I seriously hesitated for a long time before I decided to write this article.
I know that no matter how I express myself in the next couple of paragraphs, some of you will be convinced that I’m a misogynistic, chauvinistic, narcissistic bastard out to put women down and destroy everything you’ve worked so hard for. I’m guessing a few of you have already skipped down to the comments section in righteous anger.
Why do I think that? Because, perhaps unfortunately, Thought Catalog has been my first real exposure to feminist arguments, and boy, is it not pretty.
Let me throw a disclaimer about my views up first; I know it will not placate many, but maybe some will understand where I’m coming from. I have a double degree from a good state school where I was fortunate to found a new student organization and work as an RA and a TA. In examining my attitudes towards women, I looked back at my own behavior, and can confidently say that when it came to making decisions, I saw no difference between men and women. The incumbent president in my own club was a woman, as were half the people on our executive board, and when we did projects – and I ran the club like a small business – gender was not something I considered. You either got stuff done, or you didn’t.
I’ve never studied feminism; like most guys (I presume,) I learned about it from my friends and from life. Being raised by a single mother, the strongest woman I know, while my dad ran away from all responsibility, taught me to just accept that women can be stronger than men in every respect. It was just not something I questioned. Therefore, of course I believe in equal treatment of women in every sense. I think the fact that women make up a fraction of CEOs and top executive positions – and get paid less than their male counterparts – is unfair and sad. When it comes to the workplace – or politics, or whatever – I’m with you; people should be judged on their abilities, not what’s between their legs. My friends, none of whom are civil rights activists, share my perspectives.
At this point, you might be thinking one of two things: (1) “this guy is trying to justify himself,” or (2) “well, I’m glad you see it this way, but lots of people don’t.”
Let me cut right to the point. I’ve been reading Thought Catalog, and the feminists I’ve encountered are angry. Angry. Militant. I think (hope) that most readers share my views on social and economic equality of women, and I think most of us would agree that rape is bad. But boy, is the response I’ve encountered turning me off. I feel like I’m walking on a minefield – God forbid I’ll say something wrong in a language that’s not modern enough, or use “women” instead of “womyn” – because on the internet, apparently that’s how your social views are judged.
Thought Catalog writers – men, women, whoever is writing these things – is getting me to believe that all feminists are these angry, aggressive maniacs out to catch me at every slip, and I know that’s not the case. I know things are bad, and women still have a while to go. Jews – like me – also have a while to go; so do Blacks, Hispanics, and Arab-Americans, and countless other groups that encounter discrimination in this beautiful country of ours.
Sexism – like racism – is, for the lack of a better word, bad. Abhorrent, and it needs to be eradicated. Issues women face on a daily basis need to be brought to light. But, oh boy, you might want to check how you’re running your PR – because you’re turning me, and I imagine a lot of other people seriously off, and I know I’m not the only one. Maybe approach the subject with the assumption that I – a man, and your fellow human being – am on your side and want to help you, and not rape you and then take away your pay. Chill, and let’s get some good work done.