You May Feel Equal, But the Majority of Women Don’t

 

In the aftermath of the women’s marches, it has become evident, through the circulation of passive aggressive anti-feminism articles on social media, that some women aren’t on board with the movement.  

There has also been an influx of responses to these anti-women’s march articles, which admittedly, this piece parallels. However, my point isn't to submit a rebuttal to every single fallacy presented in these articles, because that has already been done time and time again. Instead, I’d like to narrow down to two key concepts that I think have been completely missed by anti-feminists or people against the women’s marches.

 

1. Privilege

 

Privilege --  an advantage given to a particular group or person -- seems like a generally comprehensible vocabulary word for most English speakers. However, applying this concept to issues such as women’s rights seems to be a nonexistent practice among the dissenters of the marches.

Considering your privilege means evaluating your intersecting identities and how you may have been influenced by the advantages you’ve been given because of these identities.

For starters, if you have white skin, you’ve automatically had an upper hand in our society. (I hope this goes without saying, but institutional racism has been engraved in the roots of our society for a very long time.)

If you grew up middle or upper class, or in an affluent area, consider the lens in which you have seen the world, opposed to the views that others who grew up in other places may have. Your privilege of living in a safe, higher class town or suburb inevitably had some range of impact on your views of those more or less (un)fortunate than you.

If you are born a male, without asking for it, you are far more inherently privileged than if you were born female. Denying this privilege is yet another exemplification of that privilege. Men are socialized to believe that they are superior in our society -- men earn higher wages than women, have all rights to their bodies and hold a significantly higher number positions in government. This is not a coincidence. Men in our society are given far more advantages just for being men -- and I am not blaming men for it. Their higher ranking in our culture has existed for years.

To wrap it up, if you are white, grew up middle or upper class, are a male or any mixture of those or other privileges, you have more advantages than a large chunk of the world. Therefore, you personally may be satisfied in your current standing. Perhaps you have a relationship where you appreciate your male partner’s chivalry or you have a good job and don’t mind when your looks are valued above other qualities of yours. Sure, this is great that you feel content and satisfied in your situation.

Nonetheless: Just because you feel satisfied, does not negate the fact that an enormous percentage of women in this world are not equal.

If the core of your argument is that “women are already equal” because you and maybe some women you know feel equal, I would recommend some revaluation on your stance. Millions of women gathered to march across the world last week to express their discontent with their inferior status in society that you say does not exist. Why would so many millions of women gather to express their need for a more equitable society if everyone felt as equal as you claim to be?

They wouldn’t. I can only hope the contradiction in such an argument is clear, but I will proceed with a few analogies to further my position.

Just because you ate lunch, doesn’t mean world hunger does not exist. Just because it was cold on a January day in your town does not mean that global climate change doesn’t exist.

If you aren’t personally experiencing something, it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening to others. Don’t let your privilege blind you. Millions of women on the planet are fed up with being treated as inferior -- and if you personally don’t feel that way, that doesn’t invalidate the spectacularly large sum of women who do experience inequality.

Recognize the privilege you have been given throughout your life when evaluating current issues such as women’s rights.

 

2. Women’s Marches/feminism stand for the rights of global women

 

I’m not sure when the competition of inequality became a key issue for women against feminism, but unfortunately enough, this is something that seems to need to be covered again.

It is exhausting constantly reiterating the concepts of feminism to others who are not listening. Feminists fight for the social, economic and political equality of folks EVERYWHERE. We are highly aware and appalled by the way women are treated not just in the United States, but on a global scale. For some reason, the same conservatives only seem to mention the lack of rights women have in developing countries as an alleged attack on the feminist agenda.

In addition, the tactic of “inequality ranking” is yet another questionable method used by anti-feminists. Yes, we are fully aware that women in the United States can drive and women in Saudi Arabia cannot, but does that mean we are automatically equal in the U.S. because we can drive here? No. Equality should be fought for everywhere.

Let’s remember the women’s marches happened everywhere globally. You will never hear a legitimate feminist say, “Yeah, only women in the United States deserve equality.” Of course not. We are fighting for the equality of ALL women.

If you believe the women’s march was for American women only, you completely missed the point and evidently didn’t bother researching.

I’d like to call for a higher bar to be set for women’s rights, for the anti-feminists. Let’s not sell ourselves short -- just because we can drive in the United States, certainly doesn’t mean that we should happily accept every other injustice we are faced with.

Globally, feminists are asking that we set the bar higher for ourselves. We deserve to ALL feel socially, politically and economically equal. Everyone is benefited in this situation.

Feminism has been significantly stigmatized for a considerable amount of time. It is time that we all get more comfortable with the word and the concept, so other women can focus less energy on demobilizing other women’s fight for an equitable society, and we can join forces.