Feminism gets a bad rap these days. One author (and mother of two children) called it “degrading, offensive, (and) accusatory”. If you’ve heard “All About That Bass” on repeat for the last few months, you may be familiar with Meghan Trainor’s statement, “I Don’t Consider Myself a Feminist”. If you’re a Portlandia fan, you may be familiar with the depiction of the “Women & Women First” bookstore owners, portrayed by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. It’s easy to point fingers (such a phallic motion), but I think that we need zoom out a bit first.
First: a point of clarification. Feminism isn’t about putting men down; that’s more on the misandry side of the tracks. (Don’t believe me? Google it.) Sure, there are those within the feminist movement who embody these extremist ideals, but these extremists do not represent the majority. Feminism is about establishing equal rights for women. A feminist supports said rights and equality.
So, you’re raising your sons to be gentlemen who hold doors and pay for dinners—I think that’s great! I expect if you had a daughter, you would teach her to hold doors for others and tip her server well when she goes out to dinner with friends. But did you know that most women couldn’t even have their own bank accounts in the US until the 1960’s? I imagine this would make it pretty difficult to pay for your own meal.
I also think that it’s awesome that your sons are seeking out their future partners based on how they make your boys feel, rather than based on how much skin they’re showing. As a young woman, I often wear daring pieces that show off my favorite physical features; namely my arms and shoulders. As a feminist, I find it appealing that a man wouldn’t judge me based on how much skin I am or am not showing. In spite of what you say, you may be raising two young feminists in your home.
Now, let’s tackle sexual assault. Do you not find it alarming that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted?
I know that as a young woman at attending a university undergoing the Title IX sexual violence investigations, I find this highly relevant. This is message not to only little girls, but also little boys. Just because the issue isn’t palatable doesn’t mean we get to sweep it under the rug. In fact, this kind of thinking is what often keeps sexual assault victims from pressing charges against their attackers. Perhaps a more proactive approach rather than thinking statistics make young girls assume men are rapists would be to empower your sons to prevent sexual assault.
People say respect is earned, not demanded. I call shenanigans. I DEMAND respect. Sitting in a corner trying to be the feminine and demure woman that you describe also subjugates me to not stand up as the strong, passionate, and intelligent woman that my parents raised me to be. I don’t like being catcalled on the street, having sexual assault threaten my sister, friends, and family, and I reject your belief that there are “specific limitations” imposed on genders. I am a feminist.