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Your problem with the word Feminism

Before I begin, I would just like everyone to note that I am not an expert on the topic, and still battle with taught misconceptions regarding it, therefore, this texts only purpose is to share thoughts, not facts, as I speak solely for myself.

Two things should be done before anything:

First, a textbook definition of the term should be presented, followed by my own point of view of the movement, then right after, it should be cleared as to where I stand regarding it, so lets dive right in.

Feminism, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

Now, a few questions:

  1. Would you call yourself a sensible human being?

  2. Would you say you are someone who can recognize that there is a social, economic and political imbalance between the sexes?

If your answer for the 2nd question was no, please refer to this article, curtesy of the United Nations: http://endvawnow.org/en/articles/299-fast-facts-statistics-on-violence-against-women-and-girls-.html.

A few quotes from this article:

• Worldwide, up to 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16.

  • Approximately 130 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting.

  • Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18.

Now if that article did not change your mind about the status of women (include girls when reading) worldwide, I believe this is the end of your read, thank you for your time, I’m glad you feel you wasted it.

If on the contrary, you were appalled by these numbers and unaware of the gruesome reality women have to face all over the world, then by all means continue reading.

The word “feminism” originates from the French word “féminisme,” coined by the utopian socialist Charles Fourier, and was first used in English in the 1890s, in association with the movement for equal political and legal rights for women.

Your problem with the word Feminism is that it emphasizes on the word FEMME, which is translated in english to “women”, therefore troubling the established concepts of Sexism and Machismo in our human societies.

Sexism is the belief that people of one sex or gender are inherently superior to people of the other sex or gender, while Machismo is defined simply as exaggerated masculinity.

Let’s put that in images for you:

  1. Sexism

Schopenhauer [german philosopher of the 19th century] said only men had the total objectivity necessary for genius, and that you only had to look at a woman’s shape to see that she wasn’t intended for much mental or physical work. (Jacky Fleming, The Trouble With Women)

Darwin [english naturalist, biologist and geologist of the 19th century]said by keeping women at home their achievements were paltry compared to men's which proved women were biologically inferior. (Jacky Fleming, The Trouble With Women)

  1. Machismo

You’ve probably often heard of quotes resembling the following, being said to men (read boys as well):

“Don’t be such a P*ssy”, “Men don’t cry”, “Man Up!”, “This is a woman’s job, not yours, you’re a man!”, “Men don’t do that, that’s gay (understand as feminine)”.

The idea people have that men must act a certain way, be a certain way, impose themselves in all ways dominantly and reject some duties because deemed inferior to their kind has been socially built for decades, based on some people’s flawed and sexist logic, as shown above, and enforced by laws and studies all rooted in the belief of Male dominance in all aspects.

Your problem with the word Feminism is that because it seemingly doesn’t include the word MEN, then it MUST be because it establishes that, in it’s own sexist way, Women are inherently superior to Men.

Some misguided and (purposely) misinformed people will refer to definitions from the Urban Dictionary as the text book definition for Feminism - and because I don’t want full worded garbage on my article, I’ll just let you type that right in on google by yourself.

All beliefs have extremists, and Machismo has Misogyny. Misogyny is defined as the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. I don’t think I need to image it for you - but I will:

  1. Misogyny

“Women belong in the kitchen”, “Women are only good for birthing babies”, “Women aren’t as smart as Men, that’s just how it is”, “Why should they get equal pay? They don’t work as hard”, “Women should cater to Men”, “Women in the workplace? There goes the productivity...”, “I don’t care for women’s pleasure in the bedroom, as long as I get mine”... anything along those lines can be included and interpreted as such.

Your problem with the word Feminism is that in your comfort of having accepted this male dominant society, you fail to recognize these speeches as discriminatory, as hateful, whatever your sex or gender. But let these speeches be flipped around, and you CLEARLY see the discrimination, and call it out as what it is: Sexism.

Your problem with the word Feminism is that it questions and stands tall against the status quo, that it does not recognize the right to vote/ to work/ to a - ahem, petty- salary as sole achievements of equal treatment, but rather as steps towards it.

Your problem with the word Feminism is that is does not match the concepts you were brought up to assimilate - such as gender roles and gender qualifications in society - and therefore requires you to unlearn these concepts, which is harder than to just disregard them.

Your problem with the word Feminism is that in your comfort, your misinformed discriminatory comfort, you fail to realize once more, like slaves had taught colonizers, that we are all equal and must therefore benefit equally from this human experience we all share with each other.

Your problem with the word Feminism is that it is not the word Humanism, which in your mind would include all humans, but in truth, will not put emphasis on the dire need there is to focus on eradicating the male dominant status quo established and enforced.

Your problem is not a problem, it’s a choice, and it says more about you as a person than any comforting “But I love Women” you could ever mutter.

I do hope you find it in yourself to make a better choice as a human being from now on when it comes to where you stand in the fight for equality.


Written by Leila Lherisson