I know I usually hold these posts off for Feminist Friday but I have to break the mold today because something has come up. I was scrolling through my emails and saw something that caught my eye.
WordPress (the site I use to blog) sends me emails when someone I follow posts a new blog post. I saw the title to one I thought I would find interesting. And boy did I ever…
The post was Challenging Feminism.
Let that sink in how I may have reacted… Yeah, I had to read this.
I usually really enjoy reading this particular blog, she’s funny, sweet, and quick witted. The “about me” section of her blog states: “Maybe you’re the parent or loved one of someone suffering with an eating disorder. Perhaps you’re in the throes of anorexia yourself. Maybe you think you may have the beginning stages of disordered eating. Or perhaps you’re on the journey to recovery. Whatever has brought you here, I hope that through the story of my brokenness, and redemption through the Lord, you are able to find hope, encouragement, advice, healing, support, and comfort. This blog chronicles my journey from severe anorexia to recovery, and every twist and turn along the way.” She’s a solid girl with a rough past who made it through.
And if you know me you should know, I love that kind of story.
This post not so much… Here is her post:
Lately, it’s been really weird to be a woman.
Not because of any fashion or makeup trends…although, I will say…I don’t quite understand the reemergence of the shoulder pad.
But because of all the recent hyper focus on…feminism.
The Women’s March, International Women’s Day, protests, walk outs, I mean, we get it already…
But to be honest, I am confused by the whole matter.
Women are not marginalized in the United States of America.
What are they fighting for? Why all the anger?
Now listen, I know that this post is probably going to garner a lot of backlash, but you know what, that’s okay. I would love to hear thoughts on all sides of this issue. Truly. Every person is entitled to their own viewpoints, and I respect those feelings, even if they differ from mine. And of course, there is always room for improvement in removing some lingering issues, (representation in senior management, ensuring equal wages), but there is no attack on women.
But again, I don’t know what women are fighting for.
Is it because we have access to health care?
Is it because 57% of enrolled college students are female?
I’ll repeat that….57% of college students are female.
Is it because women can hold any job they desire, up to and including the President of the United States?
Is it because women can wear anything, say anything, go out in public, drive a car, vote, go to school, worship freely, and have/adopt children here without the say or approval of a man?
I just don’t get it.
Perhaps they’re marching for the end to rape. Okay. That’s truly a phenomenal cause, and I salute that.
But I honestly don’t think a march is going to change that. You know what might? A change in our culture. Maybe we need to reconsider the messages that we’re sending to young boys and men in society about how to treat a woman. Perhaps we shouldn’t be referring to women as “bitches and hoes” in our music and television. Perhaps we shouldn’t be objectifying or infantilizing grown women in our advertising. When we reduce a person to mere body parts or tools for pleasure, it’s no wonder that men feel they have the ability to take advantage. Perhaps we should challenge the multi-billion dollar porn industry. Perhaps we should be changing the narrative on that, and reclaim our dignity as women and prize our sexuality and virginity for what it is.
And women, we’re not off the hook either. Listen, I love a little black dress more than anything. Especially if it’s backless. But if we’re going to walk out of the house in lingerie-equivalent club wear, it’s asking for trouble. Of course men should be able to control themselves. “Asking for it” is never, ever, ever an excuse. But if we’re not respecting our own bodies, how can we expect anyone else to?
The biggest thing I have a problem with, is women who are marching for abortion rights.
It’s no secret, I am staunchly pro-life.
But here’s where the feminism argument just doesn’t hold up.
So much of feminism is tied up in the sexual revolution and the emergence of The Pill. The cry of feminism for women to have the sexual freedom that men “have” is the exact antithesis of what true feminism really is!
The very essence of being female is the ability to bear children. Bring life into the world. That is the one and only thing that is uniquely female. That is the aspect of being a woman that is what should be celebrated and cherished and protected. And, in the name of feminism, we’re fighting to squelch that? Fighting to suppress that exclusively female gift? That, in my opinion, is the exact opposite of feminism.
