So I've been seeing this article circulating around facebook this week and it's regrettably gotten me pretty heated. Probably more heated than I needed to be, but I digress. There are a few reasons why this article has me and many other feminists so frustrated that we want to get into a rocket ship and blast off of this planet. The first being that this anti-feminism horse dung was written by (you guessed it...) A WOMAN. Now you might be thinking, "well if a woman can be against feminism then maybe it really isn't all it's chalked up to be." But I'm here to tell you why that is wildly incorrect. Maybe you've heard of it, maybe you haven't, but theres this little pesky thing called "internal misogyny." For those of you who are not quite familiar with what internal misogyny is, let me elaborate. Internal misogyny refers to the byproducts of this societal view that cause women to shame, doubt, and undervalue themselves and other women. Even the most conscious feminists struggle with this and have to actively try to break the cycle. But how could they not, sexism is in the air that we breathe and it's insidious. Don't beat yourself up about getting stuck in the misogynistic trap, just be more conscious of how to get out of it...because well, it's toxic. And remember, feminism isn't a dirty word so don't be ashamed to call yourself one or associate with the movement. Lets all work together to shed the idea that feminism is a bad thing. That negative idea keeps people away from a movement that helps us all and when you think about it, isn't that really really dumb?
One of the "traps" I see most often and have been guilty of getting trapped in myself is the "cool girl" phenomenon. We all know at least one girl who preaches about how she's not like most girls, she's one of the guys, girls are just too much drama for her. You probably know a few actually. Maybe you don't think this is really an issue, but there are a handful of reasons why it is. It shames girls for being girls. You may fit in with the guys, but you'll probably lose yourself in the process. I mean, think about it. If you try to fit in and be one of the guys and ignore what you want in order to appease a man, you aren't being true to yourself. Theres a scene in the movie Gone Girl that really stuck with me. It kind of hit home to me because in the past I've always been or aspired to be that cool girl that guys liked, even if it meant that other girls hated me. In the scene where the protagonist, Amy Dunne, begins to describe that cool girl role. "Cool girl is hot and understanding. Cool girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don't mind, I'm the cool girl." When you really sit down to think about how toxic this cool girl mentality is you begin to realize (or at least I did) that if you don't have a problem shitting on other girls for the sake of being cool or likable to a man, than you're just part of the problem. It also sets the tone for how that man and other men will continue to treat not only those girls that are deemed uncool, but also yourself....no matter how cool you think you are. Do yourself and women as a whole a favor and just stop with that bull shit. It doesn't help you, it helps men. I never had a lot of girlfriends growing up and that always used to bother me because I couldn't understand why girls didn't like me. In hindsight it's because I was putting myself above other girls just to be that cool girl that guys like. Now that I am surrounded by girlfriends I am so much happier than I ever was being one of the guys. That doesn't mean that I don't still have a lot of guy friends, I do, it just means that I'm more concerned with what I want than what I think the men in my life want from me. I'm wondering what I was even thinking. Why was I so concerned about what men thought about me, but not what women thought about me? The answer is really simple, internal misogyny. But I promise you you're still cool if you're like one of the girls because being a girl isn't wrong. You don't need to feel guilty for simply existing. Girls are great, girl power is awesome! Girl hate needs to stop. We shouldn't hate our sisters, we're all in this together.
Girls aren't the only ones who need feminism. That's right fellas, pull up a chair because this next paragraph is dedicated to you. Feminism isn't just a ladies club. While a lot of the spotlight goes to women in the movement, women aren't the only ones who face oppression. Women are oppressed in many different ways than men, but that doesn't mean that men aren't oppressed or that the oppression men face doesn't deserve to be included in feminism. It's just different. It's up to you men to start that conversation though. It's up to you to become involved in the movement to make sure you get more of the spotlight. Traditional gender roles harm us all, not just women. Feminism is about changing the gender roles, sexual norms, and sexist practices that limit and punish you when you deviate from them. All men have been hurt by the traditional gender system and feminists don't think that is right. Feminists don't think it's right that these gender norms tell you what a "man" should be and punish you when you aren't those things. You shouldn't be expected to live up to an unrealistic ideal just like women shouldn't be. How many times have you met a man that just wouldn't open up about his feelings because he didn't want to be a pussy? I bet you've met and know a lot of them. Men and women may differ in a lot of ways, but there is one thing we all experience and that is feelings. Expecting to mask or hide your feelings because you're a man just isn't right and it perpetuates this toxic cycle. It hurts you and it hurts women if you look at the big picture. I've taken this list of signs that you need feminism from everydayfeminism.com
- Insecure because your body wasn’t big enough, strong enough, or slim enough?
- Pressured to be tough, aggressive and competitive beyond your comfort zone?
- Ashamed of your interest in cooking, fashion, dance, or some other activity because you were told it made you “gay” or “a girl”?
- Offended by media representations of helpless adult men who cannot feed, clothe, or bathe themselves without the help of a woman?
- Burdened by expectations to objectify women, have sex with many women and be sexually aggressive?
- Helpless when dealing with feelings of sadness, hurt, and shame because you were taught to believe that emotions show weakness and that “real men help themselves”?
- Confused at how to be sensitive and kind but still be sexually desirable?
- Alone when you suffered an injury but had to “handle it”?
- Afraid of being called a “sissy,” “wimp,” “f*g,” “p*ssy,” or “b**ch,”?
- Ambivalent about what it means to be a “real man”?
If one or more of these are issues that you as a man face, then you need feminism! These aren't normal things that you just need to accept because you're a man. Feminists say that you have the right and freedom to be whoever you want to be without the pressure to fit into societies warped idea of gender norms. The only norms as far as gender goes is that it's pretty normal for men to have penises and women to have vaginas (but not in all cases.) Feminists also believe that transgender people deserve a place in the movement as well. Like I said, feminism is for everyone, so join the movement, what are you waiting for?! It's a warm and friendly welcome.