Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

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Feminism is the Radical Notion that Women are People

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau

The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, thinks that men should feel free to call themselves feminists. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It’s about time a man in power somewhere said that. Should men be feminists? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Trudeau laid it out, “We shouldn’t be afraid of the word ‘feminist.’ Men and women should use it to describe themselves anytime they want.”

Why do I applaud that? Look men: at the present time you happen to have more power than us. We need your help. We need you to educate other men. We need you to help us change laws that protect us from abuse, violence and unequal pay etc.

I know many women are turned off by the word ‘feminist.’ Let’s clear that up first. If you are for equality for men and women, you are a feminist. Period. You don’t have to call yourself that or go to ‘feminist’ meetings where you think you might run into butch dikes on motorcycles. You don’t have to hate men and think women are better. You don’t have to be a bitch.

Madonna likes to call herself a humanist instead of a feminist. The only problem with that is, it’s like saying All Lives Matter. Sure all lives do matter and all humans should be equal. However the reason we say Black Lives Matter is because there are certain inequalities that the African American race must deal with that is unique to them. Just like that all humans are great, however feminism deals with problems that are primarily about a world that is ruled by men. Women in particular suffer from inequalities that men do not.

Maybe this is what you believe: “Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians,” Pat Robertson.

There is a popular notion that feminists are against the idea of family. That is not a fact at all, feminists believe that they have the right to be head of more than just a family, but be a powerful member of society as a whole.

Will everything be solved once Hilary Clinton is president? No. It’s a start, but just like Obama didn’t erase all Black inequalities, a woman president can only do so much for women. Women have to do it themselves to a large degree. And we need the help of men.

See we are looking at things the wrong way. We tell women to be careful, we teach them to be aware of men who could potentially violate them. However, we don’t necessarily teach our boys to not become violators. There are more men in prison then women, more men rapists and murderers, and the victims are often times women. There would be less violent crime against women if men educated each other on how to respect females.

“Feminism isn’t simply about being a woman in a position of power. It’s battling systemic inequities; it’s a social justice movement that believes sexism, racism and classism exist and interconnect, and that they should be consistently challenged,” Jessica Valenti.

malala feminist quote

Malala Yousafzai

What is feminism really about? It’s about you. Whoever you are you are suffering from some kind of social injustice. Even if you are a white upper-middle class male. Maybe you have the pressure of being ‘a real man’ and the pressure to be financially stronger than your female counterparts. What does being a ‘real man’ even mean? Maybe you have pent up frustrated feelings that you don’t know to express because you’ve been taught that ‘boys don’t cry.’

It’s not really about getting in touch with your ‘feminine’ side. It’s about getting in touch with all of you, seeing yourself as whole. Feminism challenges the notion that femininity and masculinity are real labels that are fair to use. In the end it is actually about seeing the humanity in all of us. We are people made of complex and sophisticated parts, not gender labels.

Are men and women different? Yes. We are biologically different. However that does not mean we are unequal. Just like white culture is different than black culture, neither is superior. Neither is inferior. It is just different. We have to find the strengths in both genders as opposed to pitting against each other to find out who is ‘best.’

Why is it important to be a feminist as opposed to not being a feminist? It is important to declare that you are for this fight for Women’s Rights. It is imperative that you announce that you are for the advancement of women and girls in a society that holds them back. If you sit quietly and do not identify with this movement you are implicitly saying that you don’t care.

If you think women deserve equal pay, protection from sexual assault and abuse, and the right to choose what to do with their bodies than you already are a feminist. So why is naming yourself as one important? It’s like signing a petition saying that you are in this fight against inequality.

I repeat: feminists do not hate men. Most of them in fact are in loving relationships with men. We hate patriarchy, an old antiquated notion that men deserve to hold the power in society and women should be excluded from it.

It is not crazy to be feminist. It’s not a radical idea. It is a very simple notion that men and women are equal. What does it mean to be equal? Neither gender is more worthy of power in our society.

In America at least there is the notion of feminism. There are countries where women are stoned to death, denied an education, beaten, sexually assaulted, or condemned to genital mutilation. These are just some of the issues that the entire world needs to be aware of. We don’t just live in a country: we live in a world. Artificial lines on a map and walls only superficially separate us from the rest of the world. Feminism acknowledges that the fight for women is everywhere, and that ethnicity, class, disability, sexual orientation, etc. are all elements of this battle. It’s not just a battle for women; it’s a battle for those who are not heard.

Whoever you are, whatever your issue, is your voice being heard? If not, feminism could be a stepping-stone in your struggle for equality and respect.

nina

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 March 2nd, 2016  
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