FEMINISM: MY SECOND FAVORITE “F” WORD : This is a post from Pura Vida. I like this post on feminism for a couple reasons. One, Jessa seems to fall in the “middle of the road” form of feminism. She’s not trying to emasculate men, she’s merely trying to elevate the status of women everywhere (a noble cause). Two, she’s obviously educated and well spoken.
A little background on myself. I’m a 35 year old white male, married 12 years and father of two girls (this is where my interest in feminism comes from). I’m more or less an average white male, although I’m working on making myself better. My point of view normally stems from the idea that once you better yourself you’ll be able to fulfill others expectations (and understand your own needs) in a relationship.
That being said there are a lot of swirling questions around feminism and manliness. I thought it would be good to work with a blogger who understands it better than me. I’d like to point out that when we speak about groups of people we talking about the averages, not the odds, and I understand there are and will always be exceptions. Read this post and know my questions/points are included in a different color.
After football, of course.
My freshman year of college, I wrote a paper on a piece we read in class about domestic violence. In my cover letter to my professor, I wrote, “I wouldn’t consider myself a feminist, but I do believe in women’s rights.” When I got the paper back with her notes, she had written a comment beside my statement that read, “That’s what feminism is! We aren’t male-bashing militants!” And that is when I knew I was a feminist.
Society has turned feminism into this bad word, where women hate men and want them all to die. I too had been brainwashed into believing that’s what feminism was. There’s the Feminazi, the angry feminist, the “waste of a woman” who doesn’t want kids, and the “forever alone” feminist. A woman is not less of a woman simply because she does not want kids. I’ve never heard this opinion other than in feminist articles. The concept is confusing because the majority of men have never met anyone who believes in this ideal.
And God forbid she wants both a family AND a career because that would just be impossible for her to handle…nobody ever asks men, “How can you be both a Congressman, and a father?” People attack fatherhood routinely for men who “neglect” family due to work. It seems to me catching flack is equality. We’re all catching flack together. Voicing your desire for gender equality should not place you in this box where you will be single your whole life. But yes, we are angry. If men were perpetually objectified and oppressed, they’d be angry too.
A recent study published on The White House’s Twitter account read that by the age of 65, the average woman will have lost $431,000 over her working lifetime because of the wage gap. Data compiled from the Census Bureau and The Department of Labor Statistics calculated that in Wyoming, a woman’s average earnings is 64% LESS than a man’s average earnings (that’s $33,152 to their $51,932). (This is a longstanding argument. Jessa is citing The White House, but you can find this stat in several locations. The number one thing that cripples this argument is the collection of data. This stat lumps all working women against all working men. CEO vs secretary, surgeon vs bartender, ditch digger vs stripper. Obviously not a real statistic. The other challenge is this statistic won’t accommodate the idea that some women may not want to work jobs that pay higher wages but also demand more time and effort, thus pulling the ladies away from the home i.e. promotions offered but refused due to the requirements. You can read an article about “Wage Gap” here on forbes.) Occasionally getting free drinks at the bar does not make up for you making more than me, if we have the same level of education and experience. You have a penis, so you get more money than me? Ah. Okay. Cool.
We want our male peers to treat as equals. We want our fathers to stop pushing us into career fields where we should “rely on our looks,” not our brains. (Many fathers also push their sons into career fields that “rely on our muscles”, not our brains. Yay equality!) We want our male friends to stop making rape jokes, and blaming women for “letting it happen.” (Those guys are assholes. To men and women.) We want the men we date to treat us like human beings, not sexual objects or trophies. (They exist, trust me.) We want to be able to safely walk down the street at night. We want men to stop abusing women, we want women to stop abusing men. Nobody should be hitting anybody. We don’t want you to better than us, and we don’t want to be better than you. We simply want equality.
Please take into consideration that I am a middle aged white man and I see the world through that lens. I’m never going to have to deal with an abusive spouse, I’m never going to wonder if the dress I’m wearing is “too provocative”, and I’m never going to pee with the lid down. I understand Women’s Rights is a real thing. I want my daughters to have every opportunity possible. I hope these and other issues are clearly resolved soon.