This article was authored by Patrick O’Leary, Class of 2020
Almost everyone on campus knows about the recent start-up of a controversial website on campus. The two individuals who started this website are two of my best friends, and I applaud them for trying to start conversations about the minority opinions on campus. I am a steadfast liberal who believes that the other side needs to be heard and treated with respect no matter how much you may disagree with what they have to think or say. We need to foster conversation and debate that acts more as a discussion rather and a direct attack on the character of those involved as it seems always be today. However, I recently read the article on my friends’ website entitled “Men and Feminism: I don’t hate women, I just don’t agree with the message of feminism” and felt the need to write my reaction on what is presented in the article.
Firstly, feminism is equality. Feminism is empowerment. Feminism is creating a voice for a group that was traditionally silenced. Feminism is creating change. Feminism is what every woman should strive to be a part of. Feminism is helping all women and all the women that will follow to live in a society filled with equal opportunity and empty of discrimination of all forms. Making the claim that women are better than feminism is just not possible. In my brain, I cannot depict what it looks like for a woman to be better than feminism. There are women who claim to not believe in feminism because they do not experience any type of discrimination, but this is clearly not the situation for the majority of the female population. Potentially, this what is meant by the author the article when saying that their sisters do not need feminism because they simply do not experience discrimination. For me, if you are in a position of privilege where you do not experience inequity, you need to use your position to better the women around you who are voiceless. You should never be above feminism because they are always women around who need a voice, who need to be represented, who need to experience equality.
Feminism does not teach you to be entitled. It teaches you to be confident, to be powerful, to be loud, to not take shit from anyone. I will agree with the author (partially, twisting the words a little bit) in saying that feminism teaches you to be empowered because empowered women could possibly be the most damn powerful force on the face of the Earth when determined and united. Empowered women to some men is threatening because I think that they’re finally starting to realize the strength and ferocity of a mobilized and strong minded group of tenacious women.
Unfortunately, the word “feminist” has a certain negative connotation about it. I believe that this is why there is such a discrepancy between the statistics mentioned in friend’s article taken from a Huffington Post article. Our society has taught us that when we hear the term “feminist”, to picture God-hating, liberal women with multicolored-colored hair prancing around denouncing everything that is manhood. It is society’s fault for the stigma around being a feminism. The statistics presented by Huffington Post are not representative of the entire population because they influenced by the fact that society tells women not to be feminists out of fear, fear that women will challenge the systematic discrimination that has been in place for a long time. Feminism should be celebrated, defended, protected, followed, practiced, and most importantly, accepted.
Claiming that men will not respect women because they’re a feminist is so far from the truth. Men who do not respect feminists are ignorant and probably a little bit intimidated. Being a feminist to me means that you are determined, you are aware, you’re strong, you are confident, you are brave. It means that you are to be respected. Being a feminist means you’re a “strong, intelligent, and wholehearted person” who deserves the utmost admiration because you’re actively changing and bettering society by calling out its faults.
Feminism is not an idea that should be feared or forced back against. Feminism simply seeks equality, equality for all. I’m a man and I’m a feminist. You’d be surprised by how many male feminists there are. If we are all equals—act like it.
Image credits: Annmarie Morrison