I’ve already posted my feelings on atheism+ on Twitter and the block bot (Update: They’re all still whiny douchecanoes). But stemming from this, something else has caught my attention, and in typical Mel style, I need to rant about it.
I’ve long considered myself to be a supporter of equal rights, whether it be for women, homosexuals, bisexuals, transgender people, racial minorities, or anyone else who has been oppressed or had their rights taken away. However, I have never, and will never consider myself a feminist. Other people may say I AM a feminist by default, in that I support gender equality. That’s fine. But it’s never a label I’ll apply to myself, for a few reasons.
One main reason, which I may get backlash for, is because whether it is fair or not, “feminism” has a rather negative connotation in my experience. I’m no expert on the feminist movement, but it seems that recently there has been an upsurge in what is colloquially known as “radical feminism”- which, in my humble opinion, is a bunch of whiny bitches making a big fucking deal about things no one should really care about. Many of them go as far as to claim that anything a man says is misogynistic, or “mansplaining”, and that as men they shouldn’t get to comment on women’s issues. This oversensitivity and dramatic behaviour does nothing for the cause of feminism, and nothing for its reputation, either.
The other reason I reject the label of “feminist” actually stems from the word itself. I don’t necessarily support “women’s” rights. I support equality. I don’t care if you’re a man, woman, black, white, gay, straight, trans, or anything else- you are a human being. That in and of itself means you should have equal rights to every other human being. The trouble with focussing on women’s rights alone is that it overshadows the overall goal, which should be of equality. When we focus on women’s rights alone, we ignore the fact that suddenly the opinions of men are being ignored or disregarded simply because they are the “privileged”. Well, here’s a thought- no man decided to be born white, straight, and with a penis. But suddenly as a society we are blaming them for their “privilege”. Maybe instead of trying to bring down men, we should be focusing on trying to make all people equal.
I have never been one to be easily offended by what people say, either as an intended insult to me or just as a phrase. I’ve seen people get upset on Twitter by the phrases “man up”, “don’t be a pussy”, or “don’t be a bitch”. Indicating, of course, that men are strong, and bitches and pussies (ie, women) are weak. I understand this in an objective way. I understand how people can see that meaning and be offended by it. But I am not offended, even a little bit.
The reason for this goes to the greater issue of generalization. Many feminists I’ve seen tend to try and pump women up by saying “we can do anything men can do!”. And that’s a lovely slogan for your campaign, but I must say, I do not support it. Using phrasing like this just increases the generalization of and divide between men and women. Why do we need to always consider these issues as a case of men vs women? Yes, I am a woman, but I am an individual. Some men can bench more weight than me. But so can some women. And I can bench more than some men. So what? I am still just an individual human that happens to fall into the category of “woman”. But generalizing it as if we want to make men and women the same makes no sense to me. Men and women are NOT the same. Why are we constantly trying to force them to be? In general terms, what one sex may be “better” at than the other should make absolutely no fucking difference. If we’re striving for equality, the generalizations shouldn’t matter- you should be judged based on your individual merits and not discriminated against for your sex, gender identity, sexuality, race, or anything else. So to me, getting bent out of shape because someone has suggested you “man up” is just completely nonsensical. Why get offended when someone calls a man a pussy? Do you really lack so much confidence that you think that this label applies to you, that somehow you are weak just because you are a woman? The issue here seems to be more one of self esteem than anything else. I am a confident person. I know what my strengths are, and what my weaknesses are. I don’t identify with some stereotypical version of “the woman” that these “slurs” seem to apply to. I am not weak, quiet, proper, and do not submit to men. I am not the stereotypical woman. If you are confident in who you are and allow your individuality to be the focus, instead of your genitals, these words will remain exactly that- words.