Getting Specific on Feminism   Leave a comment

An ongoing, but limited (140 characters, yo) conversation on Twitter made me decide to revisit the topic of 3rd wave feminism.

Image result for image of 3rd wave feminismI believe in equal rights for women. I’ve enjoyed equal rights as a woman for most of my adult life. I do not, however, believe in complete equality between man and woman.

We’re not the same. Whether because God made us that way or because evolution just worked out that way, scientifically speaking, there is simply never going to be equality between a man and a woman. Our genetic makeup is so inherently different that it fundamentally affects the way we think and behave.This should never hinder a woman from having a successful career or attaining a top-grade education, but feminists simply have no grounds to claim that men and women are indistinguishable and should be treated as if there are no differences. Without going too deep into it, anyone can realize that there would be no reason for the distinction between the two sexes if that were the case, but let’s be honest – when men and women compete physically men have the advantage in strength, height, weight and speed. You can look at Olympic times and see that is the truth. Pretending it is otherwise is pure folly.

Image result for image of 3rd wave feminismI am often puzzled by the animosity over gender roles. Feminists cry foul at people who attempt to “impose” gender roles and stereotypes on young girls, saying they should be given the freedom to decide if they want to be “girly” or as masculine as they want. Really? So we shouldn’t learn any skills in life until after we’ve reached adulthood? Often, this animosity extends to the mothers of girls who want to teach their daughters cooking or sewing. We live in an era when parents cannot buy a “cooking set” or Barbie doll toy for their daughters without a horde of feminists catching the scent of their unforgivable crime against the female gender. Definitely, if a girl is uncomfortable with assuming the typical gender role, any reasonable parent would not “force” her to be girly. But this whole “what if she doesn’t want to be girly” issue has been blown way out of proportion by feminists. Leave parenting to the parents. If the girl doesn’t like it, I’m sure parents will cater to their individual child’s needs. No need for feminists to be the Parenting Police.

Image result for image of 3rd wave feminismI have no doubt there are many women in the world still living in oppression. It’s a problem that needs to be solved. I think the greater issue is that people in general live in oppression. I seek equality of rights of all whether male or female, regardless of race, language, or religion. Feminism was a beautiful ideal meant to give women the space to express opinions, make decisions, and receive fair treatment in all aspects of life. It was not meant to be an avenue for hate-speech against men or exalting women to a godlike status whereby anyone who has any criticism of a member of the female gender is automatically condemned to an eternal doom. Yeah, there are men who are creeps, but feminism should be the fight for equal rights for male and female, not the fight against all things male.

A while back, I read something about an actor who declared himself a feminist. “Good,” I thought. But then there were comments on the article where women were sarcastically proclaiming that we shouldn’t be applauding this man because he should have already been a part of the movement a long time ago. And, I thought “That is why so many men want nothing to do with you or your movement and probably why so many women hesitate to be associated.”

Anger is an effective tool when employed discreetly. It can communicate severity of issues and garner support from unlikely areas. When exercised carelessly, the approach appears belligerent, which can lead to backlash and potential opposition based on distaste alone. Unfortunately, many of today’s combative third-wave feminists do not recognize that systematic accusations, insults, and belittling of others for their experiences and views typically produce this type of rebuff.

Calling out men or male-friendly females is not unlike reprimanding an employee in front of the entire staff. It’s the sort of behavior we are striving to eradicate, but we see it far too often from the ranks of 3rd wave feminism … as if they are somehow exempt from the standards the rest of us must live under.

Then there is the practice of attempting to limit others’ speech. American society as held the right of every to think and say what they wish, whether it is moral and just, or not. Many feminists have a tendency to condemn anything that affects their feminist sensibilities in a negative fashion. The usual approach is some endeavor to stop these things from existing, for fear of influencing others to think in such a manner. Not only do I think that silencing misogyny is a waste of time, I think silencing free speech is morally reprehensible. People accept and reject all types of narratives all the time. Trying to shout down those narratives just makes us look like we’re defending something that is too weak to speak for itself. We should strive to represent ourselves as people of depth and ability who deserve the right and opportunity to use those abilities.
Part of equality is behaving as equals, and if we continually place all blame on men for our problems, we will do ourselves no service. We need to stop being insulted and start acting like adults. Within feminism, like other social and political movements, there are differing perspectives, a range of very particular goals, and many approaches to reaching these varying and specific objectives. We are all joined by the major tenets, but because of our differences, feminism serves as an umbrella term for anything relating to the equality of women to men.

We each have a distinctive and unique ideal for the world. Some wish to create a utopia where no one is ever hurt or offended. Mine is for people to live, and love, and hurt, and make autonomous choices while acknowledging and respecting the autonomy of other people. There is no direct highway to this goal, but without a doubt, taking individual action to better our lives, combined with objective thinking, respect, and compassion is the route I’ve seen most effectively change minds in our favor.

I am not suggesting anyone sugarcoat views through apology. I am only encouraging certain feminists to stop conflating healthy discussion with aggression, or as my Twitter friend put it “anti-feminism”.. At best, it is driving positive attention away from the ideals of feminism, and at worst, turning people against women in general.

Posted October 13, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in cultural divide, Uncategorized

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