Serious Business.

On Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 9:25 PM, —————— wrote:
yor ass inement is 2 rite with in 2 daze a 500 wurd up hoomy SA on a serious black top pick of yur choys! and yur pair rants r not weerd…

Nearly three years ago I got the above email from my Dad. It was sent after we had a long discussion on the merits of “proper writing” and was meant to see if I could step up to the task and write something Serious (with a capital S). No satire (lower case s), no puns, no cat pictures. Just 500 words on a topic I feel strongly about.

Well, I obviously never did it.

The problem isn’t that I didn’t want to try my hand at something new. The problem was I just didn’t feel strongly enough about something to write seriously about it.

Until now.

This weekend I tried desperately to explain to my sister what it means when someone calls you a Tumblr Feminist and why the term is derogatory. I never got my point across and she just laughed harder and harder at the image of feminists belonging to Cirque du Soleil, tumbling around without men (my sister is very unfamiliar with most forms of social media, doesn’t have a computer in her home, and has a phone old enough to be in a museum).

At the end of the discussion my sister said she understood what I was saying, but that she isn’t a feminist and doesn’t even really like feminists. She does however believe strongly in Gender Equality.

*Cue blood boiling*.

Feminism is about Gender Equality! That is the entire point. Regardless of whether you are a man or woman, if you believe in men and women being treated equally you are, by definition, a feminist.

It really is that simple.

The feminist agenda (I hate that word, it sounds like something from the Cold War) is not about hating men or believing women are superior. It is not about bashing or belittling. It is not about reversing roles and treating men poorly.

Feminism is not about hate at all.

It is about creating an environment where all people, regardless of gender, are treated equally and afforded equal opportunities.

It is about wanting to live in a world where you are safe from the violent and predatory behavior of people who think it is ok to use your body to sell things in the media, that it is ok to ask you what you were wearing or if you were a virgin, who believe it’s ok to hold you to impossible standards based entirely on sexiness and objectification (you’re a slut if you’re too pretty, you’re a prude if you’re not pretty enough).

I don’t blame my sister for not knowing this. It wasn’t long ago that I proudly declared myself anti-feminist and said how often I wished I had been born in a different era so I could embrace my Holly Housewife tendencies. But that was before I understood what the word truly meant.

It was before I understood that being a feminist didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy cooking and cleaning and hope to one day be a stay at home Mom. It was before I understood that wanting equal opportunities didn’t mean you had to strive to be more masculine or that you had to hate men. And it most definitely was before I had real world experience seeing firsthand how the gender gap affects wages, treatment of employees, and how rampant and dangerous sexism is.

Objectification and inequality are dangerous to everyone. They breed violence and, even worse, indifference to the violence. They bring about “rape culture”. They make it ok to excuse hate speech, accusing men and women of being “bitches” or “gay” because they didn’t laugh at your sexist joke. They are a serious issue in today’s world, and deserve serious consideration and thought as to how to change the attitudes they create.

Feminism is about changing the attitudes of the world for the better, for the safety and security of all.

“I hope that gender equality is something that happens in my lifetime.” If you agree with that statement then dear reader, you too are a feminist.

PS. Watch this.

 

 

 

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