Friday, June 08, 2007

A Feminist, Not A Man-Hater

I did this little blogthing that I found on Sparky's blog and was at first amused by the unsurprising results. I'm a woman and I believe in equality. Of course I'm a feminist! Frankly, I was shocked I was only 98% feminist. I even voted in favor of women picking up checks on dates on occasion, but I picked "agree" instead of "strongly agree," so that may have been where I lost those two percentage points. No matter. I know that I'm 100% feminist.

Then I read the text under the picture of the woman with the boxing gloves, where she explained that even though I was a feminist I was not necessarily a man hater. She helpfully pointed out that I might even be a man, even though I was a feminist. Was that really necessary?

Do we really still have so far to go that a Blogthing has to remind people who might be identified as feminists that feminism does not mean that you hate men? We still have so far to go that we have to explain that feminism does NOT equal man-hater? Every woman alive has or had a father. Many of them also have brothers, sons, uncles, nephews, and male lovers. Of course being a feminist does not mean that you are a man hater - that would be hating a part of who you are. That is just plain silly. If there's a critical mass of people who are still operating under the delusion that feminists are bra-burning, man haters, we are a long way off from the cultural gender revolution that we have to have if we are ever going to attain true gender equality.

I was in a better mood, but that just made me grumpy all over again. People, you can be a feminist, appreciate the history of women and the reality of women's historically, socially, politically, and economically oppressed status, and believe that there should be change such that women and men attain a level of actual equality without hating men.

The trick is that we need more men to become feminists. Whether they identify as feminists or not, we need men to stand up with us, not for us but for themselves, and to demand change. If women and men continue to identify seeking equality with hating men, we're never going to get there.

Usually when I meet men, at some point they generally end up asking me if I'm a feminist. I don't know what it is. I've taken to responding, "Yes, aren't you?" Usually, they guffaw, chuckle, or look bemused. Unless they're completely intimidated, they usually become more interested. The bad, though tempting, ones because they see a challenge and something they think would be fun to tame. The cool ones because they're either already aware or intrigued or both. Either way, it works to a woman's advantage. Strong, sassy, and independent (i.e feminist) usually does.

Start spreading the word: Feminism means equality, not man-hater, and it's HOT.

You Are 98% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.


Karianne said...

I just finished the book, "Hypocrite in the pouffy white dress" and was laughing out loud! Thought of you, so, if you haven't read it yet, you should.

I'm grouchy today too! I'll have to steal your TT, but I'll do it tomorrow, after I post a rant!

I also finished my random things.

Anonymous said...

Amen. Well said.

Bubbles said...

Yeah, the whole "But not a man-hater" was really f'in annoying.

I also hated that all the questions were about whether you believe that women should be able to do traditional "man" things. What about whether I think men should be able to be sensitive without be called names associated with women's reproductive organs? Or men being able to stay home with the kids? Or whether I think sometimes the woman should buy the man flowers?

I think that this oversight goes hand and hand with the man-hater comments. There is this misconception that feminists either hate men or want to be them. NO- WE JUST WANT EQUALITY, which includes placing equal value on the "masculine" and "feminine" (as well as on other personal/cultural traits).

Sparky Duck said...

its a quiz put up by some 10th grader in easy Podunk Utah, so take it with a grain of salt. (i sort of made that up I think)

I agree with Bubbles though, it was an easy quiz for me to do because yes, I am all for the woman doing as much as the man, since I don't wanna have a wife sitting home and eating bon bons all day. But their did need to be a can a man do housework question.

Starshine said...

I agree that there is a huge misconception about what feminism is. In the Christian world that I am part of, some people think feminism is a dirty word, and it drives me up a flippin' wall! To me being a feminist means equality, as well. It doesn't mean I subscribe to a whole set of other sub-issues that are often associated with (but not necessarily tied to) the feminist movement. After all, part of being a strong, independent woman means that I can have my own strong, independent opinions, right? Whether we all embrace the same world-view is really not the point. The point is that women everywhere deserve equality: equal opportunities, equal pay for equal work, equal respect in the world. I agree that it is entirely possible to embrace that mindset while not hating men, while being a man or a woman, and still accepting that men and women are different.

bug said...

i, too, agree with what everyone has been saying. to recap, women deserve equality -- as do ppl of various colors, sexual orientations, disabilities, etc. i think most ppl would agree with that. to play devil's advocate a bit, feminism is not just abt equality because it gets muddied with other realities. i am certainly NOT a man-hater, BUT, i would disagree with the 'cup's point re every woman having had male role models. i actually don't know many that have -- and i know a lot of great women. i also think misogyny is still VERY prevelant, even in sutble ways (maybe especially in subtle ways), and even with men who would call themselves feminists. (i could provide examles here, but am trying not to be too prolix.) point being, women react to that treatment and that reaction gets slapped with "man-hater"... how to progress and focus on the equality issue when you're being ogled when you stand up to speak up -- unless you dress conservatively, leaning towards the "she's man" label? no, not a man-hater, but especially in the sexist culture where i am currently living (where many men also happen to be outrageously gorgeous), i'm not into the long stares and invasion of personal space (despite the good looks), and further, sometimes i don't feel all that safe. not TOO much generalizing occurs, but guess where my frustration gets directed when the guy on the bus won't stop gawking?

Buttercup said...

Amen to both Bubbles and Starshine. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Sparky - I hear you, but if 10th graders really believe that they need to qualify "feminist" by saying they don't mean "man-hater," it's a problem, and it's also a reflection of the social context of that 10th grader.

Karianne - I'll check out the book.

Ally Bean - :)

Buttercup said...

Bug - My point wasn't that every woman has had a male role model, positive or negative, although, other then lesbian separatists, haven't we all had SOME connection of some kind to men? I think it's fair to say that MOST women have some type of connection to at least one man, and probably many more. It's the problem with the whole feminist revolution. We (women) can't revolt against our oppressors, because we're intimately connected with them, and in many cases don't want to see them hurt... I'm simplifying of course, but that was my point. You disagree though?

As for the sexism being prevalent, I couldn't agree with you more. It's every where and I too hate the googling. I can't fathom why construction workers still haven't got the memo that saying, "Hey baby" as a woman walks by is NOT appreciated.

"Guess where my frustration gets directed when the guy on the bus won't stop gawking?" Totally. Men operate in this system of patriarchy, many of them taking advantage of the perks of being men and acting in sexist ways towards women. Not all of them, not all the time, but of course it happens and it happens every day. The cute ones are among the worst offenders at times. It's complicated b/c we have to pick our battles as each of these encounters arise.

You haven't been feeling safe in Italia? That concerns me.