July 29, 2014

Feminism is Necessary: The Stifling of American Women

No comments:
suburbia interrupted
Courtesy of AdWeek.com

There is an all to prevalent disease spreading through the core of American society. The disease, spread by those who are misguided, misinformed, and/or misogynist, aims to stifle those who believe everyone deserves to be on a level playing field. 

The Disease: The Stifling of American Women.

Growing up, I was unaware (naive?) that being a vaigna carrying member of the human race made my opinions less valid than those of my penis carrying counterparts. Silly me believed that having two opposable thumbs made me human; which, in turn, made me just as relevant, important, and equal to the boys. As I matured and began exploring (and thoroughly embracing) my womanhood, the realization of the unbalanced societal expectations and values cast upon women and men, shocked me. 

I consider myself a feminist- one who does not believe everything has to be turned into a feminist issue. I believe in, plain and simply, equality among those of us who call the United States our home.

Recently, movements such as #WomenAgainstFeminism have gained the internet spotlight. Tumblrs, Twitter accounts, and Facebook pages have begun showcasing women holding anti-feminism statements, baulking at feminism and those who consider themselves feminist. “I am not a victim”, “The men in my life respect me”, and “I can open my own jar of pickles” are the common theme among the young women who believe feminism is an unnecessary evil looking to destroy womanhood and the masculinity of men.

News flash: Feminism IS necessary and in no way, destroying the masculinity of men or the integrity of womanhood.

What the women of the #WomenAgainstFeminism movement fail to realize is, without feminism, they would not have the luxury of voicing their opinions within our male dominated society. These young women fail to see the bigger picture and are blind to one critical point in their anti-feminist movement:

Without feminist movements in the past, women would still be wearing an apron and stuck inside the sweltering kitchen, mindlessly (and silently) being a doting housewife.

In terms of historical events, women just recently gained the right to vote. The historical significance may not seem like a big deal today, but is, in fact, a major victory in a long and still waging war for women’s equality. Stating feminism is an unnecessary evil is like spiting our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers, who found the courage to drop their aprons, step out of the kitchen, and stand up for our future.

Feminism is necessary.

We now live in a time when our world is shrouded in threats never before faced. The role gender plays in planning, strategizing, and protecting our freedom should be a mute point when we find ourselves- as a society- under enormous pressure to protect our nation. Yet, those who enjoy the unbalance of powers try to undermine strong women such as Hillary Clinton simply because she is has a vagina. Those same people are determined to control the who, what, where, when, and why of the female body. Determined to turn back time and stop the rise of equality among men and women, what was once decisions made between a woman and her doctor, have become regulated, restricted, and controlled by those who employ you.

At the World Economic Forum in 1998, Hillary Clinton spoke and compared “a healthy society to a 3-legged stool, supported by a responsible government, an open economy, and a vibrant civil society.” Clinton then stressed the point, “that third leg of the stool was too often neglected.” Sixteen years later, her sentiments still hold true. 

Some elected officials believe rape and sex crimes are provoked acts. Some believe there is rape and then there is “legitimate” rape. Some believe that women cannot be raped; that the term and act itself is a myth. Others believe that birth control is a form of abortion and pregnancy cannot occur if a woman is, in fact, raped.

Thanks to a male dominated ruling, the Supreme Court has ruled that the “buffer zones” at abortion clinics are illegal; that the protesters are actually “counselors”, aimed at helping a woman make an informed decision about herself. Right. Add in the overwhelming craziness which now allows a corporation to consider itself a person, who can deny women health insurance coverage for their contraception, and well, I guess the anti-feminists are right. In no way, shape, or form, do the vagina carrying members of the American society need feminism...

The worldwide importance of the United States looking past gender (and acting in a moral way to combat women inequality) is significant. We are the first country to jump when another finds itself in a humanitarian struggle; yet, we are the last to defend the humanitarian crisis within our own society.

Misogyny does and will always exist. There will always be those who are misinformed or naive to the role women can and do play within our society. Believing feminism is not important nor crucial for the future of our nation, is foolish. Misogynist comments will always be shouted by those who feel feminism is not needed and/or destroying the role of men. Haters are gonna hate and the ignorant are too unaware of their ignorance.

