by Abby McDowell, COLUMNIST
1 March 2018
“MEN ARE TRASH!”
“MY UTERUS = MY CHOICE IN REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS!”
“I BARE MY BREASTS IN THE NAME OF EQUALITY!”
There is no need to say the movement that these phrases bring to mind. We know it’s feminism, but sadly, the majority doesn’t know that this is radical feminism.
Feminism has turned into a dirty word because of this radical propaganda. It’s become a word that describes a movement that pushes men out of the equality equation, and it has become a word that is ruining the feminist agenda.
Real feminists are egalitarians. Equalists. Moralists.
In all senses, feminism is, simply, equality for all in specificity with gender. It is believed that all men and women are created equal, and there is nothing more.
“Well, women have all the rights politically that men do so why is feminism even needed?”
Women may be able to vote. Women may be able to get a job. Women may be able to buy a house, rent a car, go out by themselves, wear what they want, and do what they want, but let’s remember feminism is a movement meant for the whole globe.
It is inter-sectional, and just because women have the right to choose in America does not mean they have it everywhere else.
Feminism in first world countries supports organizations that help women in other countries that undergo acid attacks, arranged marriages, child marriages, and infringements of basic human rights.
Organizations like The Association for Women’s Rights in Development and The National Organization for Women Foundation would not be possible if feminism hadn’t promoted its coming about and its funding.
These organizations do many things for women all around the globe like fund reproductive rights education in developing countries, and holds seminars in developing countries on how to combat violence against women. They have partnered with the United Nations and have covered such issues as gun violence against women, discrimination against women in the workplace and the shackling of pregnant women in prison. They also have programs that fund women and children that are refugees in times when they have been separated from family.
Feminism in developed countries is not a redundant message or movement. It is a movement that understands that feminism isn’t forgotten until every single man and woman on the planet has the right to choose and abide by their own rights. Feminists living in these developed nations volunteer their time and money so these organizations can help make the feminist agenda global and implement it in every culture, every religion, every gender, and every race.
Some may say that implementing feminism in cultures with a strong foundation in patriarchal religion calls for religious reform, however, this is not the case at all. Feminism has two approaches: secular feminism and religious feminism. Countries that lack a defining religion have the opportunity to take equality to its lengths because it uses secular feminism. There isn’t a culture of emphasis on men’s societal standards that feminism has to fight against, so it makes feminism easy to implement in all aspects.
For countries who do not define themselves like this, there is religious feminism. Religious feminism calls for feminism to mirror the makeup of the society for whom it operates. This means that feminist movements in these countries fight for basic human rights on the political platform, but these movements can also fluctuate when it comes to men’s societal standards and women’s societal standards. This doesn’t disrupt the culture of the country and can also abide to gender specific roles, but it protects women on the basic level of safety.
And although many feminist movements do focus on women’s rights around the globe, feminism is also there to fight for men’s rights.
Men still fight against stigmas in their everyday lives, and this radical agenda that has been spoiling the good nature of feminism has been leaving the men’s fight against these stigmas out.
Men struggle with societal pressures in all countries. According to an article in Psychology Today, in the United States, men make up over 75% of suicide victims, and yet, men are less likely to go to mental health counseling than women.
With growing pressure on men to be strong and muscular, many feminist organizations have been dedicated to drawing awareness to how stereotypes impact all genders. The Representation Project is one of them. One of the many projects they have in the works is a documentary called The Mask You Live In which explores how toxic masculinity can be for young boys, which is predicted to set off a movement that promotes better mental health for men everywhere.
Societal pressures also transfer over to sexual harassment. Now, sexual harassment reporting is a movement that has gained great speed with women in the United States, but according to the U.S. Department of Defense, a mere 39% of women report sexual harassment, however, only 13% of men report being sexually harassed in the United States.
Their experience is no less traumatic than a woman’s, yet men don’t feel as if they have the opportunities to shed light on their trauma. Feminism helped change the definition of sexual harassment and rape to include men, therefore promoting more men to report these sexual crimes.
Men should be allowed to be emotional or have these feelings without the feeling of being trapped. Men should feel open to counseling. Men should feel empowered enough as individuals to report sexual harassment.
Call it what you want. Equalism. Moralism. Feminism. Its name doesn’t constitute its message that men and women are equal and should be treated as such all over the globe through every crevasse of culture, race, and religion.
Feminism is needed in every aspect of life, and to completely reject its founding principle just because radical feminists have made it a bad word in politics is the true definition of turning on the men and women it protects.
Don’t reject feminism.
Abby McDowell is a columnist for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the HOWL