Alternative Paths to Feminism

Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Many people today believe in this concept. With the United States wage gap SLOWLY closing in now at around 80% of a man’s wage (as of 2011), there is the physical proof that change is slowly coming.

There are plenty of people who are proud to call themselves feminist–from re-posting social media content about the political issues that feminists stand for to physically marching in the Women’s Marches back in January. In fact, a 2007 study done by Temple University in Philadelphia said feminists were “evaluated as being logical, knowledgeable, realistic” by the general public.

But feminist can be disregarded as a word…it’s still has a dirty connotation. Instead of saying someone is for feminism, the alternative phrase “gender equality” is its replacement.

Why are people still afraid to call themselves a feminist? Is it a bigger target on your back? Perhaps it is since, in that same Temple University study, the behavior factor of feminists was viewed as “being aggressive, extroverted, forceful.” But for our male “gender equality” supporters, having those traits are considered to be desirable to the patriarchy, which is “encourages men to seek security, status, and other rewards through control” and “to fear other men’s ability to control and harm them,” according to sociologist Allan Johnson.

No matter in what way, if you identify as female, that controlling and fearing patriarchy is alive, well, and out to get you–whether or not you are “brave” enough to label yourself a feminist. It seems like it’s become a choice whether you’d like to fully know about the damage done to you, or just push it under the rug and ignore them.

Feminism isn’t the villain. What it stands for is just better quality of life for everyone, but especially women, who have often been on the short end of the stick.

Neil Cobb, writes in his essay “Compulsory Care-Giving: Some Thoughts on Relational Feminism, The Ethics of Care and Omissions Liability” (also in the Law of Sex Discrimination book) that the idea of a feminine ethics promises a vision of human relationships and of society grounded upon the primacy of human connectedness, wherein care and compassion are seen as fundamental and where emotions, peaceful co-operation, empathy, friendship, and responsibility are aspired to rather than universal, abstract, rational principles.”

So consider becoming a feminist…you most likely already are. So embrace the label: it’s only saying you want a better society.

 

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