The American feminist movement’s main goal was to grant white women with the right to vote, hold property, and have equal rights to their male white counterparts. Mission accomplished.
Feminism was not originally created for anyone other than white females, seeing how the movement started well before 1965, the year when African-American men and women were finally given the real right to vote.
The first and most important problem with the “feminist” movement comes in the name itself. The definition of feminism denotes segregation between men and women. Intrinsically, the word “feminist” or “feminism” creates a wall, a category, a serious divide between the sexes.
The Merriam-Webster definition of feminism is:
: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
: organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests
Using a word that means “equal rights for women” implies that women and men do not have equal rights. Did I miss something in my American history class? What right does a man have that a woman does not? None. Exactly. So automatically the definition of the word itself is outdated and irrelevant.
For the sake of argument, I’ll stretch the definition to “equal treatment of women” but even then, it’s a shaky argument at best.
How can we, as women, seriously say we’re not equal to men? Why do we ignore so many other genuine modern equality issues? Gay men aren’t allowed to adopt a baby in every state, but any woman can get pregnant and raise a child, lesbian or not. Gay men can’t get married in every state in this country. Gay men still can’t donate blood. It’s totally OK, even considered erotic, for straight women to make out but if guys did it, they would be considered gross or assumed to be gay.
There is an astronomical amount of people in this country that don’t have the most basic rights of our grandparents. There’s inequality across the board, on every level, from white gay man to black straight female. Why are we jamming the airways with every inequality issue the United States encounters when we should just be promoting one singular form of equality for everyone?
The word “feminist” was created during a time where men and women did not have equal rights on any scale. Women didn’t have custody rights over the children that grew inside their womb for nine months that completely altered their anatomy. We’re talking about inequality that no one today can even fathom.
Pioneers such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton addressed various issues pertaining to women beyond voting rights, including custody and parental issues, property ownership, employment and income equality, divorce, the economic health of the family, and birth control. However, these rights that we know and love today still didn’t appear overnight. Several years of picketing, rallies, protests, and strong male and female pioneers pushing their way through the legislative branch are the sole reason why women have the amount of freedom they enjoy today.
Women in the 1800s didn’t have the rights that we take for granted today. They weren’t equal in rights or status, thus creating a word/movement that defined what they were fighting for.
Herein lies the problem with people backing the word behind the movement in modern America: Women aren’t fighting for equal rights anymore. People are fighting for equal treatment. Women are bitching, moaning, and protesting about how men treat us, view us, talk to us, and degrade us which is an entirely separate issue and a whole different article. In America, the word “feminist” is outdated by nearly 100 years. If we promoted equality for everyone, insisting that every gay straight, black, white, girl, and boy should be treated the same way, it would be a huge step toward fixing all of the inequality issues.
I hate the word “feminist” because its definition implies segregation. It classifies the population into two groups, men and women. When we start classifying people, we start pointing out their differences. When we start seeing differences, we start judging. When we’re talking about equality in this day and age, shouldn’t we be talking about equality for everyone?
I believe in equality. Not for women or men, black or white, gay or straight, Christian or Muslim, but for everyone, for humans, for all. We shouldn’t be categorized when it comes to equality, because equality doesn’t imply we’re all the same, but that we, as humans, have equal value. We may not be the same skin color, or have the same genitals, or be of the same age, but we should all have the same rights, regardless of our differences. Let’s start a movement that isn’t defined by gender, skin color, religion, or sexual orientation. Equalism: equality for all humans. I’m in. Are you?