Whether you identify yourself as male, female, or agender, feminism affects us all. By definition, feminism is, “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” So, if you look up feminism in the dictionary you will not see the stereotypical image of an angry, man-hating woman with hairy armpits and legs (which by the way if you do have hairy armpits and legs, that does not make you any less of a woman!).
Not surprisingly though, in a 2013 Huffington Post nationwide sample of 1,000 adults, only 20 percent of Americans – 23% of women and 16% of men – identified themselves as feminists. But, when asked if they support gender equality, an overwhelming 82% said they did. From this study, it’s easy to see that the problem does not lie within the idea of feminism, but the connotation behind the word “feminism”.
With that being said, here are five reasons why you really are a closet feminist:
1. The pay gap is REAL and WRONG
On average, women earn about 77-78 cents to every dollar a man makes. That means even though women and men are working the exact same jobs, men make more money. The worst part? According to the Center for American Progress, there’s actually no legitimate explanation as to why that’s the case. I don’t know about you, but if I work the same job with the same hours (and even more) and I’m still getting paid less just because I am a woman, that frustrates me, but more importantly makes me inclined to fight for gender equality. If you look back at the definition of feminism, advocating for gender equality makes me a feminist.
2. Female empowerment does not belittle males
Just because a woman decides to pay for her own meal, open her own door, or decides to fight her own battles, that should not “bruise” a man’s ego. As a man, if you depend on a woman’s “cry” for help in order to reach a sense of self-fulfillment, you really should take a step back and reevaluate yourself. Just as a woman does not necessarily need a man to feel complete, the same goes for a man.
3. Both men and women experience double standards
Society has conditioned women to be more feminine and men, manly. From a very young age, boys are taught not to cry because it’s “girly”. Real talk, crying isn’t girly… It’s a completely normal and healthy way to express emotions, but unfortunately I’m almost 100% sure every guy has tried to hide the fact that he’s cried multiple times in his life. At the same time, girls are taught to be submissive. Nowadays if a woman speaks her mind she’s seen as a b*tch and she apologizes for things that weren’t even her fault (I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve apologized when someone has bumped into ME).
More so, the media has further engrained these expectations in our minds. Apparently women have to stay thin, but also be curvy in the “right” places in order to be desirable. On the other hand, if a man decides to step out and embrace his feminine side by grooming himself, being fashionable, etc. his sexuality immediately comes into question. A woman is still beautiful no matter what size she is or where her curves lie.
A man is still a man even if he decides to have an impeccable sense of style and feels confident grooming himself in whatever way he sees fit. Basically, society can’t tell a man how to be a man and a woman how to be a woman, and as gender equalists (aka feminists) we firmly agree and believe in that.
4. Feminism is important for intersectionality
First things first feminism is NOT limited to cisgender, white females. It also embodies minority groups and highlights the inequality between different types of women. Looking back at the pay gap, white women earn 77 cents to every dollar. But it just doesn’t stop there. According to Forbes, black women earn 64 cents and Latina women earn 55 cents. In the first two months of 2015, seven Trans women of color were murdered. A Muslim woman in Georgia went to jail for wearing a headscarf to court. Tell me that’s not messed up… We live in a society where we claim to uphold “liberty and justice for all”, including women of different faiths, backgrounds, and color, yet these examples and many more show that’s not the case.
5. Feminism is key for societal progress
Even though it’s 2015, there’s no question that we live in an imperfect world. Yet, the fight for gender equality coincides with other social justice issues, even though they are not exactly the same. Once society begins to accept “taboo” theories and beliefs (like all people are actually equal), the likelihood that the world will become a better place is far more likely. Progress isn’t easy and change isn’t easy. It’s very challenging to chip away ideas that are embodied within our culture, but that’s no excuse to ignore these problems and stay silent.
Feminism isn’t just a men and women’s issue. It’s everyone’s issue. As a man, shouldn’t it anger you that your world sees your mom, sister, girlfriend, and wife as less deserving when these women are some of the most influential people in your life? As a woman, shouldn’t it anger you that your world sees you as less deserving? As a human being, shouldn’t it anger you that your world sees people as less deserving based on their gender? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you, my friend, are a feminist.