The Feminist Label

I feel like when I label myself a feminist I get a rather odd response. Actually, I don’t feel that; it’s fact. Nine times out of ten I get the response “you’re a feminist?” and then I get a look like I’ve just said I believe in fairies. Please somebody else tell me they’ve had the same? I get asked if I’m the crazy kind of feminist or the type like Emma Watson (as if there’s not another type in the world?) and I

You may have caught my recent post 10 Reasons You’re Not Calling Yourself a Feminist in which I talked briefly about the misunderstanding of feminism and the idiocentric view that feminists are ‘out to get’ men.

Since I graduated in June 2014 I’ve been quenching my thirst for knowledge with books on gender studies, sociology and psychology the subjects are all so closely linked and so relevant to feminism that it’s really homed me in on some truths.

What some people tend to forget is that feminism has come a very long way since the days of bra burning and man hating, but so has misogyny. We are not longer faced predominantly with overt symbols of sexism but instead with subtle, hidden and ignored ideologies that grind us down and affect our daily lives. Rape culture is denied, victim blaming is common and women are trying harder and harder to reach an unrealistic ideal. 

I believe that far too many assumptions are made about people based on their gender. Society seems to reinforce the idea that your gender defines your interests, social needs and capabilities when really, these things are all defined by your environment and how you were parented.

As a young girl I played together with my brothers, mostly with Lego, Scalextrics and Knex, all toys which encourage social bonding as well as creativity, competitiveness and imagination. I think that’s one of the reasons I find it so shocking when I see little girls oozing femininity and lacking the interest in activities that improve learning. I only ever craved pink, girly items when I saw other girls playing with them at school and assumed it the social norm.

It seems we’re breeding a generation of young men who expect women to be thin yet big breasted, intelligent but not too intelligent, young but sexually mature, feminine but not girly girls and so on. Where are these ridiculous and impossible expectations coming from? Society. Yes the media too, but we lap it up. Men and women. It seems the media heard a small feminist cry somewhere too and are forcing these expectations onto men.

Despite recognising the existence of rape culture, I do not fear that all men are sexual deviants. I understand that most men are good people, feminists or some not even particularly interested in sex. Society constantly reminds us that men are obsessed with sex, which in a lot of cases is true, but the vast majority of men are normal, I swear. Men are expected to want sex all the time and some of them deal with rejection very aggressively, but that’s not the case and that’s something women should remember.

So yes, I also recognise that misandry exists. This is something a lot of feminists get really really opinionated about. But it does exist. This example is a little out there but; can a man wear a skirt? It seems ridiculous when you really think about it. I understand that one of the reasons is because he will appear feminine, and that links it directly back to misogyny. A man is shunned for appearing feminine because femininity is seen as weakness, crazy. I know there’s not many men who want to wear skirts anyway (conditioning I guess), but the fact that men must act a certain way to be accepted by both men and women is misadristic.

The ideology of femininity should not exist in the first place. It’s a human creation, something to separate us into superior and inferior, to put people into constricting and oppressing gender roles and something that affects and ruins many men’s lives too. “But it was all constructed by a patriarchal society” I hear you roar. Don’t blame all men for something thousands of years of bad history has done to all of us, it makes you the bad guy.

I’ve seen a recent online emergence of men (and some women) calling themselves anti-feminists and insisting that feminism is wrong. I can understand if a man feels victimised by something a feminist has said, because some people get their point across wrong. But we must remember that like people, feminists come in all varieties. Some are extreme, some are subtle and others have it all wrong. But there is no point judging all feminists on one person’s belief. There is also no point in judging women by the experiences you’ve had with one.

I’ve heard a lot of “women are cheating bitches blah blah I wish I could get laid” and it’s so irritating seeing butthurt guys demonising more than half of humanity for the actions of one person. Does nobody else remember the American student Elliot Rodgers who murdered 14 girls because he’d felt rejected by women for his whole life? There are countless cases like this- known as femicide. 

Then there’s denying the existence of misogyny, but that’s something I could argue against for hours, so we’ll leave that one off the cards for now.

What it boils down to is that no person should be treated differently because of their gender, class, age, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, lack of sexuality, hair colour, weight, height or any one thing that differs them from YOU. Diversity should be celebrated and I’m a complete equalist.

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