What is Feminism? The dictionary says: the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. Beyond this however it is about equality for all, it’s not about taking sides, seeing men as rivals or enemies, or assumptions that a women is always right. It’s about abolishing the gender gap, so that we are equals, no one better or worse than the other. So with that in mind we have come up with 7 ways to be a better feminist.
Feminists get a bad rep now-a-days, seen as trouble makers or ‘feminazis’ from those feel threatened by the beliefs. The media have also skewed the perception of what feminism is, using a few radical ideas and individuals to essentially demonise the uprising. A strong female view can be seen by the weak as something to fear or to snuff out. Change and accountability for ones actions can be a motivating factor to try and ensure that anyone is silenced and for too long women have allowed this to happen.
Whilst many will argue male or female points of view a true feminist is about equality between the sexes, because that’s what is in their hearts; equality.
Being a better feminist?
Knowing the outlines of what a true feminist strives for is helpful but more than this its finding beliefs that align with whats in your heart. This can be different for everyone. The main objectives are:
1. The advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.
2. The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
3. The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.
4. The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
Enforcing these kind of rights is where things can become muddied, assumptions about how men and women can’t be equal because they are not the same physically are rife. With a confusion on ‘same’ and ‘equal’ it can be hard to clear up exactly what ‘equality’ looks like. For those who can’t see beyond the view that women are ‘weaker’ or ‘smaller’ let me clear this up for you.
Put 2 five-year-old’s in a classroom. One is clearly taller and stronger than the other one. Does this mean the smaller/weaker one does not deserve to have equal access to the class facilities? To the teacher, books, computer, views or other children, based on their physical stature?
Putting it in terms of 2 children can be helpful to get a simplified look at what equality actually means. Slightly crude but you get the point.
7 ways to help you align with feminism
The word feminism musters up angry, opinionated rather gregarious men haters but this couldn’t be further from the truth. A true feminist LOVES men and wants equality for them also.
Any terms like ‘typical bloke’ or ‘boys will be boys’ just feed into this misconception that somehow a man can be excused for treating a women less or for not expecting more from a man. Sexism happens on both sides, so hold yourself accountable to what you are saying.
Physicality Is A Myth
I know both strong men and women. I know some men that are more feminine than me. Who cares?! While society leads you to believe men are biologically ‘made’ to be the hunter gatherer perhaps its worth a history lesson or 2 (or maybe more). There are many cultures where it’s the women who hunt and gather, while the men stay at home. Do not let the industrial revolution fool you that this is the way its always been. Men find it easier to build muscle because they are not slave to hormones that prep women to be fertile and have babies. This doesn’t mean we cannot have big muscles far from it.
Lets not hate on an individual but rather a behaviour. Let’s use the current American president (Donald Trump) as an example. He could be seen as the eptiome of sexist and a pin up for all feminists to throw darts at. However lets not hate on him as an individual, but rather his behaviours. His behaviours suggest he has no value of women because he sexualises them, even his own daughter. It’s the behaviours after all we want to see abolished and the best parts of mens strengths to shine through.
Whats Good For The Goose
I was recently talking to a friend who is a firefighter and he told me that he regularly is in receipt of some very sexist remarks and behaviours from women. It’s easy to feel that after years or being in receipt of sexual harassment by males that its ‘a taste of their own medicine’ to get it back. I really feel we can do better than this. It wouldn’t be tolerated at all male to female, yet there is a portion of females who think this is ok to do to men. IT REALLY ISN’T. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I am not religious but this quote sums it up for me. If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to a man.
Let Fathers Be Fathers
In co-parenting situations the temptation can often be there to limit the fathers time with the child. Children where possible need to see both parents, and unless there is a situation of the child being at risk, then we should always strive to let fathers be fathers and be equal with how long and often they see the child. It should never be assumed a mother will be the more suitable parent, and equally it should never be assumed that the mother should be more responsible for the child either. 2 parents had equal say in the conception of the child therefore both should play equal parts both financially and emotionally.
Accept Chivalry With Grace
The art of chivalry is not dead, despite some believing it is. What is dying is having the poise and grace to accept generous behaviours from a man. Be it holding a door open, letting a man pay for dinner or accepting compliments readily. Just because you are a feminist doesn’t mean you can’t accept these sort of behaviours. Yes you can! Do it with love, give a smile and say thanks. This is the kind of respect we want to see carried out on a daily basis, so when it happens acknowledge it with all your feminine beauty, and where possible return the favour to both male and females.
Positive Role Models To All
One of the best ways to be a successful and better Feminist is to embody all the positive things feminism has to offer. Be a great role model for your children, siblings and friends. Show them what the life of a feminist is like. Which is pretty much the same as theirs except you hold yourself accountable to equality wherever possible. Showing a love and respect of all humans, being graceful when things do not go as you expect and holding both men and women accountable when they display sexist actions is what feminism is about. Dare to call someone out in an empowering manner, positively to help them see that they can do better and why.
Feminism is multifaceted and can apply to the expectations we place on men, the gender gap but also on the role women play in precipitating sexism and inequality. These expectations can and should be altered so that anger can be replaced with respect and fear can be placed with surety, so we can stand shoulder to shoulder with men knowing that stereotypes have been abolished and freedom to be who we are can reign freely.
What does feminism mean to you? Is there something else you could add to this list? If there is please leave a comment.