Thought Catalog
November 22, 2014

To The Mother Who “Can’t Support Feminism” While Raising Her Sons

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What is the issue?

kwanie
kwanie

When I read the article titled “I Am A Mother Of Two Children And I Cannot (And Will Not) Support Feminism,” I knew immediately that I would read an entire page of comments about why feminism degrades traditional values, how it contradicts a functional society and how feminism is a threat to masculinity — all the while never grasping what feminism itself is ACTUALLY about. You see, people love to throw words around based on their stigmas without having any real comprehension of their actual meanings. So here is my clarification.

Being a feminist is not like putting on a pink tee shirt and then disposing of it when it no longer fits or suits you. Feminism is about achieving equal rights on the most fundamental bases. It’s something you feel empowered by, not a label to try on and discard later. So when you say that you used to be a feminist, it reminds me of the time I bought a guitar, learned three chords and called myself a musician for a while.


Your heart is in the right place. Men should be gentlemen, and you should be proud that you are raising them as such. The two paragraphs in which you describe the attributes you wish for your sons are also attributes, however, of the wildly feminist fiancee of my younger sister — except that he doesn’t religiously open doors for her (at her request) because the implication is that women are too weak to take care of themselves. That is where you get lost, I believe. Either you are a woman who gives in to the gender stereotype and enjoys having everything done for her, or you prove your own abilities as a human being and open your own damn door and carry your own things. Is it nice when a guy carries my groceries? Sure. Is it nicer for both of us if we each (as able-bodied human beings) carry half? Absolutely.

As a strong feminist myself, I have to tell you that if a man walks up to me, says hello, subsequently takes my social cue that I am not interested and then tells me to have a nice day and leaves — THAT IS NOT harassment. You are framing these quotes from feminist sites, taking them out of context and then exploiting them for your own purpose.


As a woman yourself — you cannot tell me that you’ve never looked over your shoulder as you walked through a dark parking garage, or worried that the length of your skirt would result in harassment and sexual attention you do not find welcome. You cannot tell me that you have never been approached by a man you didn’t know and WONDER if that man seemed like he was dangerous. And, you cannot tell me that you have never heard someone justify a male’s inappropriate behavior with a woman bordering on harassment by saying “HEY! Boys will be boys.”

Educate yourself.

You have misunderstood what feminism is about, and that’s a shame because we, as women, should fight for ourselves and for each other. Your article is full of information that is so incorrect it is outlandish. Not all feminists are the same, just like not all people are alike. The words “slut,” “decency” (as you used it) are words that society only applies to women. Words like bossy, snotty, bitch, and many others have no male equivalent. WHY? Because men are NEVER oppressed based on their sexuality or their ability to speak their mind! We are constantly censoring ourselves so that we might fly under the sexist radar around us. There is something inherently wrong with the fact that you cannot see that women need to stand up for themselves in the face of harassment. Not all attention is harassment, but harassment is not right! 


Your referral to the “specific limitations” for each gender is absolutely silly. It’s just not true. Sex is biologically predetermined. Gender is imposed by society. The fact that you do not believe both sexes can ever really be equal is why you do not understand feminism, and why you continue to berate it. When a gender role is imposed and it does not feel natural — THAT IS CALLED OPPRESSION. What if you have a daughter one day? How will you raise her? Will you tell her to know her “place?” To speak softly, reply submissively? What if she wanted to be a lawyer? Would you tell her its more important to have her husband’s dinner on the table at five? When someone calls HER a slut, without reason, will you remember then what feminists are fighting for? What will you say to her then? “I’m sorry honey… we aren’t made equal.” Listen to yourself!

You’re so worried that some feminist is going to come along and “suppress” your sons’ masculinities? Well… if that day comes… you can just tell them to follow suit as women have been suppressing their identities for centuries to compliment that masculinity. And its because of people like you, who misunderstand the reason behind feminism, that it continues to happen. TC mark

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