Feminism is about breaking stereotypes. When the term first surfaced, the stereotype was that of the traditional, domesticated woman: The cook, the maid, the mother.
Today, feminism faces a new stereotype. Feminists are viewed as strong, independent women, who don’t need men to achieve success. But this perception isn’t entirely true.
I’m a feminist, but I’m weak. I have flaws; I have fears. I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid of disappointing my loved ones. I’m afraid of commitment. I’m afraid of needles. I’m awkward, I get nervous, and sometimes I have really clammy palms. I’m insecure, and yes, at times I am weak. But still, I’m a feminist.
I’m a feminist, but I’m certainly not independent. I can’t grow my own food, build my own car, or construct my own house. My doctors keep me healthy. My teachers keep me sharp. I can’t succeed on my own. I need, and will always need help. But still, I’m a feminist.
I’m a feminist, but some of the most important people in my life are men. My father has taught me to value hard work. He’s never missed a day of work due to illness; his determination is something I admire and practice in my own life. My brother has taught me the importance of curiosity. He is constantly asking questions, teaching himself the answers, and seeking new knowledge. I strive to widen my horizons, just like he does every day. My boyfriend has taught me to both care for and be cared for. Loving another person has made me more understanding, selfless, and mindful. The men in my life have helped me become who I am today. But still, I’m a feminist.
I’m not always strong. I’m not independent. And I need men, as well as women, to achieve success. These qualities don’t make me a feminist. They make me a human.
I’m a feminist because like me, a man is also weak. He also has fears and insecurities and flaws.
I’m a feminist because like me, a man is also reliant on others. He too depends on doctors and teachers and farmers and engineers. He too needs help.
I’m a feminist because men need their mothers, sisters, and girlfriends, just as I need my father, brother and boyfriend.
It’s time to set the record straight. Feminists aren’t arrogant advocates for female domination. We’re not all strong, we’re not all leaders – we’re not even all female. Feminists, like all other humans, are just that: human.
A feminist is a person who believes that women and men are equal. Feminists don’t believe that men are inferior. They believe that we all have fears. We all have goals. And we all need help every so often – regardless of gender.