The "F" Word. Feminism's Bad Reputation

So when I signed up for my Women Studies class, I wasn't really looking at it from that point of view. I am was looking to get the Management Operations side of it. The class is titled "Women in Management and Leadership." Which is exactly what I am looking to be in the future. But it is a cross listed class, so it give credit for both a business class and a womens studies class. The very first day, we were given our assignments for the semester. The first one she handed out was titled "The F Word." I knew that I was going to like this professor. Even though I wasn't crazy about the topic of Feminism. She asked the class to raise their hands if they considered themselves to be a feminist. Barely anyone did. And that wasn't surprising to me. Feminism has gotten such a bad rap. I honestly believed that I was not a feminist. I didn't think that I fit the stereotype or believed in what I thought feminism stood for. But I still had to write the paper, and it was supposed to be 10 pages! Jeeze, that wasn't daunting at all :P

I learned a lot from doing my research. I wont post all the stuff I came up with, just what I thought was the most interesting. Which is...drum roll please...that I am a Feminist! WHOA! When did that happen?!

Okay, before ya'll freak out and start hating on me, just hear me out. By all definitions, feminism is simply about equality for women and being given the same chances and opportunities as men. This by no means that women want to be men (sorry Freud, women do not have penis envy). And it also doesn't mean that feminists hate men and think that they are cause of all the bad in the world. I am a feminist because I believe that women are equal to men and should be given the same opportunities. Neither men or women are better then the other, they are simply different. And those differences are what causes them to make different choices and chose different life paths.

History may give the present precedent, and direction, but that may not always be right. Just because thats how it has always been doesn't mean that it is how it always should be. Since the beginning of time, the human race has been evolving and growing. Change isn't bad. However, women still get the short end of the stick a lot of the time. Which is really unfortunate, because you know there are some amazing women out there that can make the world a much better place if only given a fair chance.

I am a feminist. Now with saying that, get the image of a feminist in your mind, what do you see? I can promise you that I do not fit that vision. I am not the rebel young girl that is going to challenge tradition and cause trouble. I am in a relationship with a loving man. I don't blame men for making my future somewhat difficult.  I am feminine! I love my long curly hair. I take pride in my appearance. I love makeup and clothes and my dresses and high heels are some of my favorite belongings. I also love to cook. I'm not a cook or a baker because of I'm a female. I enjoy cooking because I like to eat! I love to create things that taste good and make people happy. The kitchen is one of my favorite places to be because I can do whatever I want there. I am a girl, there is no doubt about that! I am not trying to be masculine. I may be athletic and love sports, but thats just me being competitive, and that isn't a bad thing! Not all feminists are outrageous, loud and aggressive. Feminism is about choice and opportunity. Not taking over the world and destroying men. Believe me, men are some of my best friends!

On that note, there are some feminists that do fit the stereotype perfectly. And well...they all have to start somewhere right? When women were fighting to get the right to vote, they were not taken seriously. They were seen as silly and not serious. So in order to make others see that they weren't going to stop, and to be taken seriously, the women had to be a little, unorthodox.  Illegally voting and being arrested certainly were that. Being radical got attention, and to some point, got things done. It made people take a closer look at the movement. It may not seen as necessary anymore, but sometimes, it is. Men have run the world since the beginning,

Feminists over the years have had to take some crazy routes in order to get to the desired goal. Women still are not equal to men. Because there are still some men and even women who do not understand the cause. Feminism is about being treated equally and being given the same opportunities as men are in this world. Feminists are those people who believe that is true. So even a man can be a feminist.

Crazy concept hey? I know it is a difficult topic to get your head around. For 21 years, I didn't think I was a feminist, even though I would argue with my father about what instruments I could play. I wanted to try the Sax, like him, but he said that was a boy instrument. I just wanted to be able to try new things and make my own choices. But because I was a girl, I wasn't allowed to do certain things. The main point of this is just that women and men are both humans. HUMANS! We may be different in a few key ways, but different isn't always bad! Because women and men are different, it makes the world work. But there isn't just one role that each have to play. A man can stay at home, and a woman can work. A woman having a job isn't crazy, it wont ruin the fabric of society, and the world isn't going to come to an end because she isn't a stay at home mom who cooks and cleans all day. And a man can stay at home with the kids, there is nothing wrong there!

 

Feminism is about having the choice to lead whatever life a woman wants. Not about hating men, not about ruining life as we know it. It is about being able to be the best human possible. I may choose to be a mother who stays home with kids and cooks. But I may not, I might be a business women. Feminism is about choice. And I want that choice, so therefore, I'm a feminist.

 

Stay Tuned

-Tori Kaye