In the United States, men and women have always played different roles. In fact, ever since the beginning of civilization, women and men have fulfilled different responsibilities. Women, traditionally, are the nurturers and men are the workers of the family. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this family dynamic. It is everyone’s right to choose how their family will function as long as it is equally agreed upon by both partners. Issues occur, however, when one partner is more or less forced to fulfill a specific role. When I say “forced,” I don’t necessarily mean physically or verbally forced, but forced by society. When society considers something the standard and casts negativity on anything other than the norm, they are collectively forcing people to fill a stereotypical role.
People are forced into specific roles because society influences everybody and everything. Socially constructed ideologies are dangerous because you cannot escape them, and they cannot be ignored. They can infiltrate the minds of anyone and everyone and deposit stereotypical and prejudice information at a moment’s notice.
The United States has a poor history dealing with the rights of women. The wrongful treatment of women in this country falls right in line with all the other groups that the United States officially and unofficially deemed not applicable to the “All men are created equal,” part of the Declaration of Independence.
Unfortunately, the mistreatment of women did not end with the Women’s Rights Movement, nor with the 19th amendment. From inadequate opportunities and wages to sexual harassment and assault. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems that women face living here in the United States and around the world.
Some people actively stand for the equal rights of women. Though many of those people, however, make sure it’s known that they are not feminists.
Being a feminist has become so stigmatized in today’s society, that many women and men alike repulse being described as such.
The negative stigma surrounding feminists originated because men are the dominant figures throughout this patriarchal society. And when females unite and powerfully demand change, it scares women and enrages men. Women are scared because they’ve never seen a woman in power, and most importantly, they, themselves, have never had any power. Men become enraged because it is a challenge to their position of dominance. And as we know, power is an addiction that’s hard to eliminate.
I remember the first time I heard that feminists are a left group who hate men and are too radical with the way they spread their message. I looked up the definition of feminism right away, and here’s what I found.
Feminist: a person who believes in feminism and tries to achieve change that helps women to get equal opportunities and treatment.
Feminism: an organized effort to give women the same economic, social, and political rights as men.
So, looking at these two definitions, I was confused. As you can see from these definitions from The Cambridge Dictionary, they are merely describing advocation for the equal rights of women.
This was when I recognized just how stigmatized feminists were.
The act of degrading the feminist movement is precisely why feminists are a thing. Denying the validity and the cause of the movement is just another way of denying that the rights of men and women are disproportionate. The denial of the feminist cause is flawed with hypocrisy because those people who refuse the feminist movement, or those who merely dislike feminists, are the first people to tell you they’re not sexist.
This hypocrisy is similar to what I talk about in, What’s The Opposite Of A Racist? It’s Not What You Think. In summary, I talk about how there are racist people who say, “I’m not racist,” yet, they don’t actively stand up for racial justice. And there is very little difference between being racist and ignoring racism. So, the same concept goes for women’s rights. There is very little difference between being a sexist and enabling sexism.
I proudly consider myself a feminist, but, sadly, so little people support the Feminist Movement. And what’s even sadder, is that the movement is mostly women. Men need to defend the equal rights of women just as much.
Take a stand for the rights of women because the injustice for a few is a problem for all.