to breasts, but there is attraction to legs. Should it be illegal for women to wear skirts? The sexes are treated differently from birth. Gender roles constitute what colors they wear and toys they have. Boys are decked out in blue, cars, and sports while girls look like magical unicorn puked on them. Have you walked down a toy aisle lately? Holy shit. Even the walls are blue and pink! The girl aisle is filled with dolls, dresses, crowns, and cooking and cleaning supplies. It shows young, impressionable girls what we amount them to; A princess like wife and mother who's job is to take care of the home and children.

 

These gender roles teach boys they have to be tough, hard, dominant, and the breadwinner. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once said, “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?”

 

The systematic differences in the outcomes that men and women achieve in the labor market is called gender gap. It amounts to the inequality that women face by working in a man's world. Men dominate industries like math, labor trades, technology, law enforcement, and finance. Women make up 51% of the population, but only 17% of Congress. With a low rate of women law makers, it's easy to see how controlling legislation is still being pushed. Women's bodies are controlled under the facade of religious freedom laws. The US Supreme Court ruled corporations can't be forced to provide their employees with certain kinds of contraceptives that don't align with their religious beliefs. Legislation was just passed by house Republicans that made it legal for companies to fire women for using birth control. Roe vs Wade happened 42 years ago and anti-abortion restrictions are passed all the time. Even government officials make controversial comments about rape like calling it part of god's plan, or Todd Akin's infamous statement that a woman can't get pregnant if it's “legitimate rape.” Comments like these are proof that rape culture exists.

 

Rape culture can be defined as “a culture in which dominant cultural ideologies, media images, social practices, and societal institutions support and condone sexual abuse by normalizing, trivializing and eroticizing male violence against women and blaming victims for their own abuse.” One in five American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.  In 31 states, it's legal for rapist to sue for custody and visitation rights of the child. Every 21 hours a rape happens on an American college campus. Some people believe a woman is asking for rape by what she wears and how she acts. Like a woman in tight jeans has a night out drinking with friends, she's asking for men to force themselves on her. In 2008, Italy ruled that a woman who wears tight jeans can indeed be raped. Marital rape doesn't exist in many parts of the world and in those same places rape isn't reported in fear of punishment, imprisonment, bringing her family shame, or Honor Killing. There is a growing backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits across the United States. Rape is massive problem in every corner of the world. We cannot ignore and trivialize it.

 

Dale Spender is quoted, “Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. It's battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions, for social welfare, for rape crisis centres, women's refuges, reforms in the law. If someone says, 'Oh, I'm not a feminist', I ask, 'Why? What's your problem?'”

 

By: Chell Edwards

“Chell, the cloth diaper obsessed mother, who loves coffee and feminist conversations, is an advocate for peaceful parenting.

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