now that i have your attention, let me start this off by saying i am a feminist and really gosh dang proud of it. also before we begin, i’ve been trying not to cuss lately in posts but this is really pushing my buttons so we’ll see if i make it through. also, be warned that this reaches over 5,000 words so don’t read the whole thing if you don’t have time. i promise i won’t be offended.
let’s set the stage for exactly why i’ll be ranting on this particular topic today. for you to completely understand my frustration, you need to know two people, one of which made me angry, the other of which i’m writing this for. let’s call them… carson and emma. emma is a new friend and one of the only other liberal feminists in my school. so, as you might guess, we’ve stuck together as the year’s gone by. carson on the other hand… well, once upon a time i thought he was pretty cool. recently, he’s displayed certain characteristics i’m not a fan of- mainly those of the anti feminist variety. ahem. he’s one of those guys who feels the need to mansplain (collective feminist eye roll) and attempt to devalue my personal beliefs simply because he disagrees with myself and emma. if you know me, or if you’ve read really any of my rant-type posts, you know that’s not cool with me. i don’t scream my beliefs to the world and force them to agree with me, i rarely express myself without being asked actually. but if i am asked (or if i feel i’m being attacked, personally or just a person talking bad about what i believe- as in this situation), well, you better believe i’m gonna let you know what i’m thinking. i’m generally polite about it though, and i completely respect your right to your opinion as long as you respect mine. this kid though, he crosses all boundaries and does not respect mine or emma’s right to our opinions therefore he’s going down. three things he’s done so far you should know of to understand that he’s crossing the line:
- first of all, support donald trump loudly and faux importantly, stating that if you’re a hillary supporter or democrat, you’re wrong, and #hillaryforprison2016. forgivable, since that’s almost the entire population of my school, but still not the greatest.
- ask emma whether she’s a “traditional feminist” or “modern feminist”. when she responded “modern feminist” (as one does, living in the modern times) he then proceeded to inform her that a modern feminist is someone who believes women are better than men and she “needed to educate herself”. which, if you’re even sort of educated on the feminist agenda, know that’s misandry not feminism. her, having assumed that modern feminism is just being a feminist in the modern day and age and acting for empowered women everywhere, came to me asking what i thought. me, being someone who knows the difference between misandry and feminism (unlike our friend carson here), then proceeded to explain to her that he was wrong and that misandry is believing women are better than men and that modern feminism is exactly what she thought it was, even googling the exact definitions of misandry and feminism so there were no gaps in my reasoning. after encountering him near the lockers after that discussion, she had me explain to him what i told her, he looked frustrated that, alas! an educated woman had proved him wrong! and we semi-politely (and smugly) went on our merry way.
- and the best of these, which also happens to be the topic i’ll be ranting about today… asked for her phone number just so he could send her an anti-feminist picture with a list of about 8 reasons why “the us doesn’t need feminism”- none of which were supported by actual evidence, or even logical at that. obviously, she was frustrated, seeing as one of the reasons was “rape culture doesn’t exist” and many of them stated that women were already treated as equals- or as better than men *collective patriarchal gasp*.
so today, here’s what i’ll be doing: breaking down each and every one of these “reasons” for anti-feminism and disproving them. is it opinionated? yeah. is it petty? probably. is it my smug liberal feminist entp getting loose from the sweet, cardigan-wearing-just-wants-to-be-left-alone intp who holds it back most of the time because i feel the need to disprove an opinionated rude boy i just happen to genuinely dislike? oh most definitely. is that going to stop me? nope. *cracks knuckles* sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
*disclaimer: any evidence you will read from this point forward has been specifically researched by myself, including a few links to reliable sources so you can go ahead and read for yourself if you disagree. anything not supported by factual evidence is my own personal perspective on feminism and what i believe it is, as supported by articles, text posts, blog posts, or other such quotes i’ve read over the years which have shaped my beliefs and opinions. not every feminist is the same, and some may not agree with me. whatever your opinion, please respect my right to mine and i will respect your right to yours. also, whatever your opinions, if you’d like to have an intelligent and respectful conversation on any topic discussed here or that relates to this post, shoot me a comment, or email me. i’d love to discuss anything i’ve written about here (or in any other post)!
so let’s start at the beginning and work our way through one by one.