There are over 300 million people living in the United States. Of those, 50.8% are women. In other words, more than half of the United States is a vagina carrying member of the human race. Women may be the populous majority, but the minority when it comes to equality across the societal board. Our wages are less. Our bodies are regulated. Our voting rights are being challenged. Our voices are being stifled.

In 2008 Presidential election, Hillary Clinton tried to break the “glass ceiling” which was blocking women from achieving unlimited societal success. In her concession speech, given after losing to Obama, she stated:

“Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got 18 million cracks in it. And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.”

Feminism is necessary.

Without it, women like Hillary, Wendy Davis, and even women such as Sarah Palin or those involved in the #WomenAgainstFeminism movement, would not be who they are, nor where they are, today. The unfortunate reality is, that glass ceiling, the one with 18 million cracks in it, still remains in our way. For every two steps of progress made in the fight for women equality, we take one step back. Women like me and more influential women such as Jessica Valenti, are accused of force feeding an anti-man, “anti-equality” agenda down the throats of fellow women. We are slut shamed and called names. We are threatened, harassed, and accused of dividing those in the vagina carrying club.

I will not deny that some active members of the feminist movement are more extreme than others. As with any cause, movement, or belief, there are those who become more radical than the majority. As is the case with the #WomenAgainstFeminism movement, these women have the right to their own opinion. However, I will not let their skewed views of feminism or its core values, be lost in the bigger, more important issue: feminism is necessary. It is important. It is nothing more than the belief that a level playing field between men and women is needed.

Feminism is the yearning to feel equal with our male counterparts, not to encroach upon it. Feminism isn’t aimed at destroying the masculinity of men nor is it a movement to end male chivalry. Nothing is more intriguing, alluring, and nice, than a man who owns his manhood; a man who respects women enough to open a door, value her opinions, or open a stubborn jar of pickles. Feminism isn’t about burning bras or inhibiting Mother Nature by destroying the testosterone dominated species she created. Feminism is believing that estrogen is just as important and closing the gap between the two sexes.

Branching off from the simplistic feminist belief in equality are the limbs (sectors) of society which need to make great strides to narrow the inequality gap. While feminism has made great progress in sexual/reproductive health, wages, and basic human decency, more can and must be done. Truth is, women earn less than men, women are constantly harassed by those who see us as eye candy instead of another human being, and viagra and all other forms of erectile dysfunction medicine is a 30-day free trial, nonregulated acceptance within our society. 

While men can take a pill when the time is right, women must first ask their employer if their once a day pill (or permanent and cost effective IUD) is covered under the company's healthcare plan. While men are bringing home more and more bacon, women are being forced to watch and wonder why they cannot do the same. While sports “celebrities” are being slapped on the wrist for beating their girlfriends, fiances, and wives, women are being searched and tampons are being confiscated...because they are (according to Texas lawmakers) a deadly weapon. While men are causing physical and emotional harm by assaulting and raping women, we are the ones being blamed...because of the clothes we chose to wear or the amount of alcohol we consumed.

Feminism aims to close the gap between laying blame and victimizing, taking ownership of one’s behavior and expecting those who act in the wrong to be punished for their behavior.

I am Dani, and I am a feminist. One who believes her daughter, her neighbor, and herself are just as important, equal, and humanized as the men we live with, work with, socialize with. Men are not my enemy nor the enemy of the majority who consider themselves feminists. Men are our allies, our friends, our supporters. Believing I deserve to be equal with the next person is not a crime. Being feminist is not shameful nor is it harming others in the vagina carrying club. Being feminist is who I am, what I believe in, and not just a “thing” bored women grasp onto.

Being feminist is a necessity, a right I gained by women who have fought the long, hard, battle before me. One I will not ignore, turn my back on, or take for granted. A right my daughter will one day inherit, experience, and live.

Feminism is necessary.

I'm Social

Image Map

Who is Suburbia Interrupted?

My Photo

Dani is a 30-something South Florida freelance writer and mom to five. Anti-stepford wife, Dani honestly navigates motherhood, life, and sex with humor, straight talk and uncensored commentary.