Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Attack of the Feminist

Are feminists the newest threat to society?
A group of people signing a petition on Change.org to get the U.S. government to classify feminism as a terrorist group think so.
The petition states: (*note typos/errors are as found on the site)

Over the years feminism has constantly attacked men and women for choosing to live their lives the way they want to. These actions have now progressed to physical violence where we have seen feminists violently attack men who are concerned about mens issues.Repeated attacks in Canada and elseware have left many injured and maimed. Another feminist cell activated recently and is planning on attacking another talk for men in the US. Its time we stopped the violence, its time we put a stop to the hatred feminists are constantly generating. Its time we stopped womens studied courses from brainwashing women into thinking they are victims. Its time these misandric loonatics are stopped.

What? And then, when I thought I couldn't feel any worse about this, I realized this whole petition and statement is made by a woman, Janet Wilkinson. I just keep hoping this is an internet joke. But when you read the comments posted on page, it becomes less awkwardly funny and more distasteful and terrifying. 
So I guess we have to talk about feminism.... 
 If you asked me if I was a feminist, I would cautiously reply yes. I actually like to think of myself as a humanist-meaning that I believe all humans, regardless of their race and gender, or preferences when it comes to sexuality, religion, fashion, food, whatever all deserve to be treated justly and equally as they pursue what makes them happy. Assuming that what they believe makes them happy isn't to destroy earth, kill kittens, hurt others, or other moralistically reprehensible mayhem. But in saying that I believe all humans deserve to be treated justly and equally, it automatically makes me a feminist because tragically and confusingly, we live in a world where women are just not.
I can not comprehend why and when women became the "lesser sex." It just has never made sense to me. Trying to understand why women are less then men is as impossible for me to wrap my mind around as calculus. I never once for a second growing up thought that I couldn't do something because I was a girl. In fact, in elementary school, I once got into a debate with some other kids that girls could do everything boys could. One smart ass little boy shouted out, "Nah-uh! Girls can't pee standing up!" To which I responded simply by pulling my underpants down from under my skirt and peeing right there. Standing up.
The other tragic problem with being a strong woman wanting to help other women be strong (aka a feminist) is that the word "feminist" has become a bad word. Think, if you are invited to a party, and you ask your friend who else she invited and she lists off people like, "Bill the guy who drinks too much, Tracy the funny model, Katie the ad exec with the cute pug, and Sarah the feminist writer." Which one of those people are you thinking you're hoping you won't get trapped into a conversation in a corner with. The word feminist makes everyone bristle because we're picturing and dreading the extreme craziness. Really "-ists" in general make us nervous: racists, elitists, sadists, terrorists, dentists. When it comes to feminists, admit it, we're really picturing those women from the feminist book shop in Portlandia.
I've been guilty of it too. I spent most of college ranting about my "feminazi" Art History professor who literally turned every painting into being about a vagina. And after semesters of her, I found myself rolling my eyes at anyone who identified themselves as a feminist or started ranting on their female struggles. And worse, I was hesitant-and still somewhat am- to define myself as a feminist. Even though I AM, and always have been, a feminist. I have no problem identifying myself as other things that are not necessarily good or flattering, like when I admit to being a crazy cat lady, but it is because of the stereotype of what an angry, hairy feminist is that makes me, and I'm sure others, less willing to proudly say I am a feminist.
But the reality is, most women (like 99%) who are feminists are not humorless, mean, closed-minded people on an aggressive and angry attack hating on penises and men. That stereotype has helped perpetuate feminism to be bad, but it is not a definition of what a true feminist is. It is the caricature of a feminist extremist. Extremists (the -ist problem again) are scary to us, mostly because they can't be reasoned with as there is little to no gray area, and often extremists become a threat because they are willing to go to extremes to push their beliefs. And, yes, extremists have historically become terrorists. But even extremist feminists don't seem to be a real enemy, but rather more of a victim. As the feminist queen bee Hilary Clinton said, extremists in general often are on attack against women."Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me. But they all seem to. It doesn't matter what country they're in or what religion they claim. They all want to control women."
Feminists have only ever gone to battle to fight exactly that, for much needed changes in education, working conditions, and safety to make things equal for all humans. See? Feminists are really just Humanists. Maybe we should all just start using that word and calm the f#@* down because I think it's safe to say that women who are on quests for these things are not Godzillas here to destroy the place.

*Also, part of learning to be a successful human is learning how to spell. -E.C.

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