To be, or not to be, a feminist.

Last night I stumbled upon this video:

and it saddened me a bit.

It’s sad that people feel the need to object to feminism, because they believe it means that you basically hate men and don’t care about issues related to them. For me, feminism has always meant one thing: equality. Equality between genders, sexual preferences, heck even between “races” and cultures. Feminism for me is the ism that stands for, fights for, different groups of people that have been, and still are, in some ways, oppressed. I think it’s sad, and kind of ironic, that you (especially as a woman) would not want to be called a feminist, while living in a patriarchal society. I call myself a feminist, but at the same time I care about issues that are related to men as well. I think men should have the same parental rights as women, being able to go on parental leave just like women and stay home with their kids. I think men and boys should not be held to certain types of standards, always being the “strong” one, being asked to “act like a man”, cause really, what the heck is that supposed to mean? I think boys should be encouraged to play with dolls, or dress in pink or whatever else it is that we impose on girls, and they should be allowed to be caring, nurturing and show their emotions if they feel like it, without being called a pussy, or a sissy, or a pansy, or any other stupid word that degrades both genders in some way.

Now, regarding her video, I am pretty uncertain if all the statistics she presented are accurate, and also, where exactly they are accurate (is it only involving the United states or what? Cause I’m sorry all you Americans out there, but the world really does not revolve around you…yeah..). Nevertheless, I felt that some of the men’s issues she spoke about and tried to compare with women’s issues, were rather weird. For instance the rape thing. Hm…ok, so apparently there is a huge issue regarding men being raped in prison. Ok, I understand that it is an issue, and also acknowledge that it is a serious one and something should definitely be done about it. But. How can you even compare this to the amount of women that are being raped every day out in the “real” world? Men being raped in prison is men raping other men, in prison = the majority of all these men are criminals, albeit there are probably many that are innocent but that is a completely different issue that I will not discuss right now.. Anyhow. When talking about female rape, you are not talking about the amount of women being raped in prison by other women, you are talking about the amount of “non-incarcerated” women walking about freely in the world, being raped by men. Ergo, both issues have to do with men raping; men raping men, and men raping women. So hey, why not turn the issue around and make it about (certain) men raping? Why not trying to do something about the rape-culture that we seem to live in?

At the same time, of course, women’s issues do bother me “more” since I am a woman, and also, since the society I live in is still based on patriarchy, and has always been so. I do feel stronger towards women’s issues, since the majority of women have throughout our history, been referred to as the “second” gender, and been more oppressed than men. And sure, you can, as she does, say that men are also being objectified just like women, but really, really… I mean, really? How can you say that and honestly believe that it is true? I would not, nor can I, compare the objectification that is going on between the genders, especially when it comes to my field of research. Advertisements pretty much objectify everything, however, the objectification that is being done to women is not the same as for men. First of all, it is not the same amount of objectification between the genders, second of all women have been the target of objectification for a longer period of time, heck, women have basically started out as “objects”, while men started out as “subjects”, so how are you supposed to even start comparing? Sure, women have during the last century gotten more rights and “equality”, but still, what is a century, compared to the entire history of humans? Therefore, when talking about the objectification that is going on both for men and women, one must always remember the past and the present, one must remember what type of society the objectification is taking place in, one must remember to evaluate exactly how “equal” that society really is. Or as Kilbourne eloquently put it:

“When power is unequal, when one group is oppressed or discriminated against as a group, where there is a context of systematic and historical oppression, stereotypes and prejudice have different weight and meaning.”…”When men objectify women, they do so in a cultural context in which women are constantly objectified and in which there are consequences — from economic discrimination to violence — to that objectification.”

So yeah, is it really that strange that feminism is called feminism, when it all started with the “second” gender being tired of getting in second place? It could just as well have been called humanism, or peopleism or equalitism or whatever else that “represents” both genders, BUT, why does this even matter? It is just a word, after all. And just like all other words, all other isms, all other groups, not to mention religions; people will still interpret it in their own way, putting their own spin on it, reacting towards it in their own manner. So what can you do? Well, you can call yourself a feminist and fight for equality, or you can call yourself something else and fight for the same cause, as long as we are all working our ways, living our lives with equality in mind, it should really not matter what you call yourself. Cause really, we are all in this together.

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