Perhaps this post will earn me a lot of abuse, even some loss in stature of respect but I suppose that can be the case when people have contrasting views, especially regarding the issues, trials and tribulations around feminism. Please, do not take any of what I say as offensive or degrading, I’m merely putting pen to paper and expressing my views, and I’d be the first to stand up and be counted when defending the rights of all people, females most definitely included.
Now that is out of the way it would be best to address what feminism means to me. I wouldn’t call myself a feminist. A recent post on this website noted that if you believed in equality for all then you’re a feminist by definition, but I’d disagree. See the actual definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”, and yes there is notion of equality yet the key principle, one that defines feminism as feminism, is advocating and enriching women’s rights. To me that isn’t total equality. Yes, it is true that females around the world are far worse persecuted, in general, than their male counterparts and so supporting female rights is hugely important but feminism is a focused movement of female rights, as it is allowed to be. Surely the feminists around the world, who say they are for total gender equality, should instead define themselves as egalitarians, a movement that by its definition is to promote total gender equality and opportunities.
Issues that feminists focus on are by and large solely to do with females and often disregard issues that affect men, such as the legal double standards regarding child custody and the stigma of male rape, as well as the fact that in America men make up 54% of the workforce but also make up 93% of all workplace deaths. A movement that promoted total equality would also demonstrate to sort out these issues, would attempt to socially change the current situation surrounding these issues that men face, you would think so. Yet coverage of such things is hardly heard of, if it at all exists. Not from my own memory have I heard or seen feminists protest about the fact that 97.68% of all military deaths from Operation Iraqi Freedom were male or that men are still susceptible to the archaic notion of military draft. What I see in the news is third wave feminists, who interrupt and damage conferences that attempt to deal with gender equality topics (see the ‘siege’ at the University of Toronto), or even mainstream feminist websites like Jezebel and Manboobz that attack such speakers, and their attendees, and sometimes blatantly, sometimes tacitly,endorsing the protestors.
Don’t get me wrong at all; the history and essence of feminism is totally astounding. The resilience and courage of the women that protested for the vote in the late 19th century, and those in the mid-1960s that truly pushed the social boundaries to enshrine the same rights as men in huge areas of daily life are heroes of the people. Feminism should be about pushing women’s rights, it should be about ensuring their social safety in the world. But c’mon if you believe in total gender equality, aren’t you an egalitarian? If you want to protest and stand up for issues that men face as well as women, aren’t you an egalitarian?
I’m perfectly happy with feminism as a movement to better women. Current campaigns to close the gender pay gap and remove the glass ceiling are fantastic. However, if you want to better and defend all genders, is feminism the answer?
I don’t think so…