I am the most recent addition to the A-News team. I am also a feminist. Why is this blog-worthy? I have no idea. I was involved in a conversation recently however that struck me as odd and was somewhat enlightening. So much so that I have put a couple of actual news stories on hold to deal with this. If I don’t it will prevent me from finishing those anyway. It seems that by simply using A-News as a place to post stories about real news that effects life outside the cyber world of atheism/skepticism that I am going to be seen as taking sides against my fellow feminists. I’m going to come back to this however because there is something about this that, frankly disturbs me more.
The cyber-realm of the skeptic community has what appears to be an immense ego. The reason I am not seen in much of internet-atheism (or feminism) is because I spend a lot of my time in the real world. I attend school full time, I am raising kids, and when I can fit it in I often get involved with protests, marches or even writing to lawmakers to get things changed for the better. What I don’t do is spend all my time arguing with other people about whether or not they fit into my ideal of the labels they choose to use…or inventing words to make me seem like a expert in the matter.
Yes, I am a feminist. What I am not is anti-man. If we look at Merriam-Webster “feminism” is defined as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” What it does not do is say that only people who were born with a vagina can be feminists. I getting really tired of people redefining words to justify their anger. I’m also getting tired of being lumped in with people who would turn away support from someone just because s/he was born with a penis. No one made anyone on the internet today the feminist police. As a matter of fact that position doesn’t exist, and for good reason. There is no cookie cutter feminist. We come in all shapes, sizes, genders, creeds, and races. This includes men and it certainly includes trans* allies.
The fact is that some feminists are falling extremely far from the point of feminism, or worse, using the title for some petty agenda. No, I will not be posting links or quoting specifics. If you are active on the internet within the community you already know. If blasting me for not spreading the stuff that’s already out there is all you have to complain about then you can save your typing. Frankly I don’t really care and I likely won’t be responding to it anyway. Digressing…
The first feminists were not out to shame men for being men, they were fighting for the same rights that men have. They fought for the right to vote, as one example. Astoundingly, according to the Center for American Women and Politics in 2010 less than half of the eligible female adults actually cast a vote. 46.2% and that’s not even all of the registered woman voters, although that number isn’t much higher. Women actually endured violence, arrest and in some cases death so that women could vote and they aren’t even doing it. That is what you should be upset about and trying to fix. Need another thing to be mad about?
How about equal pay? Now, ordinarily I am wary of using Wikipedia for a reference however in this case they cite over 150 sources for information so for all intents and purposes it will do for this blog. According to Wiki, “In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported women’s median weekly earnings to be 81% of men.” Despite the fact that every day women fight for equal pay we are still earning a check that’s almost 20% lower than that of a man. You can work as hard as you want, but the industry will still only see you as 81%.
How about fe/male genital mutilation. Yes, I intended it to be that way because I am against genital mutilation of either sex. There is no reason to rally against one while ignoring the other. This is a perfect example of how everyone can fight for equal rights and still be fighting the same fight. Incidentally, some interesting things are happening in the medical world with FGM. There is actually a doctor having success with repairing the female sex organ to where she can actually regain sexual pleasure after having endured mutilation. For more information about this you can search for Dr. Pierre Foldes in France. What’s unfortunate about this however is that men will likely never get the opportunity for anything like that since the entire foreskin is removed.
What’s my point? Simple. First, there are real-world issues that need to be handled. Boots-on-the-ground work that needs to be done. Laws need changing. Rights need to be balanced. Second, rather than worrying about inventing new words to insult the men who would be allies (seriously, mansplaining? dudebro? I just threw up in my mouth a little), help educate them. Remember that there are many men who were raised by other men who weren’t understanding and may need some patience as they work through that sexist or bigoted upbringing. Rather than scorning trans women for being born to bodies different than yours embrace them as the beautiful women they now are. Instead of hating trans men for “abandoning their sex” accept that they can alter their body to fit their gender and yet still be a feminist. The fact is that there is no mold that we come from. We are all humans and need to learn that no matter what shell we walk around in, underneath we are all the same. It’s just that some require a little more patience than others.
Disclaimer: This does not mean that we should exclude violent offenders or people that just don’t want to understand. I’m not trying to excuse anyone for reprehensible behaviour. Sometimes people are assholes and there is simply nothing you can do to help. However there is no reason to approach everyone of a different gender as if they fall into that category. I also do not intend to imply that every feminist out there falls into this category either. I also do not want to be shoved into a side-taking category simply for choosing this as a place to post my articles and the odd rant/rave. The fact is that I don’t want to be on any side and certainly don’t want to be recruited. I speak only for myself and the views expressed here are my own and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the A-News team. Also, I am not going to poll the rest of the feminists on the internet to see where I am not going to offend by putting it. If people are going to judge the articles I write (not this rant, but actual writing) based on location rather than content then I’m not interested in “joining forces” anyway. I’m more impressed by substance than rallying angry mobs.