The F-Word

I am a firm believer of equal rights across the board.

I am a a feminist.

Now, the reason I even mention this is because I’ve been thinking much about this ‘label’ recently due to some reading I have done. Yes, it has negative connotations and negative subsets and extremists, but so does everything. It’s like saying I’m white, so I must be racist. Or that I’m part German so I must be part Nazi. No to both. A label defines to a degree, but not completely. A label is more or less what you make of it. I follow the definition of feminism, at east the more ‘modern’ version which has been expanded a bit from women’s rights. If equalist was a thing, I’d call myself that. But it’s not, so I’m a feminist.

First thing you have to understand is that there has been mention of how there is a divide between ‘first world feminism’ and else. (The term so coined by Maisie Williams, or better known by her character Arya Stark in Game of Thrones.) The reasoning behind this is sound: women elsewhere than Europe and the U.S., like the Middle East which has recently become it’s own subset, face different problems. There are women still being stoned to death and having way less rights than women in so-called ‘first world countries’. That is not to have it thought that ‘oh, I shouldn’t complain because it’s worse elsewhere’, but just to put things into perspective. If you say feminism isn’t needed, you are completely disregarding other parts of the world where it most DEFINITELY is needed.

But I’m going to focus on the first world bit simply because it is where I live, and covering elsewhere would be much longer. You only have to look to see what is going on elsewhere, again explained by stoning and, also, female circumcision for the sole purpose of keeping them from sex until marriage.

I am not planning to belittle the issues that men (going off the binary scale of gender for the moment) face, since there are issues. I recently tried to explain to my brother that saying you would judge a guy for driving a pink car is sexist. It didn’t work, so I gave up instead of causing issue with my own family. But that does not erase the fact that such stereotypes for what is ‘manly’ is trying to fit men into a certain mold. And just as putting women into a certain mold is sexist, so is the other way around. Yes, there are differences between the two, but both of these ends of the spectrum should have a choice without being scolded. Boys should be allowed to cry and play with dolls. Girls should be allowed to get dirty and be ‘rough’. Boys will be boys, and girls will be girls.

We can keep the ideas of what is masculine and what is feminine, but if a boy wants to follows more feminine ideas and still identify as a boy, let him. The same goes for girls. Personally, I am a female who is a woman who is feminine in most aspects. I prefer smooth legs, so I shave. I prefer medium-length hair because it doesn’t get in my way, so I cut my hair. I’m too lazy for makeup, so I only sometimes where it. I like glitter and fruity smelling things. I like fruity drinks because the taste of alcohol does not agree with my tongue. I want to have kids someday. I would be bored to tears if I ever somehow ended up as a stay at home mom. I want to help people, work with children. I like video games because sometimes I am just in a mood where I want to shoot something or crash into things.

My mold may lean a bit more towards feminine than anything else, but my mold is…me. Deidre is my mold. I am so grateful to have parents who didn’t try to push pink and princesses on me, but instead let me play with what I wanted. They did the same with my brother.

Like I am my own mold, it reminds me of something a friend of mine, K., says sometimes. She likes to wonder why she has to be a race or anything, why she can’t be simply a person or K. She’s proud of who and what she is, she just doesn’t want it to describe her, for any stereotype to be what people think of when they see her.

I know I may have seemed to go off on a tangent, but I’m really not sure how else to describe how both sexes are being pushed to fit certain ideals. Then there are all those that are none or in between and it gets even more complex. And then the molds are definitely broken. I like the idea of the only mold one should fit is you.

But this is why I call myself a feminist, because I want everyone to have a choice of what to do and be and dress as and so much more. A man shouldn’t be thought of as less because they want to be a stay at home dad, just as a woman shouldn’t be expected to stay at home with the children. If we want equality, as much as can be had with how humans are, then we need to address issues on both sides of the argument. Apparently some men have decided to give up on women and instead stick to one night stands or pleasuring themselves. Part of the argument I read has me think ‘okay, yes, not enough thought is given to men’s issues’ the other part had me think ‘…well, that’s sexism at it’s finest’. (The latter due to the mention that women aren’t being women anymore because of feminism and that they need to go back home and other such things that had me cringe.)

I’m not overly sensitive, not now that I’m older at least, but a lot of things still have me think that this world has a long way to go. If you want to say men and women are equal, alright, fine, but I can point out a lot of instances, for both sides, that say otherwise. If you want to say that there are gender differences and they should be embraced; I’m not arguing, I’m just saying we all should have a choice of if we want to do one thing or another. And I mean a REAL choice, not one where we have a ‘choice’ but we’ll get odd looks and snide remarks if we choose what is not the norm. (Like not standing during the pledge, which is a legal right.) If you want to say feminism is not needed, look at other countries. If you want to say feminism is not needed in ‘first world’ countries, I circle back to I would be willing to point a few things out.

I’m a feminist. I am not angry. (Most of the time.) I do not burn my bras. (Even if I have a love-hate relationship with them.) I am not hairy. (Other than my head-hair.) And I do not want to be a man. (Really am fine with being a woman, that’s my gender-identity, thank you.) Even with all the negative connotations, I believe in fixing what the word and movement means instead of hiding and claiming to not be a feminist because of some extremists.

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