A wise woman once said: “I’ll be Post-Feminist, POST Patriarchy.” Who that wise woman was, I don’t know…saw it on a bumper sticker. But whoever the sister was, I FEEL her. I think the time has come for us to really understand what it means to be a feminist. There are so many men who think feminism equals militant, man-hating, and unhappy. I’m here to say, NO. Feminists are actually quite the opposite.
n; the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men
What is feminism? That seems to be the ongoing question these days. Although women of all colors have been fighting for womens’ rights for years, Beyonce made major waves when she added Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech to the end of her chart topping song, “Flawless.”
Because I am a female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. 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?
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. If we have sons, we don’t mind knowing about our sons’ girlfriends, but our daughters’ boyfriends? God forbid. But of course when the time is right we expect those girls to bring back the perfect man to be their husband.
Like Adichie, I reject the idea that women are here to be quiet, pretty and picked like flowers when men get good and ready to do the picking. As a woman, I am in charge of my body, what I wear, what I say, what I think, and what I do. Period. As a human being, I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
The problem comes when men begin to poke fun at feminism in an attempt to discredit the movement, and often end up becoming bullies. That’s right, grown men are BULLYING women simply because they want equal rights.
Of all of the self-identified feminists that I follow on Twitter, I think Feminista Jones gets it the worst. Even with efforts like #YouOKSis in which Feminista and women around the world (myself included) attempted to bring street harassment experienced by women to light, men and even some women fought back.
The go to insults seemed to be “bitch”, “stupid ho”, “go get some d*ck”, “you need a man”, “be glad men even want to talk to you”, “you’re a dumb b*tch”, etc etc. And I’m talking THOUSANDS of people (mainly men) hurling these insults at WOMEN who are simply asking to have their voices heard.
If THOSE are the reactions that women get for simply declaring they’re a feminist and attempting to bring awareness, then I think it’s pretty easy to see why the feminist movement exists in the first place.
A 2014 survey found that 65 percent of women in the U.S. had experienced street harassment, with almost a quarter of all women being approached and sexually touched on the street. That’s a huge number. Just imagine the women who didn’t even report it!
When I was in college, I had a man walk right up to me, grab my crotch, and walk away. I’ve been in some scary situations where men have forced themselves on me, and unfortunately, I know MANY women who can say the same. Enough is enough. Women are not here to PLEASE men. When the #YouOkSis movement took off, there were lots of unhappy men all around the world. And like true misogynists, many of them hit the internet to perpetuate the violence that #YouOKSis was standing up against.
And let me be clear. There are no rules about HOW to practice your feminism. A lot of people tried to throw shade at Beyonce saying she wasn’t a feminist because she was married to a guy like Jay Z. NO. If you choose to be sexually liberated, and sex positive, go for it. If you choose not to shave your legs, go for it. If you choose not to wear makeup, do it. And if you choose to march, or tweet, or simply just stand up for yourself and not be a doormat, then by all means, GO FOR IT.
Listen, I’m the kind of girl who asks why women can’t just hyphenate their names. I want to know why I have to give up my maiden name all together. I want to know why we can’t simply meeerrrge the two names. My boyfriend looked at me crazy when I said it, but being me, I had to ask. The point is, don’t be afraid to question societal norms. Don’t let socialization cloud your vision. Being a feminist doesn’t equal man hater. Men can be feminists too. (How many of y’all would actually call yourselves one?) It’s OK to stand up for your rights, especially your right to self govern.
Now how about a little equal pay for equal work…or are we not there yet?