- “there is no wage gap”. up until this point, i actually hadn’t done any real research into this, whether it be fact or myth. as a female, growing up understanding that the main feminist argument is for equal pay, i just assumed it was true. so, i thought now would be a good time to do some real research, and i stumbled upon this wonderful article that outlines the fact and myth of whether the gender pay gap exists. bottom line? it does, and it sucks that the media still won’t acknowledge it as a factual, evidence supported truth. i have nothing to say other than do your research before stating anything, and to leave that evidence up there (for you to just peruse). and hi, yes, so, just because a piece of paper states that we have the right to equal pay in jobs, people still get around it. not everyone follows the rules.
- “the ‘1 in 4’ sexual assault statistic is false”. ummmmm pretty sure it’s not but once again, lets do some full blown statistical research real fast. ah, actually they are correct in stating this. but only because the statistic is 1 in 5, not “1 in 4”. i assumed it was in reference to the “1 in 5 women on college campuses experience some form of sexual assault” statistic, and thus did my research based on that. what i found makes this claim completely irrelevant, as proven by this study and summarized by this article, which states that “23%” of the women on college campuses reported experiencing sexual assault, and the number only rose when associated with any variety of genderqueer person (up to almost 25%, which sucks in itself). and unless my fifth grade math class got it wrong, is 20 not 1/5 of 100? not to mention the 13.4% of candidates (of any gender) interviewed who declined to state whether they had experienced any form of sexual assault in their time on campus. “oh yeah, well what about the males interviewed? are you forgetting about the men?” nope, i’m getting there. approximately 6% of men interviewed stated they had experienced sexual assault, which is less than 1/3 the number of women who stated the same thing. which leads me to my next point…
- “rape culture doesn’t exist”. hoooo boy are you sure you’re ready for this one? i can give you factual, supported evidence for this if you really want it, but i think for now i’m going to begin with listing a few of my favorite reasons that yes, rape culture is a thing, and yes, it sucks.
- dress codes that emphasize girls covering up body parts as simple as shoulders and knees. this is sexualization of the female body on kids as young as 11 and 12 in middle school, which, if i do say so, makes this the fault of whoever is finding the shoulders of 12-17 year olds sexual and “too tempting”.
- brock turner. need i go on? oh except i do, because some people can justify attacking a drunk girl behind a dumpster and running away when confronted to be “her fault”. for those of you who can somehow, read this open letter written by the victim of that case, look me in the eyes and tell me to my face that you think it was her fault. go on, i dare you.
- the fact that my aunt offered to buy me pepper spray for a christmas present as soon as i got my driver’s license. also, that one time kyla’s car broke down in the parking lot of a gas station and her parents couldn’t get there for almost 30 minutes. the entire 30 minutes she was texting me constantly saying that if she didn’t respond for a full five minutes to call the police and her parents, as i taught her to put her keys between her knuckles just in case and she constantly locked and relocked the doors of her car because she feared for her life.
- the general sexualization of women’s bodies in today’s society and the fact that the concept of the bechdel test is even a thing. because, um, if women and men are equal and “we don’t need feminism” then why do approximately 69% of imdb’s top 250 movies fail the bechdel test? if you don’t know what that is i’d suggest you read up, this website will clue you in.
- and to conclude, the fact that women are taught from a young age to cover up and protect themselves rather than teaching men from the same young age just not to rape. what a concept!
- “women serve less jail time than men for the same crimes” i tried my hardest to research this, i really did, but i cannot find any reliable sources to contradict this point and i honestly don’t feel like i need to. because personally, whether this is true or not, i don’t think it’s right! as a feminist, i am fighting for the “political, social, and economic equality to men”. as a feminist i also believe that this means women should not be given special treatment simply for the fact that they are women. as a feminist i am fighting to be treated the same as a man (not treated like a man, treated the same as a man– there’s a difference). so, i personally don’t think women should be given lesser prison sentences for the same crimes, and therefore i can’t really argue this point- whether it’s true or not- but that’s just my opinion.
- “false rape accusations are higher than ever”. what a general statement, did you even bother to research this? if you want to be on the same page as i am, read this article, which states that the rate of “false rape accusations” is 2-10%. that means that 90% of rapes actually happened- or does it? in reality, a “false rape accusation” literally just means a rape that can’t be proven, either because there isn’t enough evidence that it actually happened, the accuser drops their statement of accusation, or the accused has “a bulletproof alibi”. it also states that approximately 6% of all rapes were provably false- not very much considering the “1 in 5” statistic we proved earlier. unfortunately, it also has a few other statistics that make me personally sad; approximately 45% of all cases “did not proceed”, aka the accuser didn’t press charges, or the rape didn’t meet legal standards. this makes only about 35% (keep in mind i say “about” and “approximately”- some of these statistics have been rounded up or down so i don’t have to write out “34.679%” every single time) of rape cases actually led to charges or full legal procedure. you want to be concerned about a statistic? be concerned that less than half of all rapists were prosecuted for their crime. that, my friends, is rape culture.
- “women aren’t being properly punished for false accusations”. what the actual crap? do i really have to go into this? fine, you asked for it. as we clarified in my last point, “false rape accusations” generally mean rape accusations that could not be proven, for many a reason. i won’t be going over that again, but you can re-read what i stated before if you feel the need to. but you’re saying that the 6% of women who called wolf on it should be punished? you know, maybe i’m wrong, but the whole fact that this is a so-called “reason we don’t need feminism” is a reason we need feminism. i have nothing else to say on this topic. fight me if you must but this entire statement just seems flawed and unless you have a better way to phrase it i refuse to acknowledge it as a justifiable argument against feminism.
- “there are no rights that men have that women don’t”. *screeching* did you even research this???? there is so much men either have the right to do or just simply do without thinking about it that women can’t. and before i get into the next point which lists a bunch of rights women have that men don’t, let me just say for every benefit you can list out of being a woman, i can list out five more men have that women don’t. and the legality of them makes no difference- men still have more advantages to their existence than women do. the sexes aren’t the same (i admit that!) and they aren’t treated the same, no matter how much we fight for it. there are differences between women and men, and while the majority of these differences are bad (wage gap, rape culture, societal expectations, gender marketing, etc) and being fought against by feminists, a lot of them are just simply things that come along with being a woman or man- reproduction being one main example. here i have a list of 5 “rights” / benefits / advantages / whatever you’d prefer to call them men have over women:
- we pay more for common household items than men do- it’s called the pink tax and it’s statistically proved (by cnn nonetheless). women pay more for specific “gendered” products than men do, and the list of included products is longer than my arm. a few examples are shampoo, razors, jeans, body wash, and children’s toys. “yeah well why don’t you just buy a men’s razor or whatever? it’s not that big of a deal!” while i’m sure plenty of women are perfectly fine with that (and i am as well with most things- i own multiple clothing items marketed to men), i know what i like and i’m not switching over to male branded products just to make a point. and if it’s not that big of a deal, then why is it so hard to sell a pink colored razor for 30 cents less?
- we’re underrepresented in government- literally just look at a picture of the supreme court. “but there’s 3 women in the supreme court! how can you say you’re not represented?”. okay yeah but there’s also 9 justices in the supreme court so how is that equal representation in government? like i’m pretty sure half of 9 is 4.5 so it’d be pretty cool to have, oh, i don’t know, 4 female justices? but that’s just me (also shout out to queen ruth bader ginsburg go girl go). and here’s another statistic for you: women make up 51% of the us population, but only 20% of the congress is female. also, fun fact, that’s one of the most diverse congresses we’ve had in the history of america. let me say that again- 20% female is considered a diverse congress. okay correct me if i’m wrong, but 50% is half, right? and 20% is less than that? and 80% is more than that? okay that’s what i thought. *mic drop* (statistics found here)
- women shoulder more of the household burden- admit it, when you think of a stereotypically feminine role you think of a housewife. even i do it, and i’m a feminist. but it’s like i always say- the first thing you think in a situation is what you’ve been conditioned to believe. the second thing is what you truly believe and have taught yourself to understand. but i’m getting off track. according to this survey, which you can read if you really want, but it’s kind of long, working moms are more likely to be saddled with childcare duties than working fathers… even if the two parents work equal hours outside the house. they’re also more likely to be working around the house doing chores, even if they’re not stay at home moms. now that right there is a good example of gender roles, but that’s really an argument for a different time.
- most of the time, women can’t breast feed in public, even if it’s covered up- oh yeah i know, we love boobs right? great on posters, in television and film, fun to watch and sexualize as society does. but as soon as they’re being used for their actual purpose? noooo bad boob, go away, we don’t like that, it’s not okay.
- women cannot take combat positions- yeah, this isn’t really something i’m particularly mad about since it doesn’t apply to me, but i’m still going to talk about how this is ridiculous. women work hard, some are the strongest people i’ve ever met, and yet many are still denied positions. legally, this isn’t okay. in 2015 all combat roles were opened to able bodied women who passed requirements, but many women are still being discriminated against despite this, and being denied positions on other grounds besides their gender (even when many of them are overqualified for the position).
- “women have 5 more rights than men usually, or ever, get…” okay i’m fine with this statement at this point because i won’t deny it. we do have those rights, and i’m not saying we don’t. however, a lot of these rights are in place to prevent our own discrimination. but once again, let me run through all of them real fast and talk about why they’re there, if i agree with them or not (spoiler alert: i don’t actually! stay tuned for more!), and what needs to be changed.
- “the right to genital integrity”. okay so if you didn’t know, there is such a thing as female circumcision which i won’t be going into detail on at the current moment. just know that it’s a form of genital mutilation, and a common practice in many third world countries that see female sexuality as something to be shamed and destroyed. many countries in africa, south america, and asia practice this, and in order to avoid the practice (which is extremely harmful- again, i won’t go into it, but circumcision is a practice intended for men not women and is one of those things i was talking about before that is a difference between the two genders), women have been given the right to genital integrity in the united states. once again, this is another right i believe everyone should have and i’m disappointed upon my further research that men don’t have this right! that should be changed and i will go on record saying every human being has the right to their own genital integrity, although men don’t have much of a choice in the matter as it is a practice upon birth and generally depends on the parent’s choice. if you want to fight for it, go right ahead though! i’m not stopping you, and honestly, i probably support the fight.
- “the right to vote without signing up for the draft”. oh yes, this is mostly true and again, i won’t deny it. what this statement has wrong is that you’re required to sign up for the draft, although what you’re actually required to sign up for is the selective service. if a draft were deemed necessary you would be in the selective service data base and subject to the draft. and once again, it does discriminate against women in a way that doesn’t actually benefit us. however, at the current moment the draft isn’t in effect so this isn’t completely relevant. i am personally against the draft in general because i’m opposed to violence but i’d really prefer not to get into that argument at the moment because it’s my own personal feelings on things and i don’t have great arguments for it other than “war is bad”. so my personal disagreement with this is that it’s not a right, just something we as women don’t have to do. that’s all, and yeah it should be changed, it just hasn’t been yet.
- “the right to choose to not be a parent”. by this do you mean abortion? because that’s included in genital integrity, also something completely different. every single person has the right to choose what they do with their body and that includes abortion. a woman has the right to choose to abort her child- whether you’re religiously, ethically, or otherwise opposed to it, she still has the right and that isn’t something you can take away from her. and men have the right as well, have you even looked at the sheer amount of teen moms in the world at the moment with children whose fathers are not in the picture? a man can leave the picture of parenthood whenever he so chooses, although i’d hope he’d make the right decision and stay with his child and its mother! for complete statistics on this, read this article, but the main thing from it i’d like to emphasize states that 1 in 4 children are being raised without a father. i’d say that statistic pretty much demonstrates that men can choose to not be a parent.
- “the right to be assumed caregivers for children”. literally this is in place because the mothers are the ones who birthed that child. i do agree that the father has the right to be the caregiver, but seeing as the woman carried that child for 9 months, then went through the process of birth pretty much gives her that right. of course there are situations in which the mother may not be in a good mental or physical situation to care for the child, in which case the father may claim custody and he totally can! there’s no one stopping him, so i don’t feel like this “right” is a bad thing? like literally all it does is state that women have the right to their child before the man and i don’t feel like men are really complaining about this en masse so like go for it if you want to protest it but until then i don’t think this can really be claimed as a reason we “don’t need feminism”.
- “the right for financial compensation in a divorce”. what exactly is meant by this because unless i’m mistaken it’s really whoever has the better lawyers that gets more money than the other person. also, in my research i found that this isn’t even a thing, it’s a so-called “right” that doesn’t even exist. it’s irrelevant- bye!
and to conclude i’d like to name a few reasons the united states does need feminism that i didn’t talk about before:
- because the argument “so if feminists want equality for both genders does that mean it’s okay to hit a girl?” exists. literally no, not even close. it’s not okay to hit anyone– male or female. why in the world would you go straight to violence when encountered with a feminist argument? it’s incredibly ridiculous and demonstrates the screwed up violent tendencies of society if we go straight to physical equality rather than economic and political.
- because catcalling and other forms of sexualization of women in society exist and have become the norm so that no one really thinks twice when witnessing it. one more time for the people in the back! pepper spray should not be a christmas gift, women’s bodies belong to them and no one else, and finally, women and men are held to different standards and that’s not okay.
- because victim blaming is a thing in rape cases and that’s not okay. like, that’s not okay at all. ever. it’s not the woman’s fault no matter what and rather than teaching females to protect themselves and guard themselves against rape we should literally just be teaching men not to rape. what a concept!
- because it shouldn’t be a question of whether women should have control over their bodies or not. similarly, women shouldn’t be judged for anything they do with their bodies. women are human beings and every single human being has the right to control what they do or don’t do with their body. clothing, hairstyles, tattoos, sex, abortion- all things no one has the right to say you can or cannot do (unless you are a minor in which case ask your parents before you get a tattoo or piercing it’s the law).
- because it is the feminine traits that society sees as bad and that’s not good. because men are shamed for enjoying traditionally “female” things such as makeup, displaying strong emotion, even certain colors that are seen as feminine and bad and to be made fun of. that’s why it’s called feminism- not because it’s focusing on equality for women but because it is the feminine aspects of society like housework, makeup and clothing, emotions, and females in general (!!!) that are seen as lesser than men and feminism attempts to bring those things up to the same point in society as men. we don’t want men to lower themselves to our level, we want to be raised to theirs. one more time for the people in back? men and women should be treated as equals- no exceptions.
- because even if the united states doesn’t experience as much discrimination among the genders as other countries, or “we have it better”, we can’t become complacent and assume that this is as good as it gets. society is screwed up! it’s placed the male gender as the more important gender and lulled us into complacency thinking that this is how it should be and always will be, but if we as feminists rise against it and take a stand for what we believe in, then other countries will follow suit. if we start by fixing these so called “lesser discriminations” in our country and others in similar places culturally, then we can set the standard for society and hope that other nations follow suit in seeing this as the way things should be. but hey, that’s just what i think and i’m a 16 year old white girl from the united states. privileged? maybe. but does that mean i don’t see the things that happen in other countries around me and want to help? no. i want to do everything in my power to empower women across the world and bring them out of the discrimination they are held down by. everyone deserves a chance to be equal and if we start right here, our stance will spread and grow into something much larger than any of us ever thought it could.
we need feminism in the united states of america because women are still seen as objects and cat calling is normal. we need feminism in the united states because men are still shamed for crying and being weak or emotional. we need feminism in the united states because “diverse” is still a male majority in the government, film, stem subjects, etc. we need feminism in the united states because women are still discriminated against simply for their gender- and it’s worse for those who aren’t straight, white, cis, etc. black, latina, gay, and trans women face some of the worst discrimination of all time. this is 2016, people! even if we do agree as a base society that every single human being is equal and deserves the same benefits and treatment, that doesn’t mean that we go along with it all the time. and that needs to be changed. we need feminism in the united states because rape culture does exist and it’s something we’ve become so used to we don’t even recognize it as rape culture anymore- it’s just our culture. and finally, we need feminism in the united states because there are still people in this country who have convinced themselves we don’t. there are people in this country who can somehow look at our culture and our government and our media and say that women are well-represented, treated fairly, given all the exact same benefits, aren’t objectified on a regular basis (without even a second glance or question), and seen as equals to men. the way we should be (but aren’t). this, my dear friends, is why we need feminism. you can fight me, you can argue, you can throw some statistics and facts in my face the way i fought in this article, but you cannot quantify our culture and that fact will never change. our culture- not some list of “benefits” women have, statistics, or “facts” about the numerical side of feminism- demonstrates the greatest argument for feminism and i strongly believe that you cannot scroll through a news site or social media, walk through the halls of a high school or down the street in a busy city or college campus, or see the way we value feminine aspects of society, look me in my eyes and tell me to my face that we don’t need feminism in the united states of america. just because you don’t see it every single day in your life does not mean that it isn’t happening to other people.
and to conclude i’d like to say one thing: i respect your opinions as long as your opinions don’t disrespect anyone’s existence. that doesn’t mean i’m not going to argue with you, but i will respect your right to your own opinion. also, please respect mine, whether you want to debate me on them or not, my opinions are incredibly important to me and i will continue to fight for them through the remainder of my life time. i will continue to scream to the world about the importance of feminism until my voice becomes low and hoarse like a man’s and people actually start to listen to what i have to say- and nothing you can say or do will stop me. thank you.
k i’m done. i know it’s ridiculously long and i ranted more than i should’ve but i’m kind of amazingly proud of this and yes, i will be printing out the research part of this post and the articles i referenced in it and giving it to our dear friend carson to just peruse. because i can and i’m a petty, opinionated feminist who feels the need to educate someone who tried to fight one of my friends (#girlsprotectinggirls- look it up). oh and if you made it this far- props to you sir or madam! comment below if you read the entire thing and i’ll give you a prize. and by prize i mean i’ll personally applaud you and send you more articles to read that i enjoyed, but did not make it into being linked to this post. also i have another post going up later this week so we’ll be back to our regular programming soon!