“But we’re fighting for a woman’s right to control her own body.”
Okay, terrific. That’s important.
But here’s the thing. Abortion is different because it involves two bodies: the mother’s and the baby’s. Her decision is not just hers, but her child’s. How is ending another human life controlling her own body? That sounds to me like controlling someone else’s body.
You want to fight for the marginalized? How about you start with the smallest and most vulnerable of them all? – The child in the womb.
Frankly, I have been so disappointed to be a woman here recently. All the photos of women wearing red, and proclaiming that they’re boycotting work to show what it would be like to have a world without women.
Please. Give me a break. You have a job. A paycheck. A degree. Benefits. Clean drinking water. Health care. Equal opportunities.
This whole feminist movement thing, it just smells of domineering, desperate estrogen, if I’m being really honest.
I am uniquely female. God made women as the crown of creation. We bring life into the world. We are relational. We are receptive. Feelers. Communicators. Soft. Delicate. Those things are who we are by nature.
Frankly, it is unnatural to try and dominate a man and emasculate him.
I think one of the most beautiful things we can do as women is to let a man be a man, and challenge him to rise to his highest form of masculinity: providing for his family, protecting, guarding, leading. That is what a man’s heart longs for: adventure. Rescuing. Providing.
Their inherent natures and our inherent natures are a complimentary pair. Perfectly in harmony.
Maybe if we call out men to be those types of upstanding men, and we their equal partners, complimenting each other’s traits, perhaps all the other things will work themselves out. Because a man called to true masculine greatness will respect a woman, her body, her mind, her talents, abilities, passions.
Because at the end of the day, feminism is not a bad thing. But its definition has been bastardized in recent times. Feminism is the revolution of femininity – in all its forms.
We, as women, bring with us, our uniquely feminine traits – our feminie genius – into each and every role we take on, whether that be a teacher, a business exec, a mother, a nurse, the President, a professional athlete. Those uniquely feminine traits make us exceptional at those things and should be celebrated.
A woman is a unique being: capable of all that a man can do, and more. We are the bearers of life. Why are we fighting that which makes us most powerful?
That’s feminism. That’s where we need to begin.
Alright, aside from all the grammatical errors that are driving me insane I think you can see the things that I am in awe of.
What are we fighting for?!?!?! BLAH!
I can get over the fact that we don’t agree on abortion. That is something I’ve grown used to. My parents, husband, and in-laws are all pro-life and that’s okay. I appreciate and respect their feelings. I also appreciate that they respect my feelings. The rest of it though just blows my mind.
Are we supposed to be delicate? Are we supposed to be soft? Communicators? Receptive? Who the fuck says? Who woke up one day and said, “All women must be delicate!” Are you fucking kidding me?!
Honestly, it took me quite some time to write out a respectful response to this. I will share it with you now that I’ve voiced a bit of my frustrations. 🙂
I completely understand why you may be confused about all the attention on feminism lately. I want to shed some light on how I feel about feminism and what it means for our culture today. I am going to try and take this issue by issue as you lay it out in your post, so bear with me.
Women are marginalized in the United States. Whether you want to believe that or not, it’s the truth. One example is the dollar bill. Every single dollar bill that is made in America has the face of a man. What about the great women who helped shape America? What about the notable women who changed history? Why is it that men are so important but women get forgotten?
Another example are veterans. Surveys show that women veterans are less likely than their male counterparts to find employment after service. Female veterans have written on Vantage Point (http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/7887/progress-in-treatment-of-women-veterans/) about these challenges and those while seeking VA care as a woman.
Another example are the gender pay gaps. All you have to do is google a few things to realize this is a troubling problem in America. I learned, by googling really quickly, that women who are chief executives earn 69% as much as their male counterparts. And on average women earn more than men in only 7 professions out of 534. SEVEN OUT OF 534. That is 0.13% of the professions listed.
Abortion bans. I understand you are pro-life and I am not going to argue this with you. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The problem I see with abortion bans and all the hoops women have to jump through is that we as women are still not trusted to make our own decisions about our reproductive choices.
Now, on to the fact that we can wear anything, say anything, go out in public, go to college, etc. You’re right, we can do all of those things. Because of women like Alice Paul, Francis Willard, Carrie A. Nation, Jane Addams, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Betty Friedan, Margaret Sanger, Anna Howard Shaw, and Carrie Chapman Catt. And if you know anything about women’s history, the Progressive Movement, the Feminist Movement of the ‘60s, and the Civil Rights Movement you will know that these women are the reason we have birth control, have the right to vote, have equal rights, etc. These women didn’t all agree. Some wanted temperance while some drank. Some wanted birth control while some were strictly opposed. And some were racist while others were inclusive. Feminists may not always agree but we are all fighting for equal rights. We are the ones that are standing up for those who can’t or won’t.
I agree with you, that marching will not end rape and we need a change in our culture. But I disagree with the fact that women should wear more conservative clothing. By you saying “if we’re going to walk out of the house in lingerie-equivalent club wear, it’s asking for trouble.” you are telling anyone who reads this that it is their fault they got raped because they wanted to wear a backless dress. You even follow it up that “”Asking for it” is never an excuse” but that’s what you’re saying by telling your readers they are asking for trouble if they are dressed a little skimpy. That’s bull shit. I should be able to walk down the street topless, just like a man, without feeling any sort of discomfort, ridicule, judgement, or terror.
The abortion subject is touchy and I don’t like to argue this issue. My husband is very pro-life and I have had two abortions. I would never take those back. I do not regret them. I would never judge someone who has had one. I would never judge someone who refuses to have one. All I want is the choice. Because if I didn’t have that choice I would have gone to a back alley doctor, like back in the 20’s. I could have died trying to get the abortion I wanted and had a right to.
Feminism is not about sexual revolution and the pill. It is not to have sexual freedom. Feminism is to have equal rights. To be treated equally on all platforms. The ability to have children is uniquely female, but it should also be a choice. We should not be forced to have children or denied birth control because a man chooses that is what is “right.” I obviously do not believe that “child in the womb” is actually a child until a certain point, but again this is not a fight I want to get into. We can disagree and that’s fine. That’s part of being a feminist. Letting everyone have their own thoughts and ideas and not judging or criticizing them for it.
I’m sorry you feel that the whole feminist movement thing “smells of domineering, desperate estrogen” but please, take a minute and research women like Alice Paul, Margaret Sanger, Anna Howard Shaw, Carrie Chapman Catt, Francis Willard, Betty Friedan, and Jane Addams. Once you’ve done that tell me how many rights you would have as a woman without these strong and courageous women. You wouldn’t have your blog. You wouldn’t have a job. You wouldn’t have an education. You wouldn’t have the right to choose when to have children. You wouldn’t have the right to own land. You wouldn’t have the right to vote. You would not have a voice what so ever. You would have been the property of your father or husband. You would have been taught to be seen and not heard. These women made all of this possible by being feminist. By fighting for what they believed what was right and going against the grain.
If you feel it’s unnatural to try and dominate a man you fall into the typical paradigm that our culture has taught. You complain about our culture calling women bitches and hoes, why not complain about our culture teaching our young girls that they are below boys. Why not complain about the saying “boys will be boys” and letting them be aggressive, dirty, rude, loud, mean, etc. because “boys will be boys.”
As a mother I do not feel that being a bearer to life is what makes me powerful. Being educated, talented, funny, strong, independent, outspoken, honest, a good person, a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, and a good daughter are what makes me powerful. Not the fact that I can simply have children.
I hope you never have to experience rape, unwanted pregnancy, assault, name calling, or have any of your rights taken away. These are the things that make you open your eyes to “what all the fuss is about”.