I’m a Feminist and I Think Men are Great
What does feminism mean?
A. Women are powerful
B. Men are pigs
B. All sexes are equal
If you answered A or B, then read on- you may need some education. If you answered C then you’re probably clued up- you can click off this article and get on with your day.
The Oxford English Dictionary definition of feminism is the: ‘advocacy of equality of the sexes and the establishment of the political, social, and economic rights of the female sex’.
Feminism strives for all sexes and genders to be treated equally and be given the same political and social rights. The reason that feminism caters to the needs of women more than men, is because, for so many years, women did not and still do not have the same rights as men.
Feminism does not state that women are better or require more attention, yet a larger focus needs to be put on women’s rights if we are to achieve total gender equality. Saying that women should be respected, does not mean that men shouldn’t. Everyone should be respected, yet for a long time women have not been, so we need to work on that.
There is a huge misconception that feminism seeks to empower women at the expense of men. When feminists say ‘crush the patriarchy’, they are not saying they hate men, they are saying that they hate the negative way that a selection of men treat them. We do not want to dominate the world, we simply want to live in a world, where men and women are looked upon equally and can revel in their power together. David Alejandro Fearnhead, a freelance journalist once said that:
‘life is not a competition between men and woman. It is a collaboration’.
I will shout it louder for those that did not grasp the message: feminism is not a practice of hating men or thinking they are inferior.
The issue is, that where many people have misconstrued what feminism actually means, many women spread messages under the guise of being a feminist, that actually go against the ideology of feminism.
All too often I hear women saying phrases like: ‘men ain’t shit’, or ‘girls rule the world’. If you are expressing these thoughts, then I am afraid you aren’t a feminist. Whilst these phrases may have been uttered after an experience where a woman has been hurt or insulted by a man and seek to empower and encourage women, they do not follow the feminist ideology.
Feminism means for women to seek a level of power and opportunity on par with that of men, not as people commonly think, in excess of them.
I have been disadvantaged, objectified and patronised by many misogynous men in my time, yet I have also met many wonderful men who have significantly improved my life. My father and my boyfriend are two of the most important men in my life, and they are respectful, kind, intelligent people who are strong whilst being equally vulnerable. They have the same brilliant qualities of many women I know.
I cannot allow my negative experiences with men disfigure my view of an entire gender, as this would be unfair to those men that are good people. It can be very hard to trust and respect men when the majority of your experience with them has been bad. However, if you claim to be a feminist then you must remember that what you are striving for is equality, which works both ways. Just as you require respect regardless of your gender, so do men.
When many people hear the word feminist, they picture an angry activist who seeks to destroy the male race whilst wearing a boxy pant-suit. The reality is that feminists come in many forms. A feminist can be a supermodel who loves pretty dresses and painting her nails. They can be passive and quiet, or loud and vocal. A feminist- shock horror- can even be a man.
Because of the perception that all feminists hate men and won’t stop shouting about it, feminism has gained a negative image. The truth is, that many women do have a right to be vocal about their beliefs as they aren't often heard. Yet because of the misconceptions of what feminism really means, they are dismissed as raging liberals and consequently, the message they are spreading is not heard or respected.
To strive towards a world where everyone is equal, regardless of gender, we must remember our initial goal: equality. Where we stray from this initial goal, we risk losing the dignity of our mission.
When feminists take their endeavour too far and begin attacking or ridiculing men, simply because of the fact they are men, they can no longer call themselves feminists.
The idea of feminism is not Beyonce’s song that says ‘who run the world? Girls’.
Emma Watson said:
‘it is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are’.
These types of messages are so powerful because they do not seek to raise women above men. They stay true to the original goal of feminism, which was to render women equal to the power of men.
I am a passionate feminist who detests patriarchy and will rant very openly about it. However, I still adore men and the benefits that they bring to my life. I am not afraid to ask a man to open a jar when I cannot do it and this does not make me any less of a feminist. I recognise I have strengths and weaknesses just as much as men do and we need each other in order to live in a world that thrives.