Feminism and Social Media
I have never really thought of feminism as an ideology but more so just a way of living. As human beings, it is in our moral philosophy not to murder, steal, cheat, lie, etc., but why don’t we think of achieving equality as being a moral obligation? The textbook definition of feminism is the belief that all humans should have equal social, political, and economical rights free from the discrimination of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. Feminism is not the call for women to become the supreme gender and create a new patriarchy, but it’s the call for the advancement of women for equality.
The word “feminism” has become quite a dirty word in the modern world. Despite its true intentions, most associate feminism with dominant, man hating, she-devils with armpit hair and a quest to destroy the male species entirely, and this couldn’t be further from reality. The theory most people affiliate with feminism is actually misandry. Misandry is classified as the dislike of and ingrained prejudice against men, essentially on the opposite side of the spectrum of misogyny. Misandrists give in to the popular misconception that all women striving for equality hate men and the patriarchy, which is half true. A real feminist’s goal is to destroy the patriarchy and the notion that men are the cardinal gender but feminists do not hate men, infact we love men, we love men so much that our main endeavor is to teach males the importance of equality and how feminism will give men a better sense of self.
There are two main types of feminism: white and intersectional. These two ideologies are often seen as one in social media and the news industry but comparing these would be like day and night. White feminism is feminism that ignores intersectionality, which essentially means that it is for the advancement of white women, ignoring people of color and those who were not born cis or straight. This isn’t to say that all white women are white feminists but most white feminists are infact white. The reason why white feminism is problematic is that the issues that concern them most, feed into the negative stigma associated with feminism as a whole. Movements like FreeTheNipple and Free Bleeding discredit feminists and make us seem a bit psychotic. Being able to walk around the city topless should not be our main concern as a gender, and menstruating freely is utterly unhygienic and gross. These issues make a mockery out of women who battle legitimate injustice on a daily basis. Now of course, I am not implying that these white feminists don’t face inequalities in life, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that white women in America face nowhere near the amount of maltreatment that women of color or LGBT people face. White feminists are not bad people, nor are they insane, they just need to take time in learning more about intersectionality and the prejudice that people other than themselves face, for example, the wage gap. A legitimate issue that white feminism is known to be supportive of is the wage gap, which demonstrates that women in the workforce will make 76 cents to every dollar that her male counterpart would make in the same position. And although this movement is extremely necessary for the advancement of females, white feminist choose to ignore the fact that Black women make 64 cents to their white male counterpart and Latina women make about 56 cents, which is insanely problematic.
Intersectional feminism is a bit more intuitive than feminism has been in the past; it recognizes that oppression is faced on a much broader basis than just gender. It strives for the development and equality of every human being regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation/affiliation, class, ability, ethnicity, etc. Intersectionality is fundamentally a feminism for the people, it gives support to those who need equality the most, for example, young Black males who are slaughtered on a daily basis due to racial stereotypes, Muslims being attacked and discriminated against based on a foolish misconception. Intersectional feminists fight for equality and justice among all groups of people.
A very popular misconception is that chivalry conflicts with feminism, but the two are not mutually exclusive at all. Though feminism calls for the social equality between the sexes, that does not mean that women will throw a fit if you open the door for her or pay for her meal, the real question at hand is would a male feel uncomfortable if a woman tried to reciprocate the gesture? One of our crucial objectives is to engrave in the minds of both male and female that either gender is capable of doing what the other can. Chivalry is not dead, but it should no longer be associated with the courteousness by men to women but for the politeness of one human to another.
The assumption that feminism comes at a disadvantage for males is entirely false; men have just as much to benefit from feminism as women do. As a genuine intersectional feminist, you must choose to believe that men also face injustice and hardships on a daily basis. Just as us women face unrealistic beauty standards that haunt us through the years, men also face those same unachievable requirements to be classified “a man”, and on top of that, men can not even express the misery they face trying to achieve those standards because they will be otherwise classified as being girly or a wuss, as if it’s unheard of for men to show any type of emotion (NEWS FLASH! Men cry, more than you may think!). A feminist’s goal is to assist men in learning that it is okay to be emotional and interested in things not otherwise associated with being strong and aggressive; men can like fashion and poetry just as much as a women can like monster trucks and football. Feminism also aids in legitimizing male victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. It pushes to make prisons more safe for males and pushes to overturn laws and punishments that discriminate against men, such as sexual assault which has a much less severe punishment on female abusers than male abusers. It also encourages stay at home fathers, nurses and other occupations formerly associated with being a women, to be proud and become more in touch with their masculinity. Taking care of others does not make a man any less masculine; sympathy is what makes us human. And the ideology that all men are these robotic, self-centered, idiotic, beefcakes is so problematic and just adds to the issues of misogyny and misandry. We shouldn’t be thinking of gender as boys vs. girls, gender should be a colorful spectrum where you are free to express yourself in the way you choose. As humans, we must cease in assuming that the other gender is our enemy or any different than us, we must begin to realize that we are all human beings who experience the same maltreatment and have the same ways of thinking. If we can overcome something as trivial as gender discrimination, we could easily eliminate discrimination on a much wider basis.
Feminism has become extremely ridiculed in society and social media. It is very common to see men attacking feminists online and making a mockery out of them. Many anti-feminist twitter accounts have been made to slander those who make it their ambition to achieve equality. Aside from men discrediting feminists, our own gender has started an irrelevant movement against the advancement of women called Women Against Feminism, in which women hold up signs that explain why they do not consider themselves feminists, and upon reading them, any real feminist would just want to blow her brains out. These signs usually consist of quotes like “I am not a feminist because I am proud to be a stay at home mom”, “I do not believe in abortion or in demonizing men”, and “I believe in equality! Not in women being superior to men.” Feminism in no way belittles stay at home mothers, but it gives women the choice to become a CEO or president instead, which was not applicable just a few decades ago. Feminists are not baby hating women either; we only wish to grant women with the CHOICE to be able to abort if she isn’t capable of raising a child. And how could feminism encourage demonizing men if our main priority is to eliminate gender roles and help males just as much as females? If people actually took the time to educate themselves on this issue, they would come to the conclusion that every single human being on this earth is a feminist! If you believe that everyone should be treated equally, then you are a feminist.
The movement has come such a long way but we cannot stop while we’re ahead. We must fight for everyone who is oppressed in the hopes that one day, we will be a part of a society where everyone is justified and feels whole. Change will not happen overnight and that shouldn’t discourage us to be any less headstrong in fighting for our right to equality.