As thinking person with a conscience, I am fiercely feminist. I know and have seen the effects of women being marginalized and treated like objects. I’m also completely aware of the crazy gap between men in leadership roles versus women. I am also aware that even in the creative space, men are far more likely to be published than a woman. They are also far more likely to sit at a writer’s table for a tv show, even one geared towards women (Miss Representation 2011). If anyone blatantly states “I am not a feminist” or god forbid utters the phrase “I don’t believe in feminism,” I can’t typically stay in a conversation very long with that person or if I do, I have a hard time taking them seriously. I only say that because history and the statistics are out there, feminism exists for a reason.
Like most things, feminism can be a polarizing topic. People from both sides have gone to the extreme and taken things out of context. I have watched a woman be extremely rude to a man out of “feminism” because he held the door for her and she “didn’t need him to.” Yes, well now you are tarnishing feminism and you are rude. I will also hold doors open for people, it’s called respect and kindness. On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve heard men use examples like the one above to generalize feminism and defend why they will never be feminist. Nope…nope…both of you need to read a book or two and get your information straight.
Now, on the flipside, I also am someone who loves a great Disney princess movie. Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite. And I would be completely lying, we all would if I said that some of those movies did not form my opinions on how romantic relationships should be. While this is typically viewed as a bad thing, hear me out:
I thoroughly appreciate and love being taken out on a date and having him offer to pay, but there has to be a balance. I also, offer to pay most of the time. Should a man insist on paying every time I will still offer, but I’m not offended by this gesture. I do not think he is trying to take my power away, I do not think he is assuming I am the lesser sex. He is being thoughtful and treating me well. In fact, I had a man tell me once, “I work so hard because I want to take you out and I want to buy things for you because you deserve it.” I cannot argue with that. He is not being anti-feminist, it was how he showed appreciation. I also HATE driving with a fiery passion. Anyone who knows me knows this. So again, if a man feels like he wants to drive everywhere. By all means please do! Again, he is just taking that burden off my shoulders. And finally, I like to feel a little spoiled from time to time. Yes, I’m fully capable of taking care of myself, but sometimes it’s nice when other people do it.
The man I mentioned above who was very adamant about his distaste for feminism? An ex-boyfriend, but did not consider the following: Feminism is about equal respect. This can take many shapes and cannot be lumped into one category. I can love being taken care of by a partner and also want to be paid equally. These two things are not mutually exclusive. We all need to be a little more careful with our overgeneralizations and stigmas we attach to things if we want to live in a kinder, more thoughtful